Reeves remarks

Here are some of Falcons coach Dan Reeves' remarks to the media Monday regarding his team's 27-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night at Lambeau Field:<p>

Reeves opening remarks to the Atlanta media: First, I'd like to talk a little bit about the game. As I said, it was a great win for our football team to go up and play as well as we did is what we had to do. We played well in all three phases. Certainly the big difference was the turnovers. If you end up at plus five in turnovers, you're going to win most every game in that situation. I thought our defense did a great job of getting the turnovers and keeping them from getting in the end zone. Like 48 or 49 times, I saw where when (Brett) Favre was inside the five yard line had scored every time with one field goal and 48 touchdowns or something. That was the first time that they hadn't scored. So, that's an amazing deal. I know Ellis Johnson made a tremendous play on fourth down to keep them out of the end zone, and it certainly was a big play in the game. I thought the blocked punt was huge. Mark Simoneau did a great job of going in and blocking it, and Artie Ulmer of falling on it. We had just gotten great field position and weren't able to do anything with it, and to come out and go up 14 to nothing was really big. So, there were just a lot of big plays in the game. Our guys did a good job. I think the fact that we played them last year and beat them and then going into over time this year, we had confidence that we could go up and compete with them, and it was going to take a great effort. I thought we got a great effort.

I thought Mike (Vick) did an exceptional job for a guy in his playoff game. He was extremely poised. He never got rattled during the game. He did a great job on the opening drive. He made a great throw to Shawn (Jefferson). Actually, that was not the side we were working. He went back to the other side when they took away that side and made a great throw to Shawn Jefferson. He just did a lot of things that you don't see from a young quarterback like that, and then continued to make great athletic plays. I thought Warrick Dunn ran the ball extremely well. He made a lot of yardage on his own. His quickness and everything showed in the ballgame. It helped us to have T.J. (Duckett) again. It took some of the pressure off of Warrick where he didn't have to carry every time. It kept him fresh. Also, T.J. did some really good things. The line did a good job blocking, opening up some holes there. So, that was good. As I said, our special teams did a good job.

MVP's on offense were Warrick and Mike. On defense, I thought we got a great performance from our safeties, Keion Carpenter had two interceptions and Gerald McBurrows did a great job tackling. They had really hurt us in the running game and Gerald was a big factor in stopping their running game. Those two guys, along with Ellis Johnson are our MVP's on defense. Mark Simoneau had two tackles as well as a blocked punt. He continues to play extremely well on special teams, and Kevin McCadam did an outstanding job on special teams. Those two guys are our special teams players.

Q: What do you say to your team? You're up 24 to nothing at half time. You're going into the locker room. What kind of adjustments can you make or do you make, and what do you say to your football team?

A: Well, basically we said, we didn't finish it the last time. We were up there with a lead in the first game of the season, and we didn't finish the thing. All of a sudden they scored 10 points to get back in it, and we ended up losing the ballgame, so when we were up 24 to nothing at half time, it was very easy to tell our football team, "Hey this is nothing to nothing. We've got to go out and play 30 minutes as hard as we possibly can. They get the ball first. They've got a chance to close the lead. So, let's go out and play hard." I think our team did. Really and truly when you look at it, he made some unbelievable throws. The first play of the second half, that ball hits the running back dead in the hands, right down the side line. He did a great job of making some tremendous throws that would've given them a chance to get back in it, but our defense just did a great job once we got close to the goal line. Then, there was a situation too where your up my so much, that it also makes it from a coaches standpoint very difficult. Do you kick a field goal, do you go for it. When, your down that much, all the fans want you to go for a touchdown. You try to kick a field goal your ignorant; that's a terrible decision. So, it made it tough for them, the fact that we had the big lead. We just had to try to keep going like it was nothing to nothing.

Q: Were you surprised at the fourth down call by the Packers. Were you surprised defensively at what they were trying to do, run the ball?

A: Oh, you mean when they made the running play? Really and truly we had them in fourth down situation there in the regular season, and they had ran a running play. How are you going to argue with a team. That's an amazing stat. Out of 49 times you've been first and goal with the goal inside the five, and you've scored touchdowns. For somebody like that, percentages are pretty good.

Q: How much of an advantage over the course of the season would you say your special teams has given you? It seems like you look back and there have been a lot of big plays?

A: Our special teams has really been extremely good. Injuries that we've had probably affects you special teams more than your offense and defense, because your special teams is set at the start of the year, and then all of a sudden when those guys start playing more, they have to play less special teams, and your special teams are really affected by the new people that you bring on your squad. We had an awful lot of people that are playing special teams that weren't even on our football earlier in the year, and I think this has happened the last couple of years. Guys have really responded and done a good job. I think they take great pride in it. I think they are coached very well, and we also emphasize it. It's important. We spend the time. We don't just talk about it. We spend time in trying to be good in that area. I think players not only prepare, but they also realize the importance of it, that it is a big part of the game. We've got good people there too.


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