Head Coach Raheem Morris
(Opening Statement) It was a hard fought game from our football team, and with that, Ill open it up to questions.
(At the end of the series there, you were up by four points and decided to go for a fake punt. Can you go over that situation a little bit for us?) I was just trying to get the offense going. I wanted to change the game and thats what I did. That is completely on me. That was a call by me and it didnt work out for us. I am lucky our defense could go out there and stand it up and give us another opportunity.
(On the fourth down, why the decision to go for a long field goal instead of punt?) Fourth down, we wanted to get up by seven so all they could do was tie. We made a lot of big time field goals the week before and had a lot of confidence in our kicker. I wanted to go out there and take a shot at it. We were a 1-9 football team and now we are a 1-10 football team. You cant play scared. You have to play hard and go out there and win football games.
(You had a lot of injuries in the secondary, and had to rely on a lot of youngsters. How much did that matter in this game?) It doesnt matter. When you go out there, its your turn. It is your time to shine. You are a starter. It doesnt matter. The only thing that matters is the result. Nobody knows who the touchdown was scored on. All they know is that it was a touchdown.
(How do you feel the defense played today?) They played hard. They played hard and they continued. It was a hard fought game as a team. We blocked the punt on special teams. On offense, we moved the ball fairly well. In the second half, we didnt play as well as the first, but we played well as a team today. I am just proud of the guys in that locker room.
(If you had to do it over again, would you go for those fourth downs again?) You cant second guess yourself. This is a grown mans sport. When you start second guessing yourself, then you become soft. That was the decision I made today and I stick by my decisions.
(How busy was it for you being a defensive coordinator and head coach? Did that affect your decision making at all?) Of course I was really busy, but I have a great staff. I have great people around me and a lot of people helping me out. Im glad those guys were with me today and they did a great job.
(Was Tony Gonzalez everything you had expected and prepared for?) Tony Gonzalez was a problem. He always is going to be a problem and he has always been a problem in this League. He made a key catch on a fourth down, but he is that type of player.
(Why did you call a timeout in the fourth quarter on fourth down?) To get a look at what they were in. I wanted to see what they were in and what to call. I wanted to talk to my guys and let them know what my mentality was.
(When Ryan went out, did you change your plan?) No. The plan is the plan. Chris Redman is their backup and they are going to come out with their same plan. We are going to use our same plan and try to win. Redman came in and did a great job today. His quarterback rating is very high. He got some completions and was smart with the football. Thats the kind of player he is and the kind of player that develops in Atlanta.
(Do you think it was a step forward for the defense?) Its never a step forward when you lose.
QB Josh Freeman
(Talk about the play of WR Antonio Bryant) Antonio Bryant played a great game, especially on the first half drive where he had two big plays, including the touchdown. It was good to have him back out there.
(Thoughts on that two-play drive in the first half) The first play was a play action pass and (Antonio Bryant) did a great job of catching it. He ran a great route. The next play he got off his guy and threw his hand up and I gave him a chance to make a great play.
(Was that second pass to Antonio Bryant short?) No it was an instance where the defenders back was to me and the last thing I wanted to do was overthrow him because you feel like you have a touchdown. I just wanted to give him a chance to make a play and he did that.
(Was your performance a bounce back for you from last week?) I wouldnt really call it a bounce back. Last week I had an off week and this week I played closer to the level I want to play at.
(How tough was the Falcons pressure?) They did a good job of mixing up the blitzes and making it so we had to get it out of there quickly. I was trying to get it out quick. That is something I need to go back and work on.
(On the Buccaneers running performance today) They have a good run defense. Their down linemen are solid. No one has really had success running the ball against them. We tried to make some plays this week, but they were hard to come by. Some weeks you will be able to run it and some weeks youll be able to pass it. This week they lived up to their tough run defense and held us in the run game.
(Did you have untimely penalties?) We need to find a way to eliminate the penalties and keep the chains moving.
(Talk about the defense) They played a great game. Offensively, we arent putting up enough points to get the win. Our defense kept us in the entire game and they did a great job today.
LB Quincy Black
(You played well enough to win today, but no such luck) (The Falcons) are a good football team. They made more plays than us down the stretch, and youve got to give them credit for that.
(You seemed to be everywhere the ball was today) All of that doesnt matter. At the end of the day, we lost.
( Even though this is your 10th loss, it still hurts, I assume) It hurts just as bad as the first time we lost. Every time you step on the field, you expect to win. We fell short today.
CB Ronde Barber
(This was one of your best chances to win today) We did our job. Someone needed to make a play on that last drive, and nobody did. But it was a great throw and catch on the touchdown. We shouldnt have let it happen.
(It was almost like watching the Buccaneers of old today, if you could put it that way) This was the ultimate Buccaneers kind of game. It was the bend dont break philosophy that has defined this franchise. But (Chris) Redman dialed up (Tony) Gonzalez on that last drive, unfortunately. I dont know. This one is very frustrating. It was our style of game. I wish we could have found a way to not make it so exciting at the end.
P Dirk Johnson
(Have you thrown a pass before in your career?) Yes.
(That one worked out OK?) Yes.
( It looked like at one point that you were going to run the ball on the fake punt) I cut back and the defender came up field and I knew that I didnt have the corner on him so I had to stop and throw it. I saw John Gilmore coming across.
( Have you had success in practice running the fake punt?) Yes. Its good. Weve had it in for a while. We just didnt have it. They covered it up. It happens.
Head Coach Mike Smith
(Opening Statement) I told our team all week that in this League its a battle. Its a battle every single time that you go out and play. This was a typical NFC South football game. We obviously didnt play our best but the object each and every week is to win the football game, and thats what we did today. We tried numerous ways not to win the game, but we were able to overcome that. We overcame six sacks, and we overcame a blocked punt. We tried not to win it but our guys did a great job in their resolve to play for 60 minutes, and it says a lot about the men in that room; players and coaches.
(Can you talk about Chris Redman coming in as quarterback?) I think Chris numbers were outstanding. Chris was 23 for 41, and had 243 yards passing. I thought he ran the offense very effectively. He had the two touchdowns and had, of course, the great throw there to Roddy (White) at the end of the game. He did not turn the ball over. As a backup in this League, its a very difficult position, especially at the quarterback position because you maybe get 15 snaps during the week. Chris, when called upon, made the most of his opportunity.
(Chris hasnt thrown a pass in 27 games. How difficult is it to get back out there?) I know Chris, and what kind of man Chris is. Chris is always going to be prepared and I can assure you that I had no doubt that he was going to go in there and perform effectively. Chris has been in the League for a number of years and he knows what is expected of a backup quarterback. When the backup quarterback steps in, we dont want the level of play to go down one inch. Thats what happened today. I was very proud of Chris. I thought Bill Musgrave did a very good job, our Quarterback Coach, working with him on the sideline, as well as our Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey.
(Can you give us a prognosis of Matt Ryan?) I really wish I could tell you. I know that hes in the training room, hes been looked at, and I know its a toe injury. Until we get to Wednesday and see where hes at, we will have a little bit better prognosis.
(Do you think the Falcons played to a lower caliber today to match Tampa Bays level of play?) That was good football team that we played today. Tampa Bay (Head Coach) Raheem (Morris) had his team ready . You have to throw records out in this League. Week in to week out it is a different dynamic, and you have to be ready to play. We did not play as well as wed like to you. We have a lot of things to correct. We will work towards that because weve got to continue to improve and get better.
(You gave up 6 sacks early on. What did you do differently to have better protection?) We made some changes on our protection. We started allowing more guys to stay in before they went out. We were down two offensive linemen today as well. With Harvey Dahl, Brett Romberg had to come in and play the guard position. (Sam Baker) went down and we had to have (Will) Svitek come in and play. We were playing down two offensive linemen in that ballgame, but they hung tough and thats what its all about.
(What made you decide that the last scoring play of the game was going to work?) We saw how they lined up. We knew what kind of a match up we were going to have. We thought it was a favorable match for us. It was an excellent throw and a great catch. It was very good coverage by them. It was a typical play that could go either way. Were sure happy it went our way.
(Chris Redman threw six straight incompetions before he threw the touchdown. At any point did you lose confidence in him?) I didnt realize that he threw six incomplete passes in a row. The quarterback thats played in this League knows what he has to do. He delivered, and it was a big, big throw for us.
(Can you give us an update on Michael Turner and what was the reason for Sam Bakers exit?) Baker was banged up in a number of areas. You saw he had the brace on and he was not able to continue either. Thats why we had the two other linemen in there. We wont have any update on Michael Turner right now. Well have a lot more information on Wednesday after practice.
(When did you make the make the decision that Michael Turner would play?) We wanted to make sure how Michael was prior to kickoff. It definitely was going to be a game time decision. We were encouraged during the week with what Michael was able to do during practice with limited participation.
(With a sprain does it concern that he could re-aggravate it, and it could be a longer time out?) Again, I dont really want to comment about Michaels injury. On Wednesday well talk about that.
(Can you talk about Chris Owens first start in the NFL?) From what I saw on the sideline prior to watching tape, I thought Chris handled his work throughout the game when he was out there playing. I was glad to see he got tweaked on a special teams play but came back and played. It was great to see one of our draft picks come in and play so well.
(How do evaluate Jason Elam after he missed a field goal today?) Again, well evaluate that each and every week. I keep saying this about it; it is an operation. There is a snap, there is a hold, and there is a kick. Ill let you guys observe that and make your observations. Jason kicked the ball down the middle on two of his opportunities when the operation was clean.
(Im surprised you werent able to run the ball a little better?) They did a very good job. This was a difficult week in terms of preparation. We did not have any tendencies to go by in terms of a play caller. You really had to spread your self thin in terms of preparation, and be prepared to make sideline adjustments as the game went on.
(When you say the operation wasnt clean, do you mean the snap of the kick?) Like I said, its an operation. Im not going to comment on one individual.
LB Curtis Lofton
(Opening Statement) Our team hung in there today and did everything possible to win. We were in a situation in which we had to keep fighting against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We have the Philadelphia Eagles next week which will be a pivotal match-up moving forward. We understand that from here on out we will be getting every teams best effort, and today was no different. In the last five games, we have to bring our A game.
(On the win) Today was not the best way to win, but we made sure to come out on top. Tampa is a good team in spite of their record. We have to give them credit in all phases. They made us work the entire game to pull this victory out.
(On the offense without QB Matt Ryan) I put all the confidence in our offense. We knew QB Chris Redman would make enough plays out there to put our offense in enough positions to succeed. It was not pretty all the time, but we won the game thats all that matters. We have to give the Tampa Bay defense a lot of credit for mixing the coverages and blitzes, but at the end we made enough plays.
QB Chris Redman
(Opening Statement) We had double slants called with man coverage on the last play. We liked our chances with WR Roddy White one-on-one making a play for us on fourth down. Roddy is a great player and we had all the confidence in him. Our timing was a bit off prior to that touchdown catch.
(On replacing injured QB Matt Ryan) I am always in the game whether I am in or not. As the back-up, you have to be prepared to play at any second to be in the game. I understand that I am one play away from getting my number called to step in. This approach enabled me to focus in and help the team as much as possible. This organization has believed in me from the beginning and I will forever be thankful. I am fortunate to be a part of this victory it was a concerted effort.
DL Kroy Biermann
(Thoughts on defense) Yeah, I think overall we were fine. We kind of stepped up when we needed. We got some good stops in the second half.
(How good does it feel to get this win?) It is very important. We felt that after two loses, we needed to be back in the groove of things and get after it. We made mistakes and we are obviously going to have to correct those. I think we felt very good with the effort we put up today.
(What were your thoughts on Chris Redman?) He stepped up. He did a good job. He made great throws. He made great reads. He was calm, kudos to him.
TE Tony Gonzalez
(What were the options on the redzone plays?) I was part of the option, but I certainly wasnt the number one option. I think down there, especially after the way I was getting involved. I started getting a little bit more attention, a little bit more double teams. But thats how you want it. It creates one-on-one match-ups for the outside guys. We were able to capitalize.
(Overcoming Matt Ryan being out, Michael Turner being out, and two lineman being out) There were so many things that were going against us: fumbling the ball, turning it over, losing all those guys. Its really a credit to the way we work, and the way guys never gave up. You saw it in the huddle, guys were confident. Dont get me wrong, I think Tampa came out and played really well. But in the end, we were able to make plays when we had to.
(First thought when he heard Matt (Ryan) was not able to come back) Hes our leader. Hes the ace. When he goes out thats part of the game. When stuff like that happens, a guy has to bring it. My hats off to Red (Chris Redman). The way he got in there, stepped up, and played pretty well. We got a victory from it. Its always good when we have a veteran guy like that coming off the bench. Hopefully Matt gets back sooner rather than later, so we can keep this thing going.
DT Jonathan Babineaux
(Is it better to win ugly, than to lose pretty?) A win is a win and well take it any way we can. We played up and down today, but, in the end, we stuck it out and played together to get the win.
(How big was it for Chris Redman to step in for Matt Ryan?) That was really big for us. I think the whole organization believes in Chris (Redman) and his abilities. As a team, we see him everyday, and we know hes a good back up. Today, he got a chance to prove himself, and won the game for us.
(Was the team surprised at how well Tampa moved the ball today?) Not at all. You can never underestimate your opponent in this league. We have to come to play every week, and those guys came to play today. They gave us a really good challenge, but, in the end, we didnt quit and we got the win.
K Jason Elam
(What were your thoughts on the game and your performance?) Im happy for the guys. They fought so hard. Looking at my performance, Ive have to find a way to be more consistent. Thats what this game is all about. In this league, you have to be as consistent as possible. I cant remember the last time I walked off the field feeling good about my performance, so, its very frustrating.
(Do you feel its back to the drawing board for you and your performance?) I dont think its back to the drawing board, but, Ill definitely look at the film, and try to figure out what Im doing wrong. Every other kick, I felt good about it when I kicked it. I felt that I had good technique, and I hit a very clean ball. Youre hoping to hit a clean ball. If your technique is good you shouldnt have to worry about the results. The last ball I kicked, I just didnt feel that I hit it pure and Ill continue to work on that.
RB Jerious Norwood
(Was the game close enough for you, and how does it feel to be back on the field?) I hate for it to come to the last play, but well take it any way we can. It feels good to be back. When I first went out there, I was a little nervous, but, as time went on, I started to feel a lot better.
(How important is it to get this team back on track?) Its very important. Weve got a six game season that started tonight, and well prepare, and work hard for next weeks game. If we stick together as a team, I know well be fine.
(What was Chris (Redman) like in the huddle?) He was very calm and cool in the huddle. Thats one thing about this team. When one guy goes down, well always have another man ready to step up and do his job.
WR Roddy White
(How would you describe this win?) A win is a win. It was a tough win, but, anytime you can get one in this league, youre always happy. Now, we need to move on to next week.
(How would you describe your the last play in the 4th quarter? What was the play?) We call that play a slant. I whispered over to coach on the sideline to try to give me the ball on a slant. Once we called the play, Tony (Gonzalez) and I both ran a slant and Chris (Redman) read the inside and the out. Chris (Redman) threw a good ball, and gave me a good chance to win game.
(What was it like to have Chris (Redman) in the huddle, as oppose to Matt (Ryan)?) It was a little different. Im used to seeing Matt (Ryan), but Chris (Redman) came in and did a good job today. He moved the ball up and down, and had overall he did a sufficient job, and gave us and opportunity to win the game.