What the Falcons Said Following Their Week 1 Loss To the Seahawks

Quotes from Falcons' players and coaches following the week one matchup against the Seahawks.


On whether Seattle made adjustments to their pass protection after the defense sacked Seahawks QB Russell Wilson twice on the opening drive:

"I don't know if there was necessarily an adjustment. There was some, you know, chip that took on, but that's pretty normal for that space. When he can get outside the pocket, I thought we had some other chances to sack him later, but he did escape on a few. So I thought early on, having those two was a good start. But there wasn't too many specific things other than some normal chips that you would expect.

On whether the cornerback was expecting help over the top on the fourth-and-five play where Seahawks QB Russell Wilson connected with WR DK Metcalf for the touchdown:

"No, he was not expecting coverage over the top, so it was a man-to-man or a single-high defense and so just, you know, challenging -- nothing too different about that play."

On what he liked about the offense early on and whether the offensive struggles on third and fourth down were related more to play-calling or execution:

"I'd say probably when you have an 0-for like that, it's a little bit of both. Imagine probably three of them were on the offense and one on the team side of things. We certainly wanted to be bold, and I think knowing that, with the group that we have, we're going to continue to do that. So I would say some were execution ones. Some just, say, hey, you'd like to have a different call in those spaces, but against a good quarterback, you want to be bold. You want to stay aggressive. I think the first part of your question was what I liked early on. Early on, I liked the run game and play pass that went with it. I thought the offensive line all game did a good job in protection, even when the score was down a few scores and they could pin their ears back and go, so I thought that was something I was looking forward to seeing from our group and they responded."

On RB Todd Gurley's debut as an Atlanta Falcon:

"I had a sense that by the training camp that he had, that he'd play well and perform well. I think it really shifted for me in the third quarter, the two scorers weren't able to stay in quite the same space, when you're down a couple, you're just thinking of your possessions, getting a score, getting another one. It would be nice to continue into that space into the fourth quarter, but as the game went in terms of carries and staying in it, that wasn't how we could play at that time."

On whether there was a specific point where he noticed the lack of fans in the stands, particularly on third down:

"Yeah, you appreciate those for sure. I would say in the beginning, not being able to share in that moment with them, and certainly the third downs, usually the biggest advantages that go on. But hopefully we'll get to that space sometime this year, but more than anything, for us being able to execute in those spaces is a big deal."

On the decision to try a fake punt in the second half:

"If we had the right look we were going to go do it, and so when the look came up, we executed it and so we didn't get there due to the fumble. But we were looking for a certain look, and if you don't have it, you can check out of it. There can be a time where you call fake punts but the look isn't right for you and you kick it away. And so in this game, that was one we added, the look we were looking for, so not executing that one and obviously turned the ball over that was a big part."

On whether there was a check on the fake punt where they could have punted the ball:

"We could have if the look had been one that we didn't want, so yes, he did the right call by executing the fake. We didn't execute the play correctly but he had the right call."

On his evaluation of the tackling today and whether not having a preseason affected that as much as he expected:

"Well, that's a good one, I think we really came in ready. So when you don't get what you want, obviously you get discouraged and you're pissed about it. But I thought in the run game, I thought defensively, those were some good run defensive plays and tackles to go. Not having enough chances to affect them, the long third down one that turned out to be a penalty thought in the end of the first half, that was a big play for it, but past that, it wasn't sloppy in that space of a ballgame, I didn't feel on both sides. There wasn't a lot of penalties. Didn't seem like a lot of missed tackles on either side."

On whether he was pleased with RB Todd Gurley's performance in the first half and whether the score played a role in the limited number of carries in the second half:

"That's correct."

On an injury update for CB Darqueze Dennard:

"He was able to come back and play."

On his postgame speech:

"I just mainly said, hey, when you don't get what you want, you put the work in, it gets frustrating. And I know we'll make a big jump from Week 1 into Week 2 and so we are playing at our best heading into the next game. And so that's really all I wanted them to focus on was just being at their best -- teams I've been a part of that were good, just keep getting better and keep getting better and I certainly see that to be the case today as we move into next week. Yeah, we're pissed and upset, and it's because we thought we'd thrown a great camp to be ready to play, and when it doesn't go your way, obviously you're upset.

On whether they had to shift anything offensively to adjust for Seahawks S Jamal Adams:

"No, not from the one blitz, obviously, that was one where he came off the edge to get the sack on to Matt. That was a good play by them with zero blitz where they are able to go, but not past that, I thought there was some really physical plays by both sides, by our receivers, so I couldn't have been more impressed, certainly at the end with Julio and Cal, and I think everyone is seeing the improvement that Calvin has been making. I think that showed up some today, as well."

On whether he was encouraged by the defensive line getting consistent pressure on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson:

"Yeah, because he's a hard guy to get to, and tad having the first one off on the keeper and Grady having him -- another one to knock him out of some potential field goal ranges. I know those guys have been working hard on that space and I would hope to see continued improvement in that. We have work to do but at the end of it. Like I said we're disappointed that we didn't play the game we wanted to play today and we'll give Seattle credit in that space. I would anticipate us coming back and playing like hell again next week."


On the opening kickoff plan:

"We had initial discussions as a team about what we wanted to do in terms of making our voices heard heading in to the first game. Russ [Russell Wilson] reached out to me I guess about a week and a half before the game and we got in touch the weekend before the game just to get a temperature for what each team was feeling and to kind of let everybody's voices be heard. I guess both teams came to the collaboration of taking a knee after the first kickoff. I felt good about that. We were excited to try and voice our want for change and to make a difference. It was a good collaboration and I appreciate the candor and discussions that we had back and forth with the Seahawks. I think their team is doing a great job in their community as well. I think we are trying to do a great job with our team."

On getting the ball to Todd Gurley:

"I thought Todd [Gurley] did a great job. We had some really positive runs in the first half and our offensive line did a nice job. We just got stalled out a little bit. We went for it three times on fourth down. That changes the scope of the ball game and we've got to find a way to convert in those situations."

On the Seahawks' defense and Jamal Adams in the first half:

"I thought in the first and second half, we did a nice job of creating some explosives to Julio [Jones] and Calvin [Ridley]. He's [Jamal Adams] a great player. There's no doubt about it. They were using him in different ways and some different packages than they've done in the past. I thought we adjusted to it at half time and did a nice job in the second half, but it just was not enough. We've got to be better in those critical downs to keep drives going and come away with points."

On focusing on the small details heading into Dallas:

"I think the biggest jump typically happens in football from Week 1 to Week 2. I think that the only way that happens though is the serious attention to detail that it takes and the hard work that it is going to take for us getting back and focused tomorrow. If we can clean up some of those things from the first time out there and be a little bit better, I think there are positives to take away from today. It's a long season. There's no question about that. I've been playing for a long time and know that the teams that I've been on that have been good are the ones that improve as the year goes on and it's going to be important for us to improve from Week 1 to Week 2."

On whether there has been improvement on offense from a year ago:

"We're a different offense than we were a year ago. I think every year to me is different. We are not as good as we are going to be, right now. It's going to be our challenge to see what we can become as we move forward. I thought we did some good things and we did some poor things. We've got to do more of the good things as we move forward, and I think we're capable of that."


On how odd it was to score and not see or hear any fans:

"You know, kind of treat it like practice. I don't really hear any fans there so you know it's just one of those unfortunate situations that everyone has to play in and you have to get used to. But it just felt good to be able to get a touchdown even though we didn't win, but definitely a good start for me. Just got to keep getting better."

On establishing a run presence in the first half:

"I mean, just took what the defense gave us. You know, those guys up front made it. They did a great job. They held their own. And like you said we took what the defense gave us, got a couple of great runs at the beginning of the game and you know I felt like it was something for us to feed off of."

On how he felt physically and what kind of pitch count he was on:

"I felt good. You know I feel good. I don't know how many times I carried the ball in the first half, but like I said it was just taking whatever the defense gave us. You know we had a pretty good rotation you know. B [Brian] Hill and Ito [Smith] came in and helped me out a lot. But you know I felt pretty good."

On how the two teams came to the plan for opening kickoff and how effective it was:

"It's a start. One of those things like are we going to keep doing this or are we just doing this because of Week 1? So, I know the social justice committee talked to that team and I guess DQ [Dan Quinn] and Pete [Carroll] agreed upon something. But, it's definitely a start. We can keep building off of stuff. Still bringing change and awareness to every situation that's going on right now in America."

On the level of frustration to look up after three quarters and have only 12 points:

"Yeah you know, just to kind of put points on the board. Really not much to say. Like you said with the talent we have and the receivers and tight ends. With Keith [Smith] at fullback. Me, To [Ito Smith], B [Brian] Hill at running back. Touchdowns, touchdowns is what we need. We need to be able to score about 80% touchdowns. 100% in the red zone and take care of the ball and we can definitely start getting some wins."

On the offensive line's performance:

"They were doing good. You know, they were moving Seattle's defense and getting up to the linebackers. I was able to just press and cut and just do what I do. So credit to those guys. They did a great job of protecting Matt [Ryan] today. You know, o-line never gets talked about. That's just how it is from football but they did their thing. They held their own. We took what the defense gave us and tried to apply pressure off of that."


On his thoughts on today's game:

"We just got to do better at the end of the day. I feel like we played hard. Football comes down to inches and situations. We did not capitalize on certain situations. That determined the outcome of the game."

On the offense scoring 12 points through the first three quarters:

"We cannot just say, '12 points in the first three quarters.' They are a good ball club. They have some good defensive players over there. I just have to look at the film to see where we made our mistakes and where we can capitalize going forward."

On whether any of the offensive issues were similar to the challenges the offense faced last season:

"It is just the first game. We just have to keep building. One game does not define us. We have to keep building and keep trusting one another."

On the message from the demonstration during the opening kickoff:

"At the end of the day the message is everybody making decisions collectively. It is not just one person making a decision, like if you are over there, 'I want to support you, but I do not know what I am supporting.' Once we all come together collectively, we can make something happen. It is way more positive if we do it collectively rather than one person here or one person there. The guys on our team and their team communicated. Everybody voted. We said we were going to come together as a unit. At the end of the day, collectively, we can move mountains. One person at a time, I cannot really support you because I do not what you are doing and why you are doing it."

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