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Atlanta Falcons Postgame Transcripts 10/22

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dann Quinn and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 22, 2017.


October 22, 2017

DQ: I will begin. Certainly, tough night for us, I know how badly our team wanted us to come out and play well and I think the real story of the game was our situational football. On both sides, third down, didn't play up to our standards and our struggles in the red zone of not scoring. So, one-and-four in not scoring down in the red zone. Had a field goal blocked, we missed a field goal. We went for one on downs and lost and to me, you know, it's part of how this came about. Believe in the team, like crazy. We've got work to do to get to our standard of ball. And we will work like crazy to do that. But we are certainly disappointed in tonight that we didn't execute in opportunities when they came about. So I will be glad to open up to your questions.

Q: Coach, what is wrong with your offense? You had a 90 minute droought without scoring.

DQ: Well, our red zone, certainly was not just the offense. You know, we missed a field goal, we had a field goal blocked, and you know, chance for going down, third down led on both sides of the ball cost us. So, the red zone was certainly a factor in tonight's score. Where you know, that's potential of 13 points that we didn't have heading into it.

Q: The run defense, season high of 162…

DQ: Yeah, I thought early on I felt particularly good, you know we were tackling right in that part and our game was on point. But to hold that, to that score, going in, I was pleased with that. You know, that their quarterback and receivers and tight end didn't get off. So, the numbers are high and that extended the time of possession. But their ability to convert on the third down and our inability to convert on third down is the real story.

Q: Coach, I know it's never about one play, but the fourth-and-goal play from the 1 jet sweep play or whatever. Was that kind of the final gut shot of a tough night…

DQ: Certainly was, yeah, we thought they had all their big guys inside and we'd have to chance to get the ball outside, on the edge. We had a difficult time, you know, against all the big guys, you know, getting movement. So we took a shot to get the ball out to the perimeter. For them, made a better play than we did. That was our chance, I thought, that was the right thing to do. Get aggressive and go try to get back in the game.

Q: The defense in general, Coach, the past few games has not played that bad. They have a pretty good rating…

DQ: Not that bad at all. I would say that it's a really connected group offensively, defensively, on teams. For them, you know, they were certainly disappointed. We missed an opportunity for a turnover tonight, which was going to be a big one, down in the red zone for them. But, you know, the frustration is not being able to execute all three phases together because they are an extension of each other. We don't really subscribe to country of themselves, it's not an offense, a defense, or a special teams separately. One guy down, the next guy has to come back and play, even if it's on the other side of the ball. So, the ball we never thought would be a factor tonight and you know, thought we had a chance at one and certainly got a call back.

Q: Dan, where do you think your team's confidence is after starting 3-0 and how losing the last three in a row have been a struggle…
DQ: Well, number one, I think they are a really resilient group and, of course, like any competitor they are pissed. You know, because we have a higher standard that we want to play to. So when you don't attain that, you know, you get disappointed. The preparation and the process that they go to, to get ready, has been on point. But we are not executing to the level that we can, and that's what we are going to work like crazy to get right. They do recognize their own extension of each other, so we had some opps down in the red zone and got one blocked on special teams. We had a chance to create a turnover and we didn't get it. They are disappointed, but at the same time, they are a very resilient group of men who are 100 percent committed to each other. So that part, like I said, we will work like crazy to get right.

Q: You talked about making adjustments and changes. You know, fixing some of the things that were the problems after last week. Then you had some of those same issues, so what are the next steps, you know, to get over those?

DQ: For us, the main thing is, we have got to go right back to work. In terms of getting the specific parts of our situation game right and we have had some things that have crept up early on and we've had some turnovers. That was not the case tonight. It was our inability to convert on the some third downs. We didn't run the ball like we are capable of. I thought, defensively, we allowed too many yards. Certainly, when they were able to extend some drives. That part for sure was a factor for us, but by no means are we changing, you know, any grand things. What we do, we will do better.

Q: You do seem like you came out aggressive though, you went for it on a couple fourths, you took some deep shots, are you happy with at least the game plan?

DQ: We were clear on how we wanted to go attack. The players and the coaches really had a clear understanding of how we wanted to go play. We did take some chances on some fourth down opps and we felt like that was the right thing to do. In the first half, made one, missed one. But I wanted to make sure we were going to continue to give our guys opportunities to play. As it turned out, the second one didn't work out, went down and got a field goal out of it. But I thought we had a call on, that was going to be the right one for the situation.

Q: I know you said you have a resilient team, but from afar it didn't look like they were playing with the same confidence that they played with a year ago. Why do you think that is?

DN: That's a fair question and I recognize it. I've gotten comments about the team from last year to this year, and we have to make sure this team can play as good as they can. I'm not going to keep looking back into last year, but there were some times when I found out a lot about some guys, and they showed some real toughness today. Executing and resiliency are important to me, and we can do those jobs better, and that's what we plan on doing.

Q: Do you think the preparation for the performance tonight was off?

DN: No. I'll go back and look at the tape tonight, but for me, I think the process of getting ready to play was on point and for us not to nail the opportunities that we had tonight; that speaks to our issue. I know the competitors we have coming up, and anticipate that changing.

Q: I know offensively both Matt Ryan and Julio Jones were frustrated at times tonight, could you kind of sense that frustration?

DQ: I definitely did. With the competitors that they are, you should anticipate the frustration when the result is not getting there. They talked on the sideline, at the half and in the locker room now. Those conversations are generally geared to what's going to change. Those guys specifically were very frustrated.

Q: The big play was the roughing the passer call involving Tom Brady, and it gave the Patriots another chance, and they scored on it. Talk about that play and what you thought of it?

DQ: I'll have to take another look at it. I saw the play but I didn't see the foul. My eyes weren't to him after the ball was thrown, so I'll have to take another look at it. It was certainly a costly penalty for us. Any time you have a chance to take points off the board with a turnover, that's a big one. When they put it back on and it extends the drive, it's definitely a part of the game that's disappointing. That part of our game situationally was not up to standard.

Q: I know the focus was kind of on Julio; do you think Tevin Coleman has diminished over the past few weeks or is his role still consistent?

DQ: Yeah he still has a big role. I recognize that sometimes the stats don't go your way, but he's still a really big factor. What we do is utilize him with Freeman in the backfield, and we will continue to do that because of Tevin's explosiveness.

Q: With the fourth down conversion in the first half, was there then a sense of urgency to score points with the offense you're going up against?

DQ: No, it's really just the belief I have in our guys. For me, historically I've been known to be aggressive with the opportunities we have. I'd say it boils down to the belief we have in the team, and belief in what we can be. I believed we could execute in that time, and we nailed it.


October 22, 2017

Q: You seemed pretty frustrated at several times during the game. What was going on out there?

MR: Yeah, I mean obviously to me it was a game where we had some opportunities to make some plays and didn't make them. So I think that's where you become frustrated when you have those opportunities, especially playing against a good football team like New England. You know that when you get your opps [opportunities] you have to take advantage of them. We missed on a few. I missed on a few. That kind of put us behind the eight ball. We were down early and that's something that we've got to do a better job of moving forward. We're 3-3 at this point. I always feel like you get what you earn in this league and that's what we've earned so far. I feel like we can be a better football team but as players we've got to make our plays when we get the chances and that starts with me.

Q: Are you stunned with what has happened to this offense? I know nobody wants to talk about last year but it appears you're not playing to the level of your talent and potential.

MR: Yeah, I mean every year is different. I know that. I've played in this league long enough to know that one, it's hard to win games and two, it's a tall task to be productive week in and week out. It takes a lot of hard work. We haven't been as productive as I think we're capable of being. From a players standpoint I feel like it comes down to missed opportunities. I think that has been the – I sound like a little bit of a broken record for the first couple of weeks of the season but when we got our chances we have to make plays and we haven't done a good job of that.

Q: But to go basically five or six straight quarters without scoring?

MR: Well I thought we had some opportunities early. Obviously you get the kick blocked and had some drives going. Obviously we want to score every time we touch the ball. That's kind of the mindset that we have and like you said, the last couple of game we certainly haven't performed at the level that I think we're capable of. We've got to do a better job as players. I thought we had some chances. I really did. I thought we had some chances to make some plays and we just didn't make them.

Q: Julio Jones said in the locker room that you guys are starting to get tired of being asked about last year. Are you searching for an identity this year?

MR: Yeah, I mean, I think so. I think through three games it's a tale of inconsistency. We've done some good things at times and at other times we certainly haven't played good football. We're not the team I think we're going to be yet. We've got a long way to go but we've got the right mindset, the right guys that I think are willing to work towards that and that's what we've got to do at this point. When we get back to Atlanta we've got to get back to work and try to be a better football team than we've been up to this point.

Q: At 3-3 you're really not out of anything. This league seems like it has a lot of 4-2 teams so you're not that far away though it doesn't look good. How do you, as the guy, take care of that and start making it look good?

MR: Yeah, I mean that's the trick. We've been close and I think that's even the case tonight. I know the score doesn't indicate that. I think there were some opportunities offensively where we were driving, had some chances to hit some plays down the field [and] I didn't connect. So one, start connecting when we've got our opportunities to make those plays giving our guys a chance to make a play on the ball. I think that, to me, is a good start for us. It's a long season and we've got a long way to go. I always think that with experience you learn that you've got to be a football team that continues to get better as the year goes on and that's where our mindset has to be. It has to be about improvement. The focus has to be about being better and not worrying about all of the other things that are said or what we look like or any of those things. I think it comes down to getting back to work and finding ways to be a better football team.

Q: Did you think you guys were tentative tonight?

MR: I don't think so. Tentative, I wouldn't say that. We had some opportunities where we went for it in some fourth down situations. I thought we played aggressive. I just didn't think we made plays and at the end of the day ultimately that's what you've got to do.

Q: What's wrong with the offense?

MR: I just don't think we're as consistent as we can be. I think number one, it comes down to making plays when we have our opportunities. I thought we had some opportunities tonight with some shots down the field and I didn't connect. So that's something as a player, and as players, I think we just need to make our plays when we get our chances.

Q: When you look at New England on tape early in the season it seems like there's a lot of yards and big plays there. It has been tightening up a little and getting a little better. What did you see tonight from the Patriots defense?

MR: I thought they did a good job. To me, you had seen some of the things that they had given up earlier in the year. I thought they played a lot more coverage tonight. Obviously we got some man in certain situations but I thought they played a lot of two shell coverages, dropped eight defenders in coverage quite a bit. It allowed us to make some plays kind of extending plays getting outside the pocket but I thought they did a good job of keeping things in front of them for the most part tonight.

Q: How about the fog? What was it like out there?

MR: You know what, it wasn't bad on the field. I think it was worse when you kind of got off and you tried to look into the stands or anything like that. You realized you couldn't see that far. But I mean on the field it wasn't bad.

Q: You're the defending NFC champions and you come out and win the first three games of this season. Is there a letdown at all?

MR: I don't think it's a letdown. I think our energy in practices, our want-to is there. We've just got to find out why we're not executing the way that we're capable of. The only way I know how to do it is get back to work, keep working on those things in practice, making sure that we're as detailed and diligent at practice as we can be. So to me that's what it is. But I don't think there's any letdown from our staff or our guys. I think the intent has been there. I just don't think our production has matched our intent or our want-to.

Q: Which opportunities are going to stay with you tonight that you say you missed?

MR: Yeah, I think obviously I had a chance on a third down to Mohamed Sanu in the red zone. I thought he ran a good route and just overthrew him by a hair. That one to me was one – that's a play I can make and when you're playing a good football team like that those are the tight coverage throws that you've got to hit.

Q: Was that in the corner of the end zone?

MR: Yeah, from my vantage point it would've been the right corner of the end zone. I thought we had an opportunity to Julio [Jones] on a corner route in the right side of the end zone as well that got away from me. To me it's – we had chances to make plays and we just didn't make them. So those are the things that when you look at it, the game shakes out a lot different had we made those plays.

Devonta Freeman, Running Back

*(On the lack of offense) *
"It's now that we just have to finish. It's a group effort, I just feel we need to finish and win the game. We need to do whatever it takes to win the game. I don't care what it is. We just have to go back to the drawing board, figure out ways to win, that's all that I can say."

*(On if he would have liked to get the ball on the goal line) *
"I'm a competitor, so of course. But when any player's number gets called they have to execute."

*(On adjusting to new offensive play calls) *
"It is what it is. We all come here and work as a group effort. The coaches, players, the whole brotherhood. It's all on us; we just have to figure out a way to close."

*(On the fourth downs and trying to change the momentum) *
"Just trying to be aggressive and the coach is going to trust us in those situations. We just need to do whatever it takes to convert."

*(On Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian taking some criticism) *
"I think it's on all of us. Nobody can point fingers at nobody. We just have to figure out ways to win. On all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams, just figure out a way to win. There isn't pointing no fingers at anybody, because when we win the Super Bowl there isn't going to be any pointing fingers at how good we were. So we'll just take this as a lesson."

*(On playing in the fog and if it affected the game) *
"I remember playing in the fog at my high school national championship game down in Orlando, Florida against Dr. Phillips; it was a similar situation. It's just foggy for the fans, but on the field it's kind of clear. No it didn't affect us at all."

*(On the expectations of the team from last year to this year) *
"Every year is a new year. In the NFL you are either getting good or getting better. You are never staying the same. You will never be okay all year long; you're either getting better or getting worse. A lot of teams are getting better, so are we. We just need to figure out ways to close and finish."

Julio Jones, Wide Receiver

*(On what went wrong in the game) *
"It is just situational ball and we did poorly on third down and in the red zone today. It is plain and simple. We went out with a great effort, everything was there we just didn't connect on third downs and in the red zone."

*(On what are the causes of not connecting) *
"We were just off and that is it. We just weren't on the same page."

*(On the frustration of not winning) *
"We are never frustrated, let's clear that up and nothing about it is frustrating. It is football and on any given Sunday we just have to keep working and just keep putting the work in. We are not going to get down on ourselves and we are not going to hang our heads. We are just going to keep putting the work in and just wait until it pays off."

Alex Mack, Center

*(On the game) *
"We are not happy with the way we performed. We were not good on third downs and we were not good in the red zone. I think being good on first and second downs is going to help you do all that other stuff. There are plays out there we need to make and we didn't make them."

*(On the adjustments made during the week not working) *
"It is frustrating and the key is to continue to work hard. It is a long season and there are a lot of games left. If we just work hard, day in and day out and continue to get better, by the end of the season we should be a good team."

(On the game coming down to a couple of plays)
"It came down to a couple of plays out there and we didn't make them. If it is third down or in the red zone, all of those little things add up and to play a game against a good team like the Patriots are, you have to make them. It is really tough to play from behind and we just didn't have enough time."

Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle

(On if he ever played in fog like tonight and if it had an effect on the game)
"No. No, we just have to execute. We have a lot to improve on because we didn't win the game and that's it. It's a part of the game"

*(On the Patriots having success running the football) *
"We've got a lot to improve on and that is part of it. We were expecting the run and pass that is what they do."

*(On if New England is a difficult place to play) *
"Every place in the league is difficult."

Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver

(On the play of the offense)
"We just didn't connect on a few things. We had a couple missed opportunities on third down, fourth down, first, second down. We just have to execute better and play better as a whole."

(On if he ever played in fog like tonight and if it had an effect on the game)
"No. You just have to focus a little more. It was weird but you just have to go out there. They have the same element. I could see."

(On the Patriots defense)
"They play zone, they plan man. They do what they do. They did a good job. We just didn't connect on plays we had opportunities on. They capitalized on opportunities that we didn't. Guys stepped up, made plays and did a really good job and we just didn't capitalize on our opportunities."

Ryan Schraeder, Tackle

*(On if he ever played in fog like tonight, and if it had an effect on the game) *
"I don't think so. I don't know if it was that foggy [to impact the game]. I'm not back there throwing the ball or catching it, it seemed foggy but on the field you could still see. I know on the tablets we use to go over things you could see what was going on with that. We just adjusted and talked about what we saw."

*(On the game) *
"Execution. You have got to execute. In the red zone there was a couple times we should have scored and we didn't put the ball in the end zone."

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