While the Falcons’ offense didn’t perform exceptionally well, the defense unleashed the Jack and Takk show against the Cardinals.
Defensive tackle Jack Crawford and rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley combined on two spectacular plays in the 24-14 loss on Saturday night.
Here’s what Crawford, McKinley and others had to say after the game:
JACK CRAWFORD, defensive tackle
On Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
“I love it out here. This is the best locker room I’ve seen in the league. I think everything about it is amazing. I love the design and it’s an awesome stadium. We came here yesterday so we had the chance to take it all in and I just feel like it doesn’t get any better than this.”
On play of defense:
“I just feel like we were able to give up the ball. We were kind of playing as a unit more. I feel like maybe last week we were a little bit on two different spectrums rushing the quarterback. I feel overall the defensive line did a decent job putting pressure on the quarterback. We just have to continue to improve.”
On chemistry with McKinley:
“As a rookie, he is getting off to a great start. I think he has a long way to go but he’s bringing a lot to this team and this defense from the start. I think that it’s crazy to see a rookie progress at the rate he’s progressing. Playing with him is fun as a defensive tackle. Takk has a really even keel attitude and he doesn’t really show his emotions a whole lot. He’s quiet but he plays with emotion and hits hard. We couldn’t ask for more from a defensive lineman coming in from college.”
TAKKARIST MCKINLEY, defensive end
On Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
“It’s gorgeous. I wasn’t able to see the last stadium, so for me to come into a brand new stadium, you can’t ask for a better situation. It was exciting. It’s kind of weird to see a whole bunch of number 98 jerseys. I mean, you don’t see that too much but to just be out there on the field and put in all of the hard work that I put in this summer is a blessing. I’m speechless, I’m speechless.”
On evaluating his play this preseason:
“I feel like I’m a speed rusher and a power guy. I still have some technique to improve on, just get better every day and go from there. The biggest thing is beating the offensive lineman to that spot and if you can beat them from there it’s all about your flexibility and making a play.”
On showing emotion:
“I’m laid back. I don’t really say too much. The field is a different place. That’s when you let all of your emotions out and just have fun.”
On potential of defensive line:
“I feel like we can be great. We have a lot of young guys and vets. We’re just trying to get better every day. I look up to the guys. Each guy tells me something different to work on. I just try to set the standard to be like them.”
On city of Atlanta:
“It’s a great city. Whenever I step out, somebody’s going to notice me. I’m going to take some pictures and sign some autographs. It’s different but I’m enjoying the process.”
MOHAMED SANU, wide receiver
On how he felt about stepping onto the field at Mercedes-Benz for first time:
“It’s pretty sweet. I guess a lot of people were in awe of how nice it was to play in it, but now its time to play some football.”
On how he felt offense performed:
“We didn’t play well. A lot of little stuff, I guess guys were really anxious. So we have to get that stuff out of our system and just play ball. Play the game the way we know how to play. I feel like we pressed a little bit, we didn’t play well with the details and that’s just on us.”
On turnovers by quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub:
“We just have to take care of the ball, that’s what we do. We pride ourselves on taking care of the ball, that’s one of the major things we preach in the program. The ball is everything, we take care of that and we’re fine.”
DUKE RILEY, linebacker
On Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
“Amazing. It was kind of hard for me because I’d never been inside the Georgia Dome to see how it looked. It was kind of hard to see how much of an improvement it was, but the players said it was a big improvement. It’s just beautiful, It’s just a blessing to be playing here. The first thing I did when we came out yesterday was look up and say ‘Man’ so it was cool.’”
On Falcons defensive performance and commitment to turnovers:
“We did some good, some bad. We have a lot of cleaning up to do, a lot of things that we need to correct. We made an emphasis on getting the ball, especially since we didn’t get it that much last game. I thought we improved on that, but we can still take it to another level.”
On fellow rookie McKinley:
“Man, Takk is unbelievable. He gives unbelievable effort every play, you can see him just coming out of the stack hitting guys. He’s a fun guy to play with.”
ALEX MACK, center
On getting credit for Matt Ryan winning the MVP in 2016:
“I should be happy for my teammate for having a really good season is what I should do.”
On Ryan’s motivation:
“He is a competitor. Every day he shows up and is working hard, pays attention to details, holding people accountable and holding himself accountable. He is absolutely what you want in a leader and what you want in a quarterback.”
MATT BRYANT, kicker
On kicking with the roof open in Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
“I am kind of looking forward to it. At first, I wanted to be in a dome, but for me at this age, if it gets warmer in there, then it helps you loosen up a little bit better. I am all for it opening. When it gets cold though, keep it closed.”
RICARDO ALLEN, free safety
On defense being ready for regular season:
“I think as a starting defense, we are ready and some of the young players got in. I think we are ready for the games, and I do not know how long we are going to play next week. If they throw us out there, then I am always prepared to play as much as I can so I do not get caught off guard. If Coach [Dan Quinn] wants to hold us, he can. If he wants to play us, then I am ready to play. It does not matter to me.”
On whether preseason is more important to defense:
“Yes, to just get out there and hit another color and show the physicality and show that you are willing to get to the ball is big. See the speed and stand out. I think that is one of the big things for preseason.”
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