Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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(on playing on a prolific offense) “It feels great. For a group of guys to go out this year and put up the numbers that we did, it all started with hard work at OTAs and minicamp. (Offensive Coordinator) Adam Gase, (QB) Peyton Manning and (Head) Coach (John) Fox prepared us and put us in a great situation. It feels great to be part of breaking all these records. The only thing that makes it better now is to win. People will say you are part of history but at the end of day, you want to get the ring and be part of history.”

(on Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman) “I do feel like he’s the best in the game. Watching film on him, he’s in the right spot at all times. He knows what’s going on the field, he knows leverage and all this other stuff. I am going to have to figure out something (against him).”

(on his pregame routine) “My main thing is that I always get a phone call from my mother. We talk about the game and we pray. That’s the main thing for me before a game. I listen to music and that’s about it.”

(preparation for the Super Bowl) “It is a very important game. It’s a big game. It’s the last game of the season and, of course, it’s the Super Bowl. But I am taking it in the same way (as every game). At the beginning of the week, Peyton Manning talked to us. He said, ‘Don’t change up anything; do what you have been doing throughout the whole season.’ So I have been studying, hanging out and getting prepared for the Seahawks.”

(on revealing the personal side of his life) “It’s kind of tough right now. I think about them (mother, grandmother) all the time. I wish they were here with me. I get emotional. It is tough. I actually can’t call them (in prison). They have to call me. Whenever they call me, I talk to them. Most of the time, my mom calls me before and after the game.”

(on a physical matchup) “It’s going to be a battle between both teams because we are both physical. They call themselves ‘the legion of boom’ for a reason. They are very physical. Everybody hits and makes tackles. Everybody plays aggressively. Our guys go out and do what they have to do, hit them back, play aggressively and try and get up the field. Basically, it’s who can execute better? Who can beat their man at the line of scrimmage or down the field? Making plays before you get the ball in your hands.”

(on respecting Seattle’s defense) “They show you what they are doing and they don’t change. It’s either man or whatever other coverage they play. It’s a lot of respect, because it isn’t easy to score on them or get open.”

(on Seattle’s overall defense) “They have some great guys on the back end and great guys on their whole defense. Everybody that’s on the field is making tackles and they are aggressive and physical. They are the best that I saw right now.”

(on keys to winning the game) “The main key, whatever the play is, as a group of guys we have to go out there and execute it, from offensive line, to receivers, to quarterback, to center, or whoever it is. The main thing, is doing what we have been doing all season. Go out there and play good football. We can be able to convert on first, second and third down so we are in a great situation and score points.”

(on the possibility of the game being officiated closely) “That’s the right thing. If they go out and hold or we go out and have pass interference, it’s even-even. The referee is going to call it either way. They are aggressive, but I don’t know it will mess up their game. They made it this far and they only lost three games this year. It really didn’t bother them. I think the game will be fine. I don’t think the referees make the decisions about the game, it’s going to be about the players and just going out and making plays.”

(on the quiet leader on the team) “I would have to go with (TE) Jacob Tamme. He sets a great example. Jacob comes from starting last year, to now he is doing special teams and playing on the offense. He’s on time for everything. He makes sure that everybody from offense to defense is alright. He speaks when he is spoken to. If he has something to say everyone listens and he gives great advice.”

(on staying motivated through injuries) “Two years straight that I was injured, and you know that was tough. When I was coming back off my Achilles (injury) I broke my pinkie (finger) and I was out another six weeks. I used to second-guess myself sometimes and see if football was really for me. I used to talk to my uncle, my dad and my mom. When I was a little kid, I can remember, I used to tell myself and my mother that if I ever start something and I love it, I will continue to do it.”

(on advice he received from his former Denver teammate) “I had a great teammate at the time, (former Denver S) Brian Dawkins. We used to talk all the time. He told me, ‘It’s not college anymore, you are going to have to do this and do that to take care of your body and you might have to change your nutrition.’ I did that, and it started working out for me. I started staying healthy. I started listening to what Brian Dawkins was telling me, because he playing in the league long time. I wasn’t an NFL pro like I thought I was. It wasn’t just about being drafted and going out and playing football anymore. You have to take care of yourself.”

(on the moment he was glad he stuck with it) “When I got healthy and got back on the field that was one improvement for me. I was able to play a game. But the Steelers game, in the playoffs, I kind of a made a name for myself. I was capable of going out and having a good game, winning the game with a touchdown. Even the next game, we lost, but I played well. Just coming off that year, I worked harder and made sure I took care of myself. These past two years have been great.”

(on whether Broncos have the best receivers in football) “I think so. You’ve got me, (Wes) Welker, (Eric) Decker, you even have Andre Caldwell coming off the bench. You even have Julius Thomas at tight end and Knowshon (Moreno) coming out of the backfield. He thinks he has the best hands on the team. You have him coming out the backfield and being able to catch. There are so many options for Peyton (Manning). Our group of guys can go out and block and do all this other stuff.”


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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.