Opening Remarks: "(S)
"Look forward to the challenge of playing the Falcons. We know they’re a very good football team. Obviously their record shows that they’re undefeated. They’re well deserving of that. As far as their offense goes, they’re explosive. (QB Matt) Ryan is a local kid here so you guys have seen him play since he was a youth. He’s developed into one of the better quarterbacks in the National Football League. They don’t turn the football over. They’ve been very good in that area. They cause a ton of turnovers defensively. They’re very aggressive. (Defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan has got them doing a lot of different things defensively in the blitz game, similar to what you saw last year in Miami where they move around and basically give you a different picture. (Offensive coordinator) Dirk Koetter is developing into one of the top coordinators in the National Football League and how he goes about his business. You can see his influence on their offense and then they’re good special teams-wise.
"Our guys are going to come out, we’re going to prepare and get ourselves right. As far as changes go, we talked about, Juan (Castillo) and (defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles). Todd (has had) an opportunity to jump in here and have a few meetings and a couple practices now with this walkthrough here. He’s doing fine and he’s just going to continue to push forward. The players, I’ve had a chance to address those players that I needed to address on both sides of the football, the coaches that I needed to address on both sides of the football, (and) there’s some things we’re going to work with and mix things up.
"I mentioned or I’m mentioning to you now that (T) King (Dunlap) will be back in at the tackle position. He’s healthy now so he goes back in and he’ll play. We still have trust in (T Demetress) Bell. He’s done a nice job for us so we have some flexibility there. I’m not going to get into specifics on the changes that were made schematically. We have a game this week, right, so there’s no reason to talk about those. But there’s some things that we can do better. I started with myself, I told you that. There’s some things that I can do better to make sure we’re doing the right things and getting back to some of the things that I think we do best on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Then we go from there."
On how important this game is to get back on track: "Well you know the facts. The fact is that you lose two games in the fourth quarter when you’ve got the lead, whether it’s by a point or two or three or ten. It doesn’t matter. Those are tough ones. So you go back and you work it out and you figure it out and it’s not the defense, it’s everybody. It’s everybody doing their job better. And so that’s what we have to do. You know the obvious. You can’t have the turnovers, you can’t have the big plays, you’ve got to develop field position, so we’ve got to make sure we get those things done."
On how much trash talk he expects to hear from CB Asante Samuel: "I know he’s going to come to play. I know that. He’ll be excited. I don’t really get into that. I know he’s a good football player. I’ll let you take care of that."
On whether Dunlap is returning as the starting left tackle because he is healthy or if Bell did not perform well enough: "You have to trust (their health). The big guys are pushing around other big guys and so there’s more to it than just running. There’s that (question), does he have his full strength back? Can he be effective? Are you putting him in a bad position where not he’s pushing on another big body and all of a sudden that thing tears or he pulls out on a screen and it tears? Then you’re taking steps back. And we had a player who could play. It all worked out fine."
On his expectations for newly acquired C
On whether Allen will definitely participate in practice: "He’s going to practice today."
On what the timeframe is for Peters’ return: "We’ll just see. He’s got three weeks here. We’ll see how he does here. He’s not ready right now. The way that I understood (it) was it’s three weeks from today. We’ll see. The ninth week is really what it is. Not from today but from Monday or Tuesday, whenever you’d activate him onto that next phase."
On whether it is realistic to expect Peters back this season: "There’s a chance. You saw (Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell) Suggs go through the same thing. Now the difference is Jason had two of these. I’m not going to put him at risk. That’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to make sure the doctors are on board, Jason is on board, and then we go from there. The other guys are playing now and that’s what they’re doing. If Jason is physically able to be there then that’s okay but we’re not going to do anything to risk further injury to him."
On whether it is realistic to think that QB
On what can be done to help Vick get better: "I can’t tell you that. I know you and I are just talking right here but you’ll just have to see on that."
On whether he is confident the offensive line returned from the bye week ready to improve their play: "These are proud guys. They’ve been out there for a week and having a chance to reflect on things, and they’ve heard my say, (and) they’ve heard their coaches say. These are competitive guys and they want to do well. The coaches want to do well. It’s important that we do it. There’s no talking that’s going to help you do this, that’s not what it is. You’re graded on what’s happened on Sunday. That’s the bottom line. So at one o’clock Sunday you go out and do you’re thing."
On how much of a challenge Nolan’s defense presents to an offense: "He brings a lot of things. He does. We’ve seen it before. We saw it last year. You’ve got to be sharp now. There’s no question about that. You’ve got to be on top of your game. You’ve got to have great communication and you’ve get to get a body on a body. That’s one of your bigger challenges. They have good players but then they have the blitz scheme. It’s important that you get a body on a body. If they bring more than you can handle it’s important in the throwing game that the ball is out."
On whether he is confident Vick has improved in his blitz recognition: "Actually he has done fairly well the last little bit against the blitz. He’s been sharp there and you saw that not only against Detroit, you saw it against Pittsburgh who also throws a lot of things at you. Different scheme than this but he’s done a respectable job in that area."
On what he took away from his talk with Vick during the bye week: "Well listen, I talk to Michael all the time so it wasn’t like we had one sit down here. That’s not (what it is). We talk every day and that’s important to be real and understand the things that we see in our study. Make sure there is communication there which is important. There’s a trust there (and) also and urgency that we get ourselves right. He knows that. Nobody is more competitive than Michael Vick. Nobody. I mean he is a tough, competitive kid."
On whether improving the pass rush is the most important thing to fix on defense: "Part of this game is you’ve got to get pressure on the quarterback. You have to do that so there’s ways of doing that. We have to do some things a little bitter there. It doesn’t have to be a sack. The quarterback has to know that you’re around. He has to know that. These quarterbacks at this level are way too good just to hang back there and throw the football."
On what he has seen in Bowles this week to make him believe this was the right choice: "The things I told you when I made that move. This is not taking anything away from Juan. I’ve got a ton of respect from Juan. You asked me about Todd, and so Todd, he’s a sharp defensive mind. He’s a sharp guy. I think everybody that played with him and has coached with him will tell you that, and there are some pretty respectable people that have done both. I think he’s got good communication skills with his players, he’s got respect from his players and now he has to go do it. So just like the players have to do it, I have to do it, and we all have to go do it. There’s no talking now that takes care of that. You’ve got to perform."
On what he saw from G
On whether players should be concerned about their job security after a coach lost his job: "In this business you’re graded on performance whether you’re a player, whether you’re a coach, head coach, assistant, it doesn’t matter. You’re graded on performance. You could ask me any given day, that’s how life is. You worry about the things you control. You can’t control that. You control what you control and that’s making sure you’re doing your job to the best of your ability. Make sure whatever group you’re involved with, they’re functioning right and when everybody does that collectively, you win."
On what the difference is between this year’s offense that the team is not hitting on big plays: "Well teams are playing us different. Teams are playing us for the deep ball and so you’ve got to do certain things to counter that."
On whether the players believe the right guys are in the locker room to win games: "The players believe in themselves, yes."
On whether he knew Atlanta’s offense would take off when Koetter was hired as offensive coordinator: "I knew it was a great move by (head coach) Mike (Smith). That was a great move by him in hiring him. I have the utmost respect for (Koetter). He and I go way back to San Francisco State. We’ve known each other a couple years and I know how good he is."