On how G Max Jean-Gilles has played so far this season: "I think Max has done a great job of filling in and being able to get comfortable in the offense, as well as communicating with the rest of the guys up there. I think the good thing for Max is that he went through a training camp and preseason and also being able to continue on through the year. Max is a guy who we trust in so many situations, whether it's run blocking or pass blocking. This experience, for him, is going to take him a long way. He has been doing a great job so far."
On whether Jean-Gilles has improved as a pass blocker: "It's not just his pass blocking, but you can tell he's comfortable. He is a talented guy, a guy who is a big body and a guy who can move. He has been in great situations to make big blocks for (RB Brian) Westbrook, and also it's always good to see him in the screen game to get out there on the corner blocking linebackers and safeties and being able to do that downfield."
On whether it's a disappointment that G Shawn Andrews will be out for a couple more weeks: "I wouldn't say it's a disappointment because of the situation he is in. Nobody wants to kind of get in after someone is injured to play. Obviously, the injury and everything else that Shawn has been battling. We wish the best for Shawn and make sure that he has a speedy recovery, to come back and be ready to go. It's always a good thing when you have depth at any position, that can step in and do a fairly decent job. You're talking about a Pro Bowl guy, an All-Pro offensive guard and waiting to see what Max can offer you. Max has really stepped up to that challenge and he's been able to do a great job for us."
On what he thinks needs to be fixed after evaluating the team's first six games: "Just kind of evaluating the first six games, we have had highs and lows. I think, in this game, you can't have one week high, next week low. You have to be consistent. I saw a lot of inconsistency, as far as what we were doing as a team. If it was, offensively driving down the field the first two series and then for about three or four more series, not being able to come away with points, you just can't win ballgames like that. If it's the defense stopping them in the first couple of series and then all of a sudden they score points on the next couple of series, or special teams giving up big yards. That's just something we have to be able to erase and kind of move on to something positive. I saw in that San Francisco game, a team that was determined to play together. Rallying late to be able to come out with that win. Hopefully that is something we can feed off of going into these next couple of games."
On how nice it will be to have WR Reggie Brown, WR Kevin Curtis, and RB Brian Westbrook back in the lineup: "It's going to be exciting to have all of those guys back. The thing for us on offense is that we will have our top two receivers back and healthy and have their feet up under them. Also, knowing it is still a process. When you miss so many weeks and then you come back for a game, you have to kind of get your feet wet, so to speak. The positive for us is that we have some guys who have stepped in and made a lot of big plays for us—guys like (WRs) Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis, and Jason Avant. I think in our offense, we have to continue to spread the ball around to get everybody involved, to take the pressure off of those guys who are coming back off of injury. That means (RB) Correll Buckhalter, (TE) L.J. Smith and (TE) Brent Celek, so that we won't be kind of leaning on those guys to make so many big plays for us."
On whether he is surprised that WR DeSean Jackson has been able to accomplish what he has: "No, I'm not surprised. He is a guy who comes out to work every day and wants to get better. You can tell he is getting comfortable in this offense and in the guys around him. The thing about it is that he's still a rookie, and I say that because it's a long season. It's not like college, where you finish the season with 11 or 12 games and then you're done. The way we try to prepare ourselves around here is to play at least 19 or 20 games or whatever it may be, to finish off in February. By that time, he runs into a big wall. We are just trying to prepare him mentally for what he will be faced with for a 16 or 17-week season, and then hopefully more weeks after that. He has really answered a lot of questions that a lot of people may have had. Each week, he seems to get better and better."
On whether it is hard to be consistent when there are so many players in and out of the lineup: "It is, but yet still after watching the film, there were opportunities to make plays and we didn't. If you go back to our losses, we should have scored in the red zone against the Bears. The Dallas game, we should have won that game. If you go back to all of our losses, there were opportunities to score in the Washington game. We should have scored in the red zone, we should have converted on some third downs. It's just little mistakes that turn out to be big mistakes that end up costing us at the end of the game. I wouldn't say it was just those guys who were missing and not a part of it at that time. Those guys who are in there have to make plays, too. We all get paid to go out and make plays. When you don't make plays, you lose games."
On who he was referring to when he mentioned getting the top two receivers back: "Reggie (Brown) and Kevin (Curtis) are our top two receivers. I guess people forget about Reggie, and that's sad. Reggie came off of a great training camp and was ready to go into a great season. Unfortunately, he was hurt. He came back and in the two games he was back, he was our leading receiver. When you have Reggie and you have Kevin as your top two receivers, it takes a lot of pressure off of everyone else. When you have the emergence of DeSean Jackson and the way Hank Baskett has been playing, that just adds more firepower to what we want to do around here."
On whether the Falcons are a surprising team this season: "It's just like us last year finishing 8-8 and then at the start of the year, people saying that we were one of the top teams in the NFC East. It could be just a couple plays away from being 5-1 or being 4-2. If you look at some of the games the Falcons have played, the first couple of games nobody expected (RB Michael) Turner to be leading the league in rushing in the first four or five weeks. (QB) Matt Ryan has been doing a good job for what they have been giving him. (WR) Roddy White has been making big plays for them at the wide receiver position. If you look at (DE) John Abraham, who has seven sacks, nobody expected their defense to be doing what they're doing. I think we have to challenge them in so many ways, so many phases of the game, and be very consistent in being able to convert first downs. Also, we have to be able to move the chains and get touchdowns instead of field goals."
On how tough it is for a rookie QB to have the impact that Matt Ryan has had: "It is tough. I commend him, because he has the talent. That's not a great situation to be going into. You're talking about going into a city where they loved Michael Vick and still love Michael Vick. All eyes are on you to see how you're playing. This is his first year and I think he's been doing a decent job, as far as what they've been giving him. He has done a wonderful job of making plays when they needed it. Look at the Bears game in which he was able to connect on that corner route to put them in position to kick the field goal and win. He went to Green Bay and played well down in Green Bay so that they could beat a tough Green Bay team who was doing pretty well themselves. When you look at him, it's easy to say he's still a rookie, but you just have to watch him throughout a game and be able to see how he has been handling everything that they've been giving him. He is doing a good job."
On whether he likes where the team is in the NFC East in light of the other teams losing games: "I don't like the position we're in because I felt like we should be up there with the Giants, but that's not the case. As far as where we are right now, we have to just take care of our business. If we take care of our business, the situation will get better. It is a tough division and we play some tough teams, obviously as you can see. With a couple plays here or there, things can really go bad for you. If you look at what happened to the Cowboys in the last couple weeks, the Redskins had a scare last week with Cleveland, especially after nobody expected them to lose to St. Louis. The Giants didn't play so well against Cleveland. What we have to do is make sure we do our jobs here and hopefully things will work out for us."
On whether he no longer looks to run: "Not necessarily. I don't focus on any of the stats. If there are opportunities for me to run, I'll run. I ran when we played San Fran. When you get older in this league, you get comfortable with the guys that are there. You go through your reads, your progression, and you get the ball out of your hands. You give your receivers the opportunity to make plays for you. It's not about running. Again, if the situation is there and nothing is there downfield, then I'll take it to pick up yards. (Jokingly) Maybe I'll line up with Westbrook and pick up some yards so that everyone will say that I'm running the ball again."
On whether teams gameplan against him as a quarterback who still can run: "They still know I can run. Teams still know I can get out of the pocket and run. It's not like they're just rushing upfield and not leaving any lanes. They are still keeping an eye on what they would do if I get out of the pocket."