<span> <span style="">Q: You hope for good things when you get drafted as the third pick, but could you have asked for a better scenario?</span>
A: You don't know what to expect coming in. As a rookie, I feel like I've done a pretty good job so far. With that said, I think I have a lot of room for improvement to do. That's been my focus. I haven't thought too much about what we've done in the past. I've been focusing more on this week and trying to get better.
Q: There have obviously been comparisons of you to some other highly drafted quarterbacks in their first year and there have been comparisons to you having a better statistical year than Peyton Manning in his rookie year. How hard has the transition to the NFL actually been for you?
A: I think it's been a pretty good adjustment. There's a lot of difficult things that you have to learn in the NFL. I think I've been taking it in stride and learning things week in and week out. I've been applying them to the practice field and I feel like I've been getting better. It hasn't been an easy adjustment. There are certainly a lot of things that you have to learn when you come into this league and I still have a long way to go.
Q: Do you think you've made it look easier than it actually is?
A: I don't know what other people think, but I think that my only impression is that when I look back at the tape, I feel like I can do a lot of improving.
Q: What do you need to improve on?
A: I can continue to get better in terms of my decision making. I think there's times when I've made decisions where if I continue to go through the progressions, I can find a better spot and you want to continue to get better at getting the ball out of your hand quicker, because the quicker you get it out, the longer you give your wide receivers, tight ends and running backs time to make a play. That's something I'm continually trying to work on.
Q: A lot of the veterans on the team have gone through some tumultuous situations the past few years. Have they talked about how different things have been this year?
A: It's tough for me to say that because I really wasn't here. Since I've been here, I think it's been positive and upbeat and everybody has been working as hard as they possibly can to try and have some success. I think the big thing is that it's been fun. Everybody's been having a lot of fun and everybody looks forward to coming into work and trying to get better week in and week out. I can't compare it to the past and can't really say what other guys have said. That's just what I've seen so far.
Q: Because of that history with Michael Vick there and the quarterback position, do you feel a lot of pressure coming in?
A: I haven't worried about it. I haven't thought about it too much. For me, it's really just been about trying to do everything I can since I've gotten here to become a better player and I can't really worry about what happened here in the past. It's just about trying to be the best player I can be.
Q: What players do you try to be like?
A: Tom Brady has a couple of Super Bowl rings, so that's obviously something you want to have. I haven't been in the league a while, but that's the biggest thing. I think everybody loves a winner and someone who has won championships as a quarterback. That's what I've been impressed with with guys in the league.
Q: Is there a quarterback in the league who you feel you have a similar skill set to?
A: I don't know. I think that I've never tried to play exactly like someone. I think that when you watch tape, you look at players that do things very well. When we watch tape of the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees has done a great job down there this year. He's made as good decisions as anybody I've seen on tape. I've been impressed with a bunch of people, but really I don't try to emulate anybody. I try to go out there and play my best.
Q: You have a couple of good skill players in Michael Turner and Roddy White. Have they helped you grow in the NFL?
A: Yes, without question, I think that it's not only been Michael Turner and Roddy White, but we've had guys on offense as well as our offensive line have played really well. They've been physical and have pass blocked really well all year. Our other wide receivers, Mike Jenkins and Harry Douglas and Brian Finneran have all stepped up at different times and made some plays, so when you play the quarterback position, you rely on the guys around you a lot and I think that's the biggest reason we've had some success this year, because everybody on our offense has been playing well.
Q: How has the top ranked rushing game helped you out, specifically with a guy like Michael Turner?
A: I think any quarterback in this league would love to have the number one rushing attack behind them. It's been a huge help since I've gotten into the league because it makes defenses drop more guys down into the box and gives you some more one on one matchups outside. We have the types of receivers that have beaten one on one coverage this year and in the past. I think that's why we find some success.
Q: Doesn't it also take the pressure off you specifically?
A: Yes. I think anytime you have a good running game, regardless of being a rookie or a veteran, that definitely helps the quarterback.
Q: What do you think of the NFC South so far in terms of the style of play, the division and how it compares to other divisions?
A: With the two games we've played in division against Carolina and Tampa Bay, I know they've been tough, physical games. Both teams on the defensive side of the ball did a great job against us and played physical. They were tough games. I think it's a great division. They're talented teams from top to bottom and it's a lot of fun to play in.
Q: Do you have any sense halfway through of how many wins it's going to take to get a playoff spot in this division and how many teams from this division could make the playoffs?
A: No, at this point, I haven't even thought about that. It's just about trying to get a win this week and take care of business on a week to week basis. That's kind of down the road stuff and I don't think any team is concerned with that at this time?
Q: Is there anything that you see in your mind that distinguishes the NFC South from the other divisions?
A: Not really. I think it's a good division. It's a tough division and I think you can see that by the records of the four teams in it, but in terms of distinguishing factors, you see a lot of the same things throughout the league.
Q: Do you think that Mike Smith is kind of flying under the radar as a head coach considering where he's brought this club?
A: He certainly does a great job with our team. He brings a lot of energy. He's passionate about what he does, he loves the game of football and he treats us like men. I think everybody respects that and enjoys playing for Mike.