Head coach Mike SmithInjury Report:
"We had a couple of guys that did not participate. Jonathon Scott did not participate in practice. Harry Douglas did not participate in practice. Julio Jones was out of practice as well with an illness, it wasn't football related. Robert Alford of course. We had one limited participant and that was Jon Asamoah. We had some guys that were on our injury report because of what happened in the game, Jonathan Babineaux and Devin Hester that were full participants in practice today."
On whether he expects Julio Jones back tomorrow:
"We certainly hope so. We hope it's a 24-hour bug, and not a 48-hour, but he was not feeling well, so we sent him home and let him get some rest and let him get to feeling better."
On William Moore, and whether there's any doubt that he'll be back next week:
"Well, we like that William's getting to practice with us this week. He's been cleared to come out and practice. Next week is the first week that he'll be eligible to come back by the rules, and we're certainly hoping that he will be. He had a padded practice today, and next week he'll get an opportunity for one more padded practice before we play the game. If everything goes as expected we would anticipate that he would be back."
On the Cleveland defense:
"They do a very good job of taking the ball away. They've been very opportunistic; they have the leading interceptor in the League in Gipson. They've got a very good corner in Joe Haden, who looks like he matches a specific wide receiver in the game, so we should anticipate that. They've got red zone numbers, and they've got a guy that can rush the passes in number 99. Those are the things that standout, in terms of what they've been doing over the last few weeks."
On Cleveland's balanced game:
"They've done a very good job, in terms of creating explosive plays and I think that comes from their balance. They do a good job with their run game, and that sets up their play action and allows them to block it up and throw the ball down the field. They're one of the fastest wide receiver groups that we'll face this season. They've got some guys that can run and we're expecting Josh Gordon back who's an outstanding receiver, but the run game sets up the pass game. They're not a real drop back team; they're more of a working off the play action."
On what Brian Hoyer does well for them:
"He can run. He does a very good job of moving in the pocket. He reminds me a little bit of a Jake Plummer type quarterback; he can run the ball. He's good with his play action game. He boots and waggles, which gets him on the corner, and he's got a strong arm. There's been some throws that have stayed in the air a long time, so he's got a very strong arm. He's a guy that's paid his dues. Great story, been with a number of teams, and has led them to a great start to the season. They're battling just like we are in their division."
On the misdirection they like to use:
"Kyle Shanahan, it's very similar to the offense that they ran in Washington. It has its roots all the way back to his father in Denver, the zone blocking schemes, with some misdirection. There's not a whole lot of power, down blocks except in certain situations. Then, off of that comes the bootlegs and the waggles that allow you to throw the ball down field, and they've got some guys that can scoot and get down the field."
On Isaiah Crowell and how they're using him:
"He's doing a very nice job for him. Both he and (Terrance) West are both rookie players. They've done a really good job running the football. That zone blocking scheme puts a lot on the running back to make the right cut, and it's a one cut scheme and that's what they do. They're tossing the ball; they're running it down inside the tackles. They're tossing the ball and running it outside, so we're going to have to be very good with our leverage on both edges; if not, they can take it out the backdoor, and both of those guys are big, physical and they've got good speed."
On Barkevious Mingo being expected to step up and play more snaps:
"Well, he's a speed edge rusher. He's a guy that got a lot of sacks in college at LSU, and it was off of the speed rush. He's a guy that can move, and we anticipate, not only will he be playing in their sub-package, but he'll be playing a linebacker in their base scheme. The thing about their scheme is that it creates issues in that it's very multiple. ID'ing who-is-who; they're going to be moving around. Sometime they're going to have three down, some it's four down, some there's going to be nobody with their hand in the grass. That's going to be an issue. They try to confuse you, and try to get some one-on-ones, and not allow you to give help, so our tackles their going to be going against a very athletic guy in Mingo."
Quarterback Matt RyanOn playing in the Georgia Dome after a long stretch on the road:
"Yeah, it's been a while since we've been in the Dome, so I think everybody's fired up about playing there on Sunday. I'm sure all the Falcons fans around town are excited to be able to get down to the Dome. I'm sure it'll be rocking on Sunday, and I think everybody's ready."
On how it feels to have a couple of wins on the road and still have a shot at the division:
"Obviously, each year shakes out differently and one thing I've learned in the seven years of doing it, is you just don't know how things are going to play out. We're in position that we kind of control our own destiny, but we have to take it one week at a time and hopefully play our best football this week and down the stretch. I think if we focus and concentrate on that, at the end of the year, hopefully we'll be in a position where we can keep playing."
On how they can get a couple of plays going down the field:
"I think it's a couple of things. We've got to hit them when they're there. We've had opportunities to take some shots down the field. We just haven't hit as many as we would like, and from a schematic standpoint we've got to figure out ways to maybe take another shot here or there. That's something that we've talked about in our rooms, but from a player's perspective I think that when it's there we've got to be opportunistic, and that's something that I think that we've talked about the last couple of weeks. We've done a decent job of it, but we still need to do a better job."
On why they haven't been hitting them:
"There's been some chances; I think so. There's been some chances, just a little bit off across the board, and on making those plays. When they present themselves we've got to make them."
On fourth quarter comebacks and his demeanor:
"Well, I think it's just doing your job. That's been my message, or whatever, in that situation, believe we're going to do it. Go out and there and just execute your job, we've got a great plan and believe that we're going to get it done; guys have bought into that. It's not me; we've had 10 other guys on the field pulling their weight and making plays when we needed to the last two weeks. In this League that's what you have to do. Games are going to come down to the fourth quarter. There's incredible parity across the League. That no blink mentality, guys have to buy into that and I think they have."
On whether he gets nervous in those situations:
"I mean, for me, I think the butterflies or the nerves come before games, and once you get into it and you're out there playing. That's what you train so hard for; that's why we practice the way we do. That's why we meet, and that's why we prepare the way that we do, so that when we get into those situations we feel like we've been there before. That's what we've done a good job of in the past is trying to create those situations during the week, so that when we get there on Sunday we've been there."
On Matt Bryant being clutch in tough situations:
"We've taken advantage of Matt, that's for sure. You talk about no panic, no blink, I mean, Matt's about as good as it gets, in terms of when you get him in position he knows how to close the deal. That allows us to be confident. We know depending on where we're playing, and what the weather is that day, what the target yard line is for him, and we believe that if we get there he's going to knock it through; he's proven us right a lot of times."
On the two road wins, and whether the team's psyche has changed know that they're heading home:
"Well, I think we've had a good buzz in the locker room probably the last three or four weeks. It's just materialized on Sunday the last two weeks. I think guys are excited to get back and defend the Dome and play good football at home. That's something that we've kind of hung our hats on here in the past. I think guys are excited about that, but we can't worry about next week. It's all about this one and trying to be 1-0 at the end of this week. I think if we keep our mindset there that's going to work best for us."
On where they are in terms of playing their best football:
"Well, we've played good enough to win the past two weeks, but I still feel like our best football is in front of us. We've certainly left some plays out there across the board, but specifically for the offense we've left some stuff out there. We've got to chase that every week. We've got to chase those three, four, five plays that we feel like we can make till we get to that position where we feel like we're hitting on all cylinders, but I feel like we're trending in the right direction. Hopefully, our best football is in front of us down the stretch."
On whether he scoreboard watches during games:
"I mean sometimes. Sometimes you're on the bench and you see something randomly scroll across, but you're right it's nothing like baseball or golf where you're scoreboard watching while you're playing. You're focused on that game. Stadiums are set up now, so you can't really miss the scoreboards and the jumbotrons. They're lit up and they're all over the place, so sometimes you do see it."
On what impresses him about Cleveland:
"Their defense is very good. In the front seven, (Barkeviuos) Mingo and (Paul) Kruger I think are two very good players. Kruger is a little bit more stout, but Mingo's got very good speed and agility. In the back end, you're playing against a very, very good corner in Joe Haden, so I think theyr'e front end and their back end matchup pretty well. They're playing opportunistic; I think they're taking the ball away about as good as anybody in the NFL right now."
On what he says to people who are making fun of the NFC South right now:
"It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It's set up the way it is, and you can't worry about it. We are where we are; we've got everything in front of us, and we can't worry about what people say."
On whether they look ahead of the schedule and see how they can take advantage of the possibility of making the playoffs:
"Yeah, I think it is human nature to do that, but I think Smitty has done a great job of getting guys to buy into right now, this week. It doesn't matter what's going to happen three weeks from now. We've got to do everything that we can during the course of this week to try and make the outcome the right one on Sunday. Putting your mind anywhere else is kind of wasting your time. I think we've got to focus on Cleveland, and we've got to focus on finding a way to win this week, and really buy into that. I think guys have done a really good job; it's not easy, but I think guys have done a really good of that."
On Buster Skrine and K'Waun Williams:
"They've been opportunistic. They've done a great job. Obviously, Joe (Haden) is the guy that gets the most notoriety, and rightfully so, he's a really good player, but the other two guys have done a nice job. I think when you look at the number of interceptions across the board in the secondary it's very high, and it's very evenly dispersed. I think all-in-all it's a very good back end."
On Tashaun Gipson:
"I think he's leading the NFL in interceptions and he's been opportunistic. I think when those guys have had good coverage, he's been able to make some plays over the top, and make some plays in pass coverage himself. They play a lot of man-to-man coverage, about as much as you see from any team in the NFL. I think that speaks to the confidence that they have in those guys in the backend."
On whether he's looking forward to the man-to-man coverage to get the ball to his playmakers:
"I feel like every week we have confidence in our guys on the outside that they're going to win one-on-one matchups, and that's just the mindset we take into it every week."
On why they don't go up-tempo more often:
"There's multiple different reasons. Sometimes slowing it down in different situations is good for us, in terms of eating clock, but we try and push it as much as we can. That's one of those things we talk about all the time during the week and in the sideline what we feel like is going to be best for us that particular drive. We've had some success with it, I'm sure that we'll continue to do it, and maybe it'll be some more moving forward."
On the wide receiver screens:
"They've been success for us. We've made a lot of big plays on those, even this year. We've had a lot of success on those this year. Last week, you got to give those guys some credit. Carolina did a great job of defending them. They're hit or miss; those kind of plays or hit or miss, and we know that going into it, and we're going to stick with it. That's part of who we are, and we're going to find ways to get the ball to our playmakers, both running backs and wide receivers in space."
On whether he gets cautious and believes teams are picking on the screens:
"I trust our guys, and we talk about landmarks and all those kind of things. When you play in this League you've got have trust with your guys across the board that they're going to pull their weight, and do their job. I trust our guys up front to be in the right spots, and on the outside to be where they need to be."
On Levine Toilolo and whether they can use him in the red zone:
"I think he's been doing a great job in the run game. Very good job in the run game, setting the edge for us, and also being multiple, being able to kind of cut back and do some of that stuff that sometimes a full back will do. In the pass game, he made an excellent catch for us on the back shoulder throw on the sideline. I think that's something that as we move forward he's going to make plays like that. He's going to be a matchup for us sometimes that we like, and I'm confident that he's going to make the plays when we give him a chance."