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Transcripts: Falcons at Chargers

Mike Smith

Opening Statement:

"I can't say how proud I am of our football team for coming out and playing the way that they played. We had a short week. The short week was a challenge for us in terms of getting focused and our guys did a really good job playing on Monday night. I liked the way all three phases of the team played today. They performed extremely well. The turning point in that ball game was the long drive, the 94 96 ball over, you're going to enhance your chances of having success. It was a real good effort."

What was the key to the offense converting those turnovers into touchdowns as opposed to those field goals like we saw on Monday night?

"Well it's something that we've been working on and talking about because we have not done that as efficiently as we'd like. I thought that we had a real good grasp of how we were going to attack them. We wanted to go Into this game early on throwing the football and we were able to do that. I thought our quarterback distributed extremely well. We liked some of the looks that we got especially in that no huddle and he was able to deliver the ball to the proper player."

On Matt Ryan's overall play

"Matt had a very good game. I think our entire offense had a good game. I believe Matt was 30/40, 75% completion. I know there's a throw or two he would've liked to have back but I thought it was really efficient play by our offense. The game plan that our offense put together was outstanding and the guys went out and executed it."

How about your opportunistic defense?

"We talked about a toxic differential in the turnover battle as part of that. I believe we are +10 right now, 11-1, we had our first offensive turnover. When you turn the ball over you're basically stealing a drive and that's what we've been able to do. We did a really nice job converting those into points today."

On Thomas DeCoud:

"Thomas is playing very well. There are a number of guys that are playing extremely well for us through the first three games. Before I watch the tape though, I know there are some things we'd like to get better at. That 58-yard run there in the fourth quarter is definitely something we don't want to be giving up. I thought that ali-in-all we put pressure on the quarterback, we were able to create the turnovers and our offense was able to move the football. It was a very strong effort in all three phases."

On Michael Turner:

"Michael Turner rushed the ball better this week. We did as an offense. We did it much better than we had in the first two ball games. Michael had a tough week. Michael's a very resilient guy. I don't want to get in-depth about it but that's something that we put behind us and we've got to move forward. I thought that h!l ran the ball really well his shoulders were downhill and he was more aggressive as he attacked the line of scrimmage."

We had two great tight ends out there today; can you talk about Tony Gonzalez's play?

"We had some match-ups that we really liked and going into this game it felt like we could take advantage of them. I think we did a nice job of getting the ball to Tony Gonzalez when the looks allowed it. Matt (Ryan) was on top of things throughout the day."

About the short week and long trip

"It didn't have an effect on us. I know people ask about coming out here to the west coast and why we've had the success we've had. We've had the success because our guys come out here and play good football. There's no magic to it. We rave a plan in place in terms of how we want our guys to prepare for the game both physically and mentally and it's worked for us. The guys do a great job preparing their bodies and preparing their minds."

On Thomas DeCoud:

"Again, Thomas had an outstanding game. He was doing a very nice job there in the back end and had some opportunities to make plays and when they came his way he was able to make the plays. That's what you have to be able to do. Those were two very athletic plays on the turnovers."

On Julio Jones coming back from the hand injury:

"Big time catch over there on our sideline there in the end zone. Very first play Julio was injured. To what extent, I don't know. He was able to return to play and he made a big play for us when he had to. There's a bunch of guys in that locker room that made big plays. I'm very proud of them. One thing I'd like to say, at the end of the ball game I felt like I was in Atlanta. There are a lot of service men out here and in Atlanta and we took notice to that. There were a lot of Atlanta Falcon fans here and it's great to see. I'm just surmising that they're in the service here in San Diego. It's great to see Atlanta Falcon fans out here in San Diego."

You guys contained Peyton Manning on Monday and contained Philip Rivers today. What did you throw at Philip defensively?

"I thought we had a very good plan. This week was a little different than last week, the types of offenses that were presented to us. We've got a stretch of quarterbacks coming our first nine games. It doesn't get any easier for us in terms of quarterbacks that we're going to be facing. I thought that Mike Nolan and his staff did a really good job of putting a plan. together. There were some things that we were concerned about and we were able to tnutualize them early on in the ball game. Once it became a point in the game we were able to do some of the things we really like to do as a defense."

Matt Ryan

Opening Statement:

"Good win for our football team today. I think Mike Smith did a great job with getting us prepared on a short week, playing on Monday night then coming out to the west coast. I thought everyone was fresh and we started off fast, offensively, defensively and special teams. Good team win."

On the key for obtaining third downs during the second quarter 17-play drive:

"The first one was by penalty but after that, we got into a rhythm. The one that stands out to me is Jason Snelling catching the check down and being able to run for nine or 10 yards, converting on a third and long situation. I thought our guys just battled. Everyone was tired, offense and defense. We just kept pushing and we were able to get the ball in the end zone. That was huge right before the half."

On whether he felt especially tired during the game:

"I felt ok. I was a little winded. It was warm out there. It felt a lot like Atlanta. I felt good enough and that's one of the things we started out huddling in that drive then we up-tempo'd it later. It kept them off balance and that was big. Our guys did a great job battling. They kept playing."

On his game improving and moving faster than before:

"I feel as confident as I ever have for sure and a lot of that has to do with experience...having good experience and bad experience. I'm now realizing that I can do it. I can make the plays we need to make in order to win. I think confidence comes from having a lot of talented guys around you. On the outside we have as good of a wide receiver core as any in the NFL. Tony [Gonzalez] is included in that and our running backs are included in that as well. I've had time. Our offensive line has done a great job. We've dropped back and thrown the ball quite a bit and I really haven't been hit too much. When you have those things going on around you, it helps you play fast, make good decisions and feel confident and a quarterback."

On whether this year feels different than previous years:

"Yeah I think so. llhink  each team is different. The confidence level across the board is probably higher than it's been. That's not to say we haven't been confident in the past. We've had some good football teams in the past. I think we're early. It's early. We're only three weeks into it but collectively we played really good football."

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