Falcons quotes after 37-34 victory over the Saints

FALCONS WIDE RECEIVER RODDY WHITE

On how this game helps the Falcons

“We’ve got to get on a roll next week. We’ve got to go out there and be ready. I know the Cincinnati Bengals will be ready. We’ve got to go out there and not just say, Oh, we beat the Saints’ and just settle. We have to go out there and win because at the end of the year, you want home-field advantage.”

On the Falcons’ running game

“Our backs looked really good. They looked explosive. They did a heck of a job. They ran hard. Steven got us going early, the ‘rook (Devonta Freeman) came in there and ran the ball hard. They looked good. I hope we can keep it going.”

FALCONS GUARD JUSTIN BLALOCK

On Gabe Carimi replacing Jake Matthews at left tackle

“It was huge. Going in, we were planning on playing him, anyway, but not so extensively. But sometimes things work out that way. He was prepared.”

On the running game

“We were efficient more often than not. We have some things we need to work on, but for the most part we were efficient and put ourselves in good positions with the running game.”

On the Saints and Falcons always playing close games

“It sure seems that way. You don’t see a lot blowouts anywhere anymore. Especially in this series, it’s traditionally been very tight. Two good teams match up well, know each other.”

On if there is the hatred between Saints and Falcons players like there is with fans

“I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble. But I know guys over there, I have friends over there. You get excited—it’s the first game of the year, division rival. You get excited about that. But it’s business as usual.”

FALCONS TACKLE LAMAR HOLMES

On if the previous shuffling of the offensive line helped the unit stay together when Jake Matthews was injured

“That’s why the coaches do what they do and shuffle us throughout the week in practice. You play different spots just in case something happens so you can be ready to step in and play as well as someone else.”

On how he things the line played as a group

“We had some things that we can clean up, some things we can be a little bit stronger at. But as of right now we got the win and we go back to the film room to see what we need to clean up, what we need to do better.”

On how much the Falcons needed this first win after last season

“Every win in the NFL is important, especially because this is a division game. We needed it. We put our preparation in during training camp, during OTAs all offseason, in the weight room. The coaches were behind us pushing us to do what we had to do. It was a big win for us.”

FALCONS SAFETY WILLIAM MOORE

On how the Falcons covered Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

“A lot of double coverage because he’s an explosive tight end. He can make plays. You are not going to stop Jimmy, you basically try to limit him to minimum catches. Dwight Lowery did an awesome job on him. We put him on him and he manned up.”

On the Saints scoring a lot of points

“It’s the New Orleans Saints. That’s what they do. They are great over there. It’s just trying to minimize them on those explosive plays. The offense, they held us in the game tonight. Hat’s off to the offense.”

What can this win do for the team

“Set the tone. This game, it’s the New Orleans Saints, there is no bigger game, and it’s the first game. It can set the tone for the rest of the season.”

FALCONS RUNNING BACK ANTONE SMITH

On his touchdown catch

“I had linebacker sitting on top of me. Matt was scrambling and got the ball to me. I saw Julio Jones make a great block on the outside.”

On the Falcons using all four running backs today

“Since coming to camp, we knew we had some great backs. We compete every day. That’s the biggest thing. Everything else will take care of itself.”

On how satisfying his big game is considering his career journey

“Whether it’s special teams or running back, I’m excited about being out there. That’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life is play professional football. That, just by itself, is enough for me. But having a chance to play some running back, that’s big, too.”

FALCONS CENTER JOE HAWLEY

On if all of the shuffling of the line since last year helped keep things together when Jake Matthews was injured

“We have seven, eight guys who have played, can play in the league. Gabe (Carimi) has played a long time. He’s started a lot of games. So I don’t think we missed a beat. He was prepared. Those (reserve) guys prepare like they are playing every week. He did a great job when his number was called.

On how he thinks the offensive line played as a unit

“For first game, first time playing together in a live situation, I thought we played really well. Obviously the offense, we had some penalties early on, we were able to overcome them. We know as an offense if we are able to protect Matt (Ryan), he’s going to get the ball down field to his playmakers. I thought we did a good job of that today.”

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