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Quotes from Saints opponent Atlanta Falcons: Week 3 9/23/18


Opening Statement:
"I told the team, and I'll tell you as well, I thought both offenses lit it up. They certainly got hot. We certainly have work to do in our winning moments, but we had our chances, certainly at the end of the game and in all three phases, for some of those. That part, we didn't nail. This one stinks for sure, a division game. The environment was exactly what we want it to be. We definitely expected a good fight. It went all the way down through it in overtime as we expected, but to come away with a loss today definitely stinks."

On Ricardo Allen's injury:
"We didn't feel the report right now. We don't know enough yet. We knew that. That's what I was told then. We'll go and see him now. I don't want to speculate too much, but it was serious enough that he was down for the game."

On getting more help for the defense:
"Yes, Thomas (Dimitroff) and I discussed that, and we'll continue to discuss that afterward. We have some other guys with some versatility that we'll try to plug around. We'll see what the length of the injuries are. That would certainly make a difference if we went outside to look for somebody else. If it's shorter term, then likely we'd stay inside."

On the offense improving:
"I was very encouraged by what we saw today, especially from Calvin [Ridley]. Part of where you attack and how to attack goes in through the week as you're going. I think you're seeing a guy that's really gaining confidence within the system as we're going and growing. Of course, having guys like Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones there to help mentor and guide him through there, that part's there. That's what we'd envisioned, to have guys difficult to defend. If you want to lean over to Jones or go over to Sanu on third down, we certainly thought Calvin would be that option as well, much like we do from Tevin [Coleman] and Devonta Freeman. We're encouraged by the work that he's putting in. I thought today the big plays jumped out at us."

On the tackling confusion with Drew Brees' play:
"Tackling. And I thought coming into the half that was one of the things that we talked about that we've got to improve for us. Certainly, had some errors and technique things that I know are correctable, but it doesn't take the sting away from owning it. Some of the men have been in the system long enough to totally nail it, and we missed that mark on some plays today."

On the pressure on Matt Ryan during the last series:
"That's a good question. I don't know the answer right now. I'll have to go back and look. On the blitz pickup, was it in the right spot? Oftentimes when the blitz comes, and you pick it up well, you create some opportunities for yourself. It didn't feel like that was the case on that one, so I'd like to go back and look. Maybe I can refer back to that tomorrow. They definitely had a couple pressures up at the end. On that particular one, on the third down, that definitely affected us."

On having to win with the offense when defensive players are out:
"I certainly hope not, and that's not from the offensive side. Just whatever hair I once had would be officially gone. I have a lot of faith and confidence in what we do and the scheme and the system, so tonight when there's a moment like tonight where we don't nail those, we've clearly shown we have work to do. There will be some guys coming back for sure. We know that. How we feature those guys when they do come back and how quickly they do, that's for sure a factor. Hopefully, we can get some of the injured guys back for next week."

On whether he was convinced that Alvin Kamara made the first down in overtime:
"I was not. Thank you, everyone. See you tomorrow."


On what went wrong during the final drive of regulation:
"Yeah, that was disappointing. Obviously, we've got an opportunity to win the game in that situation. So, we just didn't execute across the board well enough. You know, really in that situation, and before the half as well, where we could have either used more clock or got into a drive right at the end of the half. We kind of ended up having to punt and giving up three points. That part was disappointing. I thought offensively we did a lot of really good things. We had situational things come up that we didn't do a good enough job at, and that's what we've got to prepare and get better at before next week."

On what happened with the run game today:
"Sometimes you've got to credit the other guys too. I thought their front seven did a nice job today. In our run game, we never really got into a rhythm in the run game, but at the same time, we also felt like we had advantage in the passing game, and we had a lot of really good matchups for us. We created a lot of explosives in the passing game today, and when you do that and you continue to have success with it, you're going to continue to take those chances."

On Calvin Ridley's play today:
"Calvin played really well. He stepped up when he had the opportunity to. It was clear from the start; the game plan was going to be two guys to account for Julio [Jones] and a safety coming down from the opposite side to account for, where Mohamed [Sanu] was at, and that means Calvin's singled up in one-on-one coverage. I thought [Steve] Sarkisian did a great job of taking advantage of that, calling plays to get him shots down the field. But at the end of the day, Calvin's got to go out and make those plays, and he's done that for us all season. But today was special. I was proud of him. He did a great job for us."

On what happened during the last three plays of the night – did the Saints change their pass-rush:
"The only pressure, the only blitz was on the third down."

On the one where he got hit:
"Yeah, that was it, and then the others were not."

On with all the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, whether he expects higher scoring games where they are trying to outscore the other team:
"You never know. You never know how games are going to shake out, but your mentality offensively or as a quarterback has to be whatever we have to do. If it's going to be like today, we've got to go out there and make the plays and score the points when we need to. And we had chances offensively to finish the ball game today, and we didn't do that. So that part's disappointing. I will say this. It's tough to see guys go down on the defensive side of the ball. Those guys put so much work into it. And I think, as I've gotten older, it's probably more difficult when you see guys go down because you just – you realize how disappointing it is for them. I thought our young guys came in and stepped up and did a good job for us. They'll be better for the experience moving forward."

On whether the end of the first half was a clock management situation, or they needed to be more aggressive in terms of plays:
"I think it was, on that third down play, if I could have just gotten a little further into the pocket, we had what we wanted on the right side. We had Julio (Jones) kind of running a return route. I'm disappointed in myself for not getting further down into the pocket. I think we could have gotten that first down and had room to run on the back of it."

On as he gets older, whether he appreciated doing things he has not done in his career such as the five touchdown passes:
"It's about wins and losses. I guess, as you get older, you realize that too. It's not about you. It's about us and what we do as a team. Obviously, it's nice to throw touchdown passes and do all those things, but it's all about winning games, winning football games. So we're disappointed that we didn't get it done today."

On whether he takes comfort in the fact that they have produced well offensively today and last week:
"I think we can play with a lot of confidence. The production has been there. We've done a lot of really good things on that side of the ball. We can be a lot better too. So the optimism is there and the eagerness to get back to work to try and improve some of the things that we didn't do as well as we would like to. It makes it exciting to get back to work this week and see what we can become."

On how he feels about the overtime rule in the NFL, not winning the coin toss and getting a chance on the field:
"I'm not going to comment on that."

On whether that is a helpless feeling:
"I think as a player, in any situation, at least for me, I'd rather be out there. I'd rather be the one with the ball in my hand and making the plays. That's probably the hardest part about football. All the other sports I played growing up, you were a part of it offensively or defensively, and football is the one unique thing where it's all three phases. So, it's tough when you're on the sideline because you want to be out there, but it's part of it."

On what he said to Drew Brees after the game and what he said to him:
"Just great game. I thought he played really well, and that was the extent of it."

On whether he was happy with the rhythm they are getting into and getting Calvin Ridley involved:
"Yeah, I thought Calvin did a great job for us today, played extremely well, took advantage of the one-on-one opportunities when he got them and made them pay for keeping him isolated. I thought we did some good things offensively today, but I also think we had a chance to put the ball game away and didn't do that. So, there's a lot of room for improvement for us."


On having to replace players due to injury:
"We just do what we do. Every game is going to be different. This game was a shootout. Every game is not going to be the same. The defense will get it together, they're down 5 starters, but they have to keep working. The defense played well for us today, it was a lot of injuries."

On scoring 30+ points and whether they have to score more to win:
"It shouldn't be nothing, we just go out there and try to execute every play. We want to score points, they were just the better team today."

On feeling helpless on the sideline during overtime:
"I never feel helpless on the sideline. The thing is, I trust in our defense to step up and make plays. They did a good job for us today. We're down a couple of guys, but next man up, we just got to keep working to get better on defense, that's it."

On Calvin Ridley's success:
"I knew it all along, he's a great player. You just have to let him play, and make plays, and he made some great plays for us today."

On Ricardo Allen's influence:
"He means a lot, especially to the defense. He's the captain over there; he calls everything, making sure everybody is lined up and things like that. But I don't know what is wrong with him yet, but like I said, next man up."


On what was said in the locker room after a tough last-second loss:
"It's not much to say. It is what it is. We didn't hold up our end and that's what it came down to."

On where the defense goes from here after suffering another injury to a key player:
"We just have to keep pushing. I've seen the highs and the lows being here for six years, so all I know is to get back to work and keep fighting."

On the last drive:
"I mean we were solid, we just couldn't get that third down or fourth down stop. You got to tip your hat off to them. They played great. We didn't, so it's that simple."

On whether the NFL overtime rules are fair:
"We had an opportunity to get off the field and we didn't do that. So regardless of what the rules are you got to get off the field, it's that simple."


On how the losing Ricardo Allen:
"It's next man up, that's how we approach things here. Unfortunately, injuries happen, so here we have that next man up mentality."

On what he said to Ricardo Allen after the injury:
"Just went to check on him and tell him that I'm with him. I don't know the diagnosis yet, so I can't speak on it."

On how they can prepare for next week with so many players out:
"At the end of the day, it's that next man up mentality. Its football, you're going to get hurt, you're going to have nicks and bruises. So, all we can do is go back, watch film from today and see what we can correct."

On if he feels the need to step up his game with all the injuries on that side of the ball:
"I try to step my game up each and every week no matter who's on the field. That's just me, I'm my biggest critic. I always go back the night of the game and just watch my technique and watch the things I can do."


On the game going into overtime:
"Our thoughts are to make stops and get the offense back on the field. It's frustrating as they are driving and you know you have to make the stop. That's the first time I did that, NFL overtime style. That's really frustrating, to be honest. We have to do our job and we didn't do it."

On the blocked punt:
"That side was a little wider. [Alex] Okafor had a good angle to the ball. I have to do a better job and kick him out."


On the Saints putting up 43 points:
"It's tough. I felt like we could have done a better job defensively. It's heartbreaking but we are going to go back to the practice field and critique ourselves."

On the defense bouncing back from injuries:
"It's been a tough hit for us. It's going to be tough to bounce back from a loss with Ricardo [Allen], another starter. Hopefully, we will have another man that can step up. It's definitely a discomfort to the team. When I saw him get carted off the field, I realized that was another blow. He's such a knowledgeable player who has helped us over the past three games and throughout my career. I hope the best for him."


On today's game:
"It was a good game. We scored a lot of points. We knew it was going to be a high scoring game coming in. We just have to do better next time."

On sideline conversations with Julio Jones:
"I don't remember, he was probably saying 'Good job' and 'Lets keep going' and that we have to score more points." 

On offense feeling pressure to score the amount of points in today's game:
"No pressure. Our standard is to score as many points as possible. One more point better than the other team."

On the matchups throughout the game:
"I just came in ready for anybody, I was prepared. I was ready to play and help my team."

On breaking the rookie record for touchdowns:
"I rather had the win, but it means a lot. It feels pretty good."

On Matt Ryan's performance:
"Amazing, he did great. He was out there playing ball, he was trying to win, but we fell short. But he did great though." 

On how the offense has improved in the red zone:
"We just have been practicing very well. We go out there and put the work in, and we get off the field. That is what we have been doing every day. Unfortunately, we fell short."


On bouncing back from today's game:
"We have a good veteran group of guys on this team that are going to take charge and make sure that this team moves on from this. It's one game, but we have plenty more. What hurts about this is that it's a division game, but we have to come back; we're home next week, so we have to play well and get back on a winning track."

On factors affecting the running game:
"It's hard to say right now. It didn't feel like we were in a very good rhythm. I think it was one guy here and one guy there that didn't reach his guy, or just didn't make his block. When you want the run game to go, it takes everybody. It's not just offensive line, tight ends, receivers, its everybody."

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