Press Pass: Bobby Petrino

In this edition of "Press Pass," find out why Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino is trying to keep things business as usual, despite a growing quarterback quandary and the Falcons being in the division hunt even at 3-6. Plus, get his evaluation of rookie CB Chris Houston's progress.

Does the fact that this team has a chance to catch Tampa Bay (in the division standings) change the focus at practice??

I don't think it changes anything because I feel the players have worked extremely had since coming back from the bye week. They are working hard in the classroom and working hard at practice. You do sense a little more energy and they know that if we do win on Sunday then we are right back in the race.

Did you get a good read on Byron Leftwich today at practice??

I thought he looked pretty good and he looked better than I thought he would. He was throwing the ball well and his movement was OK. The thing you worry about is how the ankle will react in the morning. That's the most work he's done on the ankle in a few weeks. We're still going to wait and see.

Is there any question on who will start at quarterback on Sunday??

If we were going today, Joey (Harrington) would start because we don't know how Byron's health is. I don't want to put myself in a corner by saying if Bryon was 100 percent healthy we wouldn't do it because we might.

What was the thinking behind calling up Jason Snelling??

We really like Jason and we've been talking for a month on how we were going to get him on the active roster. This was the time we needed to do it.

On Warrick Dunn approaching 10,000 career rushing yards

He's going to get to 10,000. There is no question. We would love for him to get it this weekend. He's been the guy who has been carrying us. We're running the offense through him and that's a good feeling. Everyone kind of understands that. I'd love to see him get it this weekend.

How special is it for a player to get 10,000 yards? ?

It's amazing. Running back longevity in this league is hard because they are the ones taking all of the hits. The linebackers, safeties and running backs take all of the collisions. To be able to play that long and be that productive is an amazing feat.

Is Dunn telling you he wants to run on Sunday??

He prepares hard and we've gotten to a point where we feel more comfortable with the runs we're executing and how we are putting it together as an offensive line.

Will you err on the side of caution regarding Leftwich??

I don't want to error. We just need to make the right decision. We'll have to see how it reacts and how he does tomorrow. I was happy with the way Joey (Harrington) practiced today and I was concerned about him. He got hit on the last play (against Carolina) and banged up his shoulder a little bit. He threw the ball well today and that was good to see too.

How did Jerious Norwood do today (Wednesday)??

I thought he did well. His quickness was back along with his cutting. The other day I thought he had a chance to go, but he couldn't make the cutback toward his left. The decision was that he couldn't do it.

How is the team dealing with the quarterback situation??

I think the team is comfortable with both of them. Whatever guy is in there first, we're going to go play hard and get going.

Did you notice a difference with the way the players came back after the bye week??

Yeah, I noticed after our three days off. I really felt like some of the veterans took over leadership. We had guys on defense talking to some of the guys on offense after certain periods of practice. There was a focus and intensity when we got back to practice.

Did the players come back from the bye week with more anger??

I think they liked the time off and it probably put a smile on their face. The hard work is paying off and we got two wins in a row. We have to battle and win the fourth quarter.

Do you worry about changing the quarterback after you have had a couple of wins??

Sure. It is something you worry about but, to be honest with you, it's a decision we made a while back. Bryon would be the starter and Joey would be the backup. Right now, it's a health issue.

What is the update with Martrez Milner??

It's a high ankle injury and they are going to perform some surgery on it. I think he will come back, it was just a matter of how much time he would be out so we put him on (injured reserve).

Can you speak to the development of Chris Houston??

Our defense hasn't changed much. When we started the year out, (Lewis Sanders) was in there and we were getting Chris Houston some experience. I think the defensive coaches have done an excellent job of brining him along. He knows people are going to go after him with DeAngelo (Hall) playing on the other side. He's a great competitor; his technique has gotten better and he's very fast. It's going to be a battle every week and hopefully he wins them all like he did the other week.

Is Houston starting to develop a reputation??

Chris is very tough and that's one of the things we saw in college when we watched his videos. He was very competitive and tough. One of the things I liked was when we ran a corner blitz against San Francisco, he came in and got the tackle in the backfield.


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