On what message head coach Andy Reid sent to the team about the remaining 10 games: "Just go out there and take advantage of everything. Not that that’s how you have to do it anyway, but now more so than ever. We know we have 10 games left and we know that it’s not the end of the world, so guys are pretty confident."
On whether there is a sense of urgency in the locker room: "Just go out there and play ball. I think once you get into a whole panic mode and start worrying about everything else, I think everything kind of goes downhill. Once everyone remains poised and remains confident, I think we’ll be alright."
On how he evaluates the offense coming off of the bye: "I think we’ve underachieved, especially to our standards. Turnovers have killed us again early on in the season, so we have to step up and everyone has to go out there and be confident."
On whether these games feel different than last year in terms of the lack of big plays: "Everybody knows that we like to get the ball downfield a little bit, so people are doing everything they can to prevent that. You just have to remain patient and go with the flow of the game. Eventually, we’ll have opportunities to get the ball down the field."
On whether the linebackers speed could be better utilized if they blitzed more: "Whatever (defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles) calls, I’m all for. It’s up to him and whatever he calls. I’m not saying I don’t know what we’re going to do, but whatever he calls, we’re just eager to get it done and eager to go out and compete. We’re eager to get a win. That’s the thing about it - whatever it takes to get a win, whatever Todd has to call, that’s what we have to do."
On why TE Tony Gonzalez has been able to have so much success in this league: "He knows how to get open, that’s one thing you don’t see with younger guys. Tony has that veteran savvy to find a way to get open. Even when there is tight coverage on him, he finds a way to get open and (Falcons QB) Matt (Ryan) does a good job of putting the ball where no one else can really get to it. They work well together and Tony is still a factor in this league. There are not many deep routes from him, but those routes where they have to get a first-down, he’s the guy they’re looking to."
On what his rapport is like with Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles: "It’s good. Todd is always giving me pointers and keys about how he thinks offenses are going to attack us. It’s good having him there - a former player and a guy who has done it before. He has coached a few different teams under a few different schemes. He’s done it before and he knows what it takes."
On playing for a different coordinator midway through the season: "It’s not a big deal. I still have to do my job. What is asked of me, I just do that. He makes the play calls, that’s his job, and I just have to go out and play. It doesn’t change much for me."
On how different the defense will be under Bowles: "We’ll see. He knows this defense really well. He understands the strengths of it and he understands the weaknesses of it. I think we went back, did a lot of evaluating, tweaked some things, and we’re going to be able to play some ball."
On what challenges Falcons QB Matt Ryan brings on Sunday: "The one thing that I’m noticing is that he has a lot of leeway to make audibles at the line of scrimmage. He is almost coming into his own of a Peyton (Manning) or Tom (Brady), he’s hit that type of benchmark. They’re passing more than they have in the past, which has taken away from the carries to (RB) Michael Turner but he’s still averaging 4.5 yards per carry. It’s going to be a tough task for us, especially with (wide receivers like) Roddy White and Julio Jones playing along with the all-time greatest tight end. We have a test; there are no ifs or ands around it. We have to go right through this and we have to nub this up. Let’s go take this on Sunday."
On playing alongside Falcons CB Asante Samuel while he was here: "Asante is an awesome person and great player. I learned a lot from him. I think the one thing about him is you never know if he is having a bad day. He brought so much enthusiasm to every single practice and every single meeting. You enjoyed that, you really did. I know Atlanta is really feeding off that on the field. He made a lot of plays."
On how much he has had to grow up not only as a player, but as a person in his rookie campaign: "This whole NFL thing, it takes a lot out of you. Horseplay and all that little kid stuff, that’s all out the window. The whole rookie thing, that’s out the window too. You know what I mean? We have 10 games left and it’s time to get down to business. I’m fully accountable for everything, so in that sense, I’ve had to grow up a lot."
On facing Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez: "(He’s) really good. Former Cal Bear too. He came and talked to us one time when I was, I want to say I was going into my senior year. He’s a good player. Two (sport) athlete at Cal, baller, athlete and he’s a vet in this league. I’ve just got to do my job and do it well."
On the Atlanta offense and having to account for several weapons, including Gonzalez: "I’m excited. This game’s fun to me and it’s a game. He’s one of the best tight ends to ever do it. It’s going to be our (game) to play and I’m going to treat it just like that."
On whether he thinks he has earned increased playing time through his play over the past several weeks: "I think I’m going to get there. If I haven’t deserved it yet, I’m going to keep working. Once things open up and I start making some more plays and putting stuff on paper, I think I’ll get a little bit more time."
On whether he thinks this defense can be more effective if they blitzed more: "I don’t really know because that’s not my call. I know that as a d-line, we work hard and we always want to go four-man rush to let them know that we don’t really have to blitz because we are just as powerful as a blitz. I guess you can’t say that right now because everyone has been max-protecting, but if we blitz we’ll be good."
On whether the defensive line is anxious to get a sack: "I’m quite sure that the linebackers want to be the number one tacklers in the league, the corners want to have the most interceptions, and the d-line wants to have the most sacks. It’s frustrating for us to go three weeks without a sack, that’s really tough. That’s unacceptable on our part. We’re going to get it right."
On whether he feels he can be asset to this team with the injuries the offensive line sustained: "I’m hoping so. I’m just trying to learn the playbook as quickly as possible and do whatever I can to help."
On whether he feels he has some obstacles to overcome in learning Howard Mudd’s scheme: "Everything is similar. It’s just the way that they call it a little bit differently. The line calls are different and you can just get into the playbook and pick it up as quickly as possible."
On what he learned from Saints in terms of being a reserve with experience at multiple positions: "That’s it right there. Just always prepare and you never know when your chance might come."