Head Coach Bruce Arians
"Really good practice. Not practicing – I know I don't have to tell injuries – but Beau Allen is the only one injured that didn't practice. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), Dot (Demar Dotson) both had vet days off. First for me, I haven't had Christmas off in 27 years, so I'm looking forward to it. Glad that we now played on Saturday. Atlanta is playing extremely well again. Obviously, having Devonta Freeman back helps – Julio [Jones is] full speed again. Defensively, they've got a few more games under their belt with the different changes that they made before, so it'll be a heck of a challenge."
(On what the staff look for in successful run game)
"Run efficiency of four or more. We have a forty [yard run] and then we have two ones then maybe a six. You'd just like to have that four-or-more average up – some of it's the runner, some of it's the line, some of it's the tight ends, some of it's even the receivers, but it takes the collective. We have run it well enough that the play action passing game is ok, so it hasn't hurt us there, and running out the clock we've been ok. But, I would still like to see better runs."
(On how running the ball efficiently could help with turnovers)
"Well, you're not in third-and-eights, if you run it twice, you're in a third-and-two. It's a different ball game if you stay ahead of the chains. It's not going to stop throwing the first pass of the game as an interception, because you're going to have to throw a pass sooner or later. It's just try to throw a safer one or whatever."
(On limiting Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins)
"Pretty much it was Carlton Davis. There was not a lot of double teaming going on, there was some but Carlton just had a heck of a ball game. Carlton is a very physical player, so they were just beating the crap out of each other."
(On CB Carlton Davis being savvier now)
"There's no doubt. As a DB you have to know what you're getting away with – how they are going to call this game? Each game is different. We talked way back in September about getting his hands off down the field, and he's done a heck of a job improving that part."
(On the Atlanta Falcons winning five-out-of-seven and what happens to a team when that happens)
"There's accountability factor. They want to win for Dan [Quinn]. Dan's a heck of a coach, heck of a guy, so they're giving it everything they've got. Defensively I think they were simpler and playing faster the last time we played them. They've gotten a little more complicated and they're still playing fast."
(On ending the year with a win)
"For us 8-8, tastes a whole lot better than 7-9. Any time you can spend the offseason remembering when you won, it's a lot different to come to work every day – as a player and a coach."
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On how much Atlanta's defense has changed since Assistant Head Coach Raheem Morris took an increased role in the defensive play-calling duties)
"I mean they're not much different. They play a little more two-high [safeties] – that's the [biggest change]."
(On if there are any other differences he has recognized)
"No, they are a simple team. They are going to go out there and play the way they do. They're going to try their best to do the best that they can and play good football."
(On what this game means for both teams)
"It's the same with us – it's for second place in the division. We're going to go out there and try our best to play good football because they've been playing really good football."
(On what his expectations for the season were when it began)
"I forgot them. Now I'm just focused on this game that I've got ahead. We want to go out and get a win. That's the [biggest] thing – we want to finish strong."
(On what it would mean to finish 8-8)
"It would be good. 8-8 is better than 7-9 any day."
(On his favorite Christmas memory)
"I remember one year I got surgery on my belly button because I had an outie. My dad got me a bike and I didn't care about that outie – I was riding that bike. So, I snuck outside, I got on my bike and I was riding my bike up the street. You see my mom and dad like, 'Hey, you just had surgery!' It was fun – and it snowed too."
(On how old he was during that memory)
"Eight or nine. That's just one of my favorite Christmas memories. It was a great ending with yelling parents chasing down their son that just had surgery on his bellybutton for riding a bike."
(On the importance of continuing to develop the rushing attack)
"I think, as an offense, every area you can excel in helps out. It keeps the defense on [its] toes. I thought we did a really good job last game with RoJo (Ronald Jones II) getting a huge explosive [play] in the run game. That creates setbacks for defenses. You just need those big, explosive plays. We have great four-yard carries, five-yard carries [and] six-yard carries, but we've got to get those 20-plus-[yard] carries to actually get some length in the rushing yards."
(On getting his offensive linemen a Big Green Egg smoker and steaks for the holidays)
"Yeah, they love to eat. I got them a Green Egg because it's the portable Green Egg. Those guys [can] go ahead and get their smoke on. A few years ago when we had the hurricane, I got them all portable grills and they loved that, so now I said, 'You can get you a good meal by putting that steak on that Green Egg, let it sit there for a bit and have yourself a good little bite.'"
(On what he is the most pleased with regarding how the season has progressed)
"I think how everyone has stayed resilient and has continued to persevere no matter what. This team has really grown close together. For us – especially for our defense being a whole bunch of young guys – our team is pretty young on its own, but for us to have the kind of love and respect we have for each other right now, it's very pleasing."
(On offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich getting mentioned as a head coach candidate and what Leftwich's best attribute is)
"I think it's relatability and he's been the head of a team before. He was a [first round] draft pick. He knows what good teams look like. He was the quarterback in a division with a great Peyton Manning, a great Steve McNair. I forget who the other quarterback was, but he was one of them, so he knows what that looks like. He has had great mentorship with BA (Bruce Arians) and he's been in it. He's been a part of this NFL culture for a longtime, so he's definitely well-deserving to be a NFL head coach. I just want him to be my OC for right now so we can win some football games before he takes that leap and becomes a great NFL head coach."
(On quarterback coach Clyde Christensen and what he has meant to Winston)
"A top-notch man. One of the best men I've ever met in my life and that's helped me not only on the field from a quarterback perspective with his wisdom and with his skill training – like he did with previous quarterbacks he worked with – but just my walk with the Lord off the field has increased tremendously by having a great man of faith be the head of that quarterback room. I really love Coach Clyde."
(On trying to have a turnover free game)
"I think some people made some good plays, but also, it's just something that you just have to keep working at and I'm going to keep working at it and I'm going to eliminate it – I will. When I do that, we're going to be tough."
(On throws to new receivers)
"It's all trust and make no mistake it doesn't matter who's out there. We're going to go out there and we're going to trust them and we're going to let it fly. We're going to be more open to the flow of the game. Our defense has been playing really good right now, so we have to take care of our positions."
(On how spending more time with the offense will create better results)
"The more you can understand the concepts in-and-out, the better you can execute the play. Having one year of experience with these concepts, I know further learning of the concepts with the coaches, for the relationships with Coach Clyde [Christensen], Coach Byron [Leftwich], with BA (Bruce Arians) will definitely increase performance."