Transcripts: Mike Smith and Tony Gonzalez Interviews

Head coach Mike SmithOn the injury report:

"S William Moore and WR Roddy White were still not practicing today. DT Jonathan Babineaux slid over to limited participation along with WR Harry Douglas and CB Asante Samuel. Then we moved a couple guys to full participation. That was two offensive linemen Sam Baker and Justin Blalock who were limited yesterday."

On getting CB Asante Samuel back and how he's helped the young guys in the secondary:

"Asante has a lot of experience, and he's been a big plus for our football team, not just the secondary. Asante studies the game extremely hard and has great insight for our younger players. We've kind of missed him the last few weeks. We played three snaps the previous game and none this past week, so it'll be good to have him back out there."

On working all year to be in big games like this at the end of the year:

"Yes. Our goal is always to be a relevant team in December. To be a relevant team you've got to win football games. We've been able to accomplish that, and we're playing against a team that has a lot on the line just like we do. It ought to be fun. I think it'll be two really good football teams going out and competing against each other."

On LB Sean Weatherspoon adapting to calling the plays for the defense:

"It's something that you earn, and Sean has definitely earned it. He has definitely become the leader of our defense. By far, has the most responsibility because he's got to get the signals in, and he's got to get people lined up and I think he's adjusted to it well. We missed him early in the season and I think he's really starting to get back in stride."

On White's knee improving:

"Roddy felt much better today than he did yesterday. We're going to be cautious with Roddy, in terms of getting ready for the ballgame. He will probably not do a whole lot tomorrow or Saturday. Then, we'll get him out there on Sunday to see where he's at. It's hard to keep Roddy White out of a football game."

On the excitement at the Dome this weekend:

"I think it's going to be very similar to the games we've had earlier in the season. I think they were very electric. I don't know if you want to say it's a playoff (atmosphere). It's a game that definitely has playoff consequences for both football teams. It should be loud. It should be electric, and we're looking forward to getting back out on the field. Anytime you don't get the result you want the previous week, the next week can't get here quick enough."

Tight end Tony GonzalezOn the issue with third downs the last couple of weeks:

"I think it comes down to execution. We're not executing like we're capable of doing. Like we have been all season. We're looking to improve on that this week. We tried to improve on that last week obviously, but we weren't able to get it done. We're going to need it this week against this team. It's been an emphasis for us and it'll be different this week, hopefully."

On defenses adjusting the Falcons routes and the Falcons need to counter what the defenses are doing now:

"Did Jamie (Dukes) play receiver? Maybe he's got a point (laughing). Dirk (Koetter) handles all that and Matt (Ryan) putting in the game plan, but it's been working for us. Here is the bottom line. Last week, we didn't play well in that first half. We had two first downs or whatever it was. In the second half, I think we picked it up and we played the type of football we're capable of playing. We moved the ball down the field, throwing the ball effectively. We got 24 first downs in the second half, and we scored 20 points. That first half, we got to get that out of our system. Like I said after the game, that's ridiculous, it's unacceptable, it's inexcusable. We're better than them. I don't know why. I couldn't sit here and tell you why we played that way, but that's why we're going into this game and the silver lining is that we came out in the second half and played well. We got to take that into this game this week because we're going to need it."

On their linebackers presenting some challenges:

"They're good with LB Michael Boley and LB Chase Blackburn. The front four, obviously everybody talks about them, but this is a good team, good defense. It's going to take a special effort to go out there and get open and get some plays against these guys. I think we're up for the challenge. We got to be. We have no choice. To get to where we want to go, we're playing the World Champs, the team that bounced us out of the playoffs last year. We got to play this week and we've got to play well in order to win, so I'm looking forward to it."

On it being tough to get up for every game through the entire season:

"Doing an interview yesterday I said the same thing. You would like not to have that happen to you when you get complacent. It's human nature sometimes and you have to fight through that. Having a loss like that too, that's good focus for us. We will come out and play a lot better than we did, especially that first half last week. It's like new found focus for us. I hate to call it a wakeup call because you shouldn't need that, especially the type of team that we think we are, but maybe it was. Whatever it is, we've got to use that as motivation to say 'You know what? We've got something special here and a lot to prove this week.'"

On Kansas City folks thinking he looks better running with the ball now than he did when he was there:

"I don't know what it is. Maybe it's my workout routine. I did switch my workout routine up this year. I do a lot more kettle bell swings and that's more of an explosive workout. I think that's got a lot to do with it. Coach Fish, our strength coach, introduced that to me in the offseason and I fell in love with it. Honestly, I think that's one of the biggest reasons why I'm able to go out there and be a little bit more shifty. It's helped out a lot."

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