Falcons Conference Call Highlights

Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino and linbacker Keith Brooking talked to the media about the Falcons' injury problems, the challenge presented by the Colts' offense, playing on Thanksgiving, and more!

HEAD COACH BOBBY PETRINO

On his thoughts of Joseph Addai...

"I think he's a very good player. I think he does a great job of running for them. We've got to do a good job of tackling because he breaks a lot tackles. They always get him into good runs. Peyton does a great job of getting him into runs where the numbers are right for them to block. He's got the power to make yards when there's not a lot there and the speed to get a lot of yards; so it's a good challenge for our defense."

On how exceptional he (Addai) is when running the ball...

"Yes, I think it's his change of direction and his foot quickness in the hole is what really impresses you."

On his impressions of Reggie Wayne...

"Just the fact that they're moving him around now; making you adjust to where he's lining up. There has certainly been an emphasis of getting him the football. He's always been a great receiver. He's just getting a lot more opportunities now."

On the so called mini-slump of Peyton Manning due to injuries on offense...

"No, not really. When you watch the video it's like, ‘Wow, look at the throws this guy's making. Look at the throws he's making under pressure. Look at the throw when he's getting hit.' He's very impressive on video."

On DE-Simeon Rice's performance...

"It's hard to say. He didn't really get a lot of opportunities. Kansas City played a style that was tough. They threw the ball quick, tried to stay in 3rd-and-mediums, and (we) didn't get a lot of chances to rush. So I think so far, so good."

On his impressions of the Colts defense...

"The speed, that's the first thing that stands out is how fast they are, and at every position. Coming off a game where we played Tampa, one of the very similar defenses, but the speed of the down-linemen, the speed of the inside down-lineman, and you can't help but notice Sanders (Bob) out there, #21 running around making all kinds of tackles and being physical."

On the playing status of the defensive tackles this week...

"Trey Lewis will be out unfortunately and Rod Coleman, we're going to be thin in there. Montavious Stanley will start for us and Babineaux (Jonathan) will start at the tackle position. We're going to be thin, but we did pick up Tim Anderson a couple of weeks ago, so he understands what we're doing now; a big man with a lot of strength that's got to be able to step in and play."

On their record and what has not gone right this year...

"We've been in a lot of close games, particularly early, and weren't able to find a way to win them in the fourth quarter. We came back and beat San Francisco in the fourth quarter and Carolina in the fourth quarter. Everyone is getting to know the system. We're playing faster because it's not so new. We're just working on getting better each week."

On the challenges of working with your second and third quarterbacks...

"That's what we've had all year long. We had Joey (Harrington) and we brought Byron (Leftwich). We haven't been able to look back, we've just been going since game one. This is a very short week. We'll get a good practice in today and a little bit of walk-thru tomorrow and that's about it. There's not a lot different you can do, we've just got to execute better."

On both of his quarterbacks...

"Byron had a rough outing last week. He came in and things didn't go well for him. The quarterback always takes the brunt of the criticism. We didn't play as well around him as we needed to. Joey's done a nice job the last couple of weeks of taking care of the football, distributing it where we needed to and he came in the fourth quarter the other day and was able to move us down the field a little bit."

On their running backs...

"Warrick (Dunn) has been hot lately. He played a couple of real good games in San Francisco and Carolina. It took him a while to get going. He didn't have any off-season, didn't have any pre-season because of injuries, but he's starting to get going and see things better. Jerious (Norwood) is a guy with a lot of speed, can make big plays for us. He got banged up and missed a game and is really looking for an opportunity to get more carries."


Warrick Dunn
Doug Benc/Getty Images

On the difficulty of preparing for a short week...

"It's hard, there is no question about it. You don't do a lot new. I think the biggest thing is try to get to the game mentally fresh and physically fresh. We're cutting out a lot of reps and really working on stretching and physically getting back in a short period of time. I think that's the thing you worry about the most, is that you're physically up to the same speed you're normally playing at."

On football being played on Thanksgiving...

"I liked it a lot when I was growing up. You get to use to go to Grandma's house and sit around and watch it. It's a little different now though, it's just a short week. I think that's the biggest thing that concerns you, getting done Sunday afternoon and we're here getting ready for our first practice and playing in two days."

On his assessment of his NFL run this far...

"Well, we've been battling. We've had some ups and downs, a tough start at the beginning with all the controversy. We came back after the bye and we're 2-1 after the bye. Like to have won the one last week, but that didn't happen."

On the veteran role of LB-Keith Brooking...

"He's done a real nice job of moving from the Will-Linebacker to the Mike-Linebacker. It took him a couple of games to get use to it, but every game I thinks he's playing better. He's done a real nice job of providing leadership to everybody. He's still playing well, he's making a lot of tackles and doing a good job against the pass."

On what stood out about Brooking during his initial assessment of the team...

"He was an easy one just because he's a guy that practices hard every day. He's a very good student of the game, and gives you everything that he's got."

LB-KEITH BROOKING

On how you prepare for a game in such short time...

"There are some guys on the team that haven't been in this situation before, but there are a lot of guys that have (Atlanta played at Dallas on Thanksgiving in 2005). I think we have condensed our practices. Today was really our big work day. We normally on Wednesday have our openers, first down and second down, and Thursday's our passing day and then Friday we do short-yardage, red zone, things like that. But we kind of threw everything in there today and (we will) just try to work on as much as we can and review it tomorrow, which is going to be a real light practice. You're dealt with situations, you just have to face them and get the best out of it that you can possibly get out of it, and that's what we've done."

On being home helping out in the short week...

"It does, there's no doubt about it. Another thing is, Indy, they're in the same position that we're in. They played Sunday as well. They're obviously coming off a win, we're coming off a loss, so I think the advantage, I try to gain a perspective on everything, is it's a short week so we don't have to have that taste in our mouth too long and we can just get geared up and get ready and try to hopefully get this taste out of our mouth. The game this past Sunday obviously wasn't pretty and we're just looking forward to something else. Hopefully, (we can) end this week on a positive note and then have 10 days to prepare for our next opponent. That's kind of the way we're looking at it."

On the Colts offense and RB-Joseph Addai...

"Obviously with the success that Peyton Manning has had and that offense, looking at it from the outside you would think it's very complicated and they do a lot of things. Well, that is the total opposite. They are very simple. They just do a great job of running the plays that work for them, and they stick with it. Their whole deal is they kind of get you on your heels because they do a great job with their play action. Their running game is very simple. They have four or five running plays, but the way they work it is off their play action because they sell it really well. And their play action, you're getting the linebackers, your second-level guys in coverage, to bite on that play action and not get out there to help your corners and safeties in coverage. Then, kind of opposite of that, is they gash you a few times in the passing game because you're biting on that play action, because you're thinking it's run and you start second-guessing yourself and a little hesitant in the run game, and they gash you that way. They do a great job in their zone blocking, their offensive line, of getting up to the second level. (Joseph) Addai, I'm very impressed with him. I obviously haven't played against him, I haven't studied him a whole lot, but I think he's great in that system. He can get the tough yards inside, he bounces, he has the speed to get outside. And when (Manning) is not getting the look from the defense that he wants down the field, it's amazing sometimes on film watching him, it doesn't look like he's looking at the guy, and he's doing as far as a check-down or flare out in the flat, he's putting it right there to Addai. And he's a very good receiver. Like I said, Manning goes to him a lot when the defense isn't giving him what he thinks he should get down the field, and Addai makes the yards in the passing game. As a total player, I can't find many holes in (Addai's) game. I'm very impressed with him."

On moving from WLB to MLB...

"It's different, there's no doubt about it. The system that we're playing, I love the system that we're in. I think guys are getting more and more comfortable in it. And obviously this past week, you throw a 31 spot up on us, it doesn't look very good, but if you've followed us the whole year, we've been put in some tough positions. We've fought our tails off, we're getting better every week, and I'm learning the system more and more every week and so are the other guys. I'm just doing what I'm asked to do on a daily basis and on Sundays. I feel comfortable with the move and I like the direction that our defense is going. We have a lot of improvement that can take place, but we're working hard every day."

On if he feels a responsibility to be a face for the Falcons organization...

"Not really, to be honest with you. The way I'm made up is, I come to work every day and I try to be a leader in my actions first of all, and just be a professional in every sense of the word—my preparation and also being a voice to these young guys who don't know what the NFL is about. It's a bottom-line business and if you don't produce, you won't be here for long. That's the bottom line. I try to show them that more than anything. As far as being the face of this franchise and trying to pull us back in the right direction, it's going to take a lot more than me. It's going to take a sum of a lot of parts. I just try to do my part, and that's the way I'm made up."


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