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Transcript: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan Interviews

Head coach Mike SmithOpening statement:

"We had three guys that were held out of practice today. DT Jonathan Babineaux with his ribs, WR Roddy White with his knee, and S William Moore with his hamstring. Then we had a number of guys that were limited: OT Sam Baker had a hand, OG Justin Blalock had an elbow, WR Harry Douglas had ribs, and CB Asante Samuel had a shoulder. Those were the guys that were limited in practice today."

On preparing for QB Eli Manning:

"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the League. They protect their quarterback extremely well. He's not been hit very often. He's number one, in terms of the amount of sacks. He's got a very good receiver group. They create some matchup issues with WR Victor Cruz and WR Hakeem Nicks. Those guys are very good wide receivers. Then they can run the football. RB Ahmad Bradshaw is a very good running back, and they got a guy that's been returning the ball that I think's going to be carrying it for them. He's only had 40 carries, but he's got great speed in RB David Wilson."

On the key to not having back to back losses:

"It's the mindset that you try and get the guys in after the ballgame. You want to stop the streak at one when you don't get the outcome that you want. That's what we've talked about from the very beginning. You got to flush the previous game out as quickly as possible. You've got to make your corrections, move on, flush it out, and get prepared. Don't let the last game have an effect on the next game."

On Coach Koetter's new approach changing the struggles on offense against them last year:

"We had a tough time out there offensively and defensively after the middle of the second quarter. From that ballgame last year, we didn't convert twice on fourth and short when we were in a fringe area. I think that kind of swayed the momentum in the football game. This is a team defensively that you have to control their front four. When I say their front four, they've got seven guys that they rotate through in their front four. They're the best group up front in terms of defensive line probably in the National Football League. They can create matchup issues across the board."

On whether RB Michael Turner is declining now that he's 30:

"I don't think there is a remarkable difference in terms of what Mike has been able to do. We've been very inconsistent in running the football. When we've had to run it we've been able to run the football. We've been inconsistent in blocking and executing in the run game. I think that's one of the reasons our numbers are down. We have, at times, when we've needed to run the football."

On seeing a similar progression with the Falcons as the Giants:

"Coach Coughlin has done a great job with his football team over the last five years. Everybody wants to aspire to that level. He's won two Super Bowls and to me that's the benchmark right now. They've done an outstanding job. I think we're a more mature team than we were when we got here and each year we become a better football team. I think this year we're better than we were last year. That's the thing that you want to do. You want to try and improve every year."

On Manning and QB Matt Ryan:

"Eli is an outstanding quarterback. I think in terms of their physical stature they're very similar. They're very similar in their understanding of the game. They have a very good understanding of how to get the team into the right place. Eli has won two Super Bowls. Matt Ryan is an outstanding quarterback and in my mind he's an elite quarterback. We're all going to be judged, quarterbacks and head coaches, by the success that we have in the second season. We all know that. We're held in a different standard."

Quarterback Matt RyanOn getting more excited for this game after the loss in the playoffs last year:

"It's one of the motivations that pushes you when you fall short in the playoffs, but we're a different football team than we were last year and they're a different football team than they were in the playoffs last year. I think it's important because of what's in front of us. We have an opportunity to do what we want to do in the regular season and it starts Sunday."

On the game plan against their good defense:

"We need to play well. Obviously, it's a very good defense. I think they're second in the League in takeaways. They do a good job of creating turnovers. I think it starts with their front four. They do a great job of rushing the passer. They do a great job in addition against screens and against the run game also. We've just got to find ways in terms of scheme and with our effort and with the way we play to negotiate their front four. Then, we have to win our one-on-one matchups when we have them on the outside."

On this game being more about the Falcons than the Giants after what happened last week:

"Every week to a certain extent is about what we do in our focus and our preparation. We have a lot of respect against the opponent we're going against and a team that really plays well historically in December and January. It'll be a good matchup."

On being able to take anything out of the game last year:

"I think you watch the film. Schematically see some of the things they did against our scheme and they've got some different personnel playing this time than they did last year. That's kind of a little bit different, but if you take a look they're doing some things differently than they did than they showed in our game last year. They're showing some different things this year than they showed last year in our game. You take a little bit with it, you are prepared for it that you could see it, and you also prepare for what they're doing right now."

On the Giants secondary:

"They're aggressive. They make plays. They create turnovers. I think a lot of it has to do with how good their pass rush is in the front four. They pressure quarterbacks to get the ball out faster than you would like to, but their guys on the back end know that and they play to that. I think it's a good mesh between the two."

On the offensive line playing better this week against Carolina than the first time:

"I thought our offensive line did a good job. We just didn't play well enough as a team."

On Carolina being a good tune-up for the Giants since they play similarly along the d-line:

"They're similar in that they'll do that. They're different in a lot of ways also. I think every week you want to improve week-to-week and hopefully collectively we can play better than we did last week."

On being flat last week:

"We're a veteran team. We're all guys that have been around that have played on short weeks with Bye weeks, with long weeks, whatever it is. We know how to get ourselves prepared. We just didn't do a good job of it last week."

On what the team has done to prepare for the New York Giants:

"I think it comes back to guys that have been around here a long time. You understand that when you don't play your best you get back in and get started on the next opponent. Everybody's energy this week has been good this week. Guys were in here Monday and a lot of people were in here yesterday just to start getting prepared for the following Sunday. I think you have to heighten your focus and I think everybody has done a good job of that. We just need to focus on doing our job every day and having a good practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to get ourselves prepared to play for Sunday."

On the meaning of this game a month from now:

"You can't worry about that. That's one of the things I've learned in a short time in this League that if you're worrying too far down the road you're taking away from what you need to do this week. As a player, it's probably not the most popular thing to say what people want to hear. You really do have to wrap yourself up in that one week mentality. I think guys have done a good job."

On something happening this weekend affecting something a month from now:

"I guess so. Obviously injuries and those types of things can always effect what happens later in the season. That's something, as a player, you try not to think about."

On a similar path as the Giants:

"You would love to as a member of our football team. It's an organization that's won two Super Bowls in five years. I think that's something that everyone aspires to when you're in the NFL, so that's a nice comparison."

On the comparison between him and QB Eli Manning:

"That's a great comparison. It's nice to be compared to him obviously. He's a guy who brings the very best out of himself in certain situations. Especially at the end of the games and he's clutch. He's just a gutsy competitor and I've always been impressed by that."

On only having 13 plays in the first half last week:

"Last week was not the start that we wanted to get off on. Offensively, we didn't convert any third downs in the first half and that's what it comes down too. If you're going to keep yourself on the field and give your defense some rest, which we needed to do, you have to convert those third downs. We didn't do a good job with that."

On what happened on those third downs:

"It's different every third down. Each play shakes out differently. If it was one thing I think we would pin point it and be done with it and move on. I think at the end of the day, what it comes down to is everybody has to stay on top of the details. Make sure that we're executing the way that we need to, and we've got 11 guys on the same page."

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