The running back discusses Thursday night's 26-18 defeat.

What Falcons players said after loss to Saints 

Here’s what the Falcons said after the 26-18 loss to the Saints on Thursday night: 

DEVONTA FREEMAN running back
On his frustration seeing Matt Ryan take excessive hits: “It's a part of football. It's not as frustrating, it's just something that we have to go back and correct, and you know, it happens, it's football, all guys out there competing and battling trying their best, giving their best effort. So we just have to go back to the drawing board and try to make the next 4 games the best games, but stuff happens.”

On playing after having time off with injury: “It felt good. I'm thankful to be out there, so that's the most important thing; I get to play out there on Thanksgiving, so I had fun, I enjoyed it, and I'm just thankful I got an opportunity to play out there.”

On the offense playing a majority of the fourth quarter: “Sometimes it be like that. You're going to have those games where offense may play better, the defense may play better, special teams play better, but we are not going to be at our best until we play good in all three phases, and win all three phases. We just have to go back to the drawing board and get better.”

On the rivalry between the Falcons and Saints: “It's a big rivalry always going against them. They talk a lot, we talk a lot; just good battles, and you know it's going to be a dog fight. We have to fight for four quarters and keep battling. They beat us fair and square; we'll see them next year.”

VIDEO: Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley speaks about the offense in the loss to the Saints. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter.

CALVIN RIDLEY, wide receiver 
On adjustments being made to the offense: “Just tried to get the ball out a little quicker. Their defensive ends were pretty good, so we just tried to get the ball out as quick as we can so that we can make plays after the catch, or running and block, but try to get the ball out quick.”

On not having Julio Jones affecting the offense: “I don't think it really affected much. We have a game plan whether if he is playing or not playing, so I thought we was in pretty good shape.”

On offense trying to find their groove: “We didn't make the plays, we should've made the plays, but we didn't make the plays; we got behind the chains sometimes so it was a little tough.”

On Matt Ryan being sacked continually: “We have to better protect as an offense, protecting our QB, that's all I can say.”

On Matt Ryan being sacked nine times today: “I don’t even watch it to tell you the truth. I try to stay in my own zone and focus on what I can do, but anytime you give up nine sacks that should be a shock.”

On how he felt the defense performed today: “I like how we were fighting even with short [field] position. We fought all night trying to keep ourselves in the game, limit big plays, but the one play I can say I didn’t like was the one were [Taysom Hill] ran one in on a power-O play. That’s probably the only one, that and my missed tackle. Other than that I feel like the defense played pretty good and stood up to all the challenges that we could. Even though field position was bad we did a good job against an elite quarterback and a pretty good group of guys.”

On questions surrounding Dan Quinn’s job security returning after another loss:
“We always know that. I try to stay out of that, that’s why I try to get out there and play as hard as I can, do as much as I can for my team and do what I can for coach Q. Try to be a leader and a captain, try to be one of the hardest-working players on the team, try to come out with these wins in front of our fans and at home. We spend a lot of time away from our families, a lot of time putting a lot of effort and time into this, so every time we step on that field, we’re trying to do our best.”

On how frustrating a loss like this can be despite feeling they played well: “It’s a team game, that’s just how the game goes. You need to be clicking on all phases; special teams, defense, and offense. One side can’t do it all by themselves and neither can the other, so we just have to keep trying to play complementary football and create turnovers to get our offense in good field position."

GRADY JARRETT, defensive tackle
On allowing two touchdowns through eight quarters vs. the Saints: “Never give up. We got put in tough spots as a defense but we went out there and no matter the circumstance, we fought. I am definitely proud of the effort these guys put up. Somehow we have to duplicate and build off of it and try to get better.”

On the team fighting the entire game: “It was there without a doubt. We definitely wanted to come out here and put a good game together. Every time I step on the field, I want to display my best ball and even some weeks the numbers may not show but I just want my effort to never be questioned. I just want to go out and lead by example. I say stuff when I need to but showing it day in and day out, week in and week out, to my teammates is what matters the most to me. I just try to control what I can control.”

On the importance of a mental and physical break: “You just have to take it how it comes. We are in the midst of the season, we have four games left. We want to finish as strong as we can. It is going to be good to get a couple of days down. I am definitely disappointed we are going to the little break with a loss but at the end of the day, you never throw in the towel. You always keep grinding and keep fighting and we will try to do our best in this last four-game stretch.”

The linebacker discusses Thursday night's 26-18 defeat.

On recovering the onside kicks: “I think because Russ [Gage] went offsides the first time, they were overcompensating over there. I kind of went unnoticed and unblocked the next two onside kicks. The first one, I just caught. The second one the ball was there and I just slapped it and it went out of his hands and Kemal [Ishmael] fell on it.”

On the importance of some down time coming up: “It will be a nice break. My family came up to the game and everything so I am going to spend some time with them tomorrow. This is another reset – kind of like that bye week was a reset. We have to come back ready to play. I don’t know who we play next, but we have to come back ready to play.”

On the team looking in the mirror: “It is us versus us now. We are trying to prove every game now, so we are going to scratch and claw and try to find a way to win.”

On the Taysom Hill run: “It was a miscommunication, that is all I got for that.”

On having a chance to win but falling short: “Like I said, we are always going to scratch and claw. We are all competitors so until that thing is over, it is not over. I like winning. That is what’s fun in the game and I am out here on Thanksgiving so I might as well give it my all. We found ourselves back in that game as it was kind of unfolding and it felt good but we lost so we want to find a way to win.”

On the tee placement for his onside kicks: “That is just what we discussed over the week during practice and we just felt like that was going to give our guys the best chance to get the ball back. So we just went with that.”

On how often he practices onside kicks: “It is not like you get the chance every game, so once it a while we practice it to make sure we get it done and it goes 10 yards to give our guys a chance.”

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