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Falcons Locker Room Report: September 25, 2014

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What's on the Falcons' minds as they prepare for Minnesota?

Kevin C. Cox

Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Devin Hester all spoke to the media Thursday. What's on the receivers' minds as they get ready to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday?

On Julio Jones' spectacular 40-yard touchdown catch:

Julio gave a lot of credit to his teammates.

I don't know, man. It was a good throw by Matt, and I was able to make a play on the ball. My goal is to make those plays when they present themselves.

When asked if he was amazed seeing his 40-yard touchdown catch on film, Jones said, "Not at all." Jones then described the reaction in the receivers' room.

We congratulate each other. "Good catch."  You know? "Thank you." That's how it goes in our room. But we make those plays in practice, but we don't fall down as much, you know? But we make those plays all the time in practice, man.

Roddy White, as is often the case, was more effusive about Julio's 40-yard touchdown catch.

It was a great catch. It's crazy, because we go out there and practice that situation, and it comes up in the game, he goes out there and makes it look really easy. So practice pays off. Like I said, he's a great player. He's going to be the best wide receiver in this league if he isn't already. And he's going to continue to get better. This is just his fourth year, so he's coming into himself and just going out there and playing relaxed and going out there and playing with a lot of confidence and going out there and attacking people.

On how defenses will try to contain the Falcons:

Julio Jones expects to be double-teamed.

I always get double-teamed. We kind of find ways to get me the ball. And they can't double-team me the whole game when our running game is going, you know? So we've got to make sure we get the running game going early, then open up the passing game later on.

On Julio Jones' development as a player and performance so far this season:

Jones, again, gives his teammates a lot of credit for his success so far this season.

I mean, I just go out there-when they call my number, I just try to make plays. Like I said, Matt's been doing a tremendous job this year. I think twice in the last three weeks he's been the NFC Player of the Week. So he's just been-great balls, the line's blocking well for us. I couldn't do it without my teammates.

Jones has his focus in the the right place.

Not at all. I'm only three games in, and I've still got a whole season left. I'm just trying to finish the whole season and just stay healthy.

Jones says a big component of his development has been his understanding of the game.

I think everything, man. Just the game is coming to me slower now-it's slowed down a lot for me. When I'm out there running around I kind of see everything. I had tunnel vision early on, when I was younger, and I couldn't really see anything. I didn't really know the concept of the plays-why I'm running this route. But now I do, and I have a better understanding of it.

Jones has gotten a lot of help and guidance along the way.

When I first got here, Roddy helped me out a lot. But as a whole, it's just everybody, you know? Coach Robiskie-everybody now. Like-and just over the years, I've grown. You keep doing stuff over and over and over, and I play more positions now, so I kind of know everything and why I was running those routes early on in my career.

Jones has also gotten physically stronger.

As far as being stronger, I can get in and out of my cuts easier because my quads are very strong now. Last year they weren't as strong, so I was using more of my hamstrings. So now I'm able to explode out of my cuts and therefore get separation from DBs.

Roddy White spoke highly of his teammate's natural ability, work ethic and development.

He's big, he's fast, and he's strong. I mean, you just don't see guys at 225 who can run like he can and just get in and out of routes like he can. And he's worked it since the time he's been here, trying to get better each and every year. And his concept and grasp of the game and understanding coverages-what defenses are trying to do to us-is at a very high level right now. So he's going to be a tough guard. He's going to be hard for anybody to guard him how he's playing and how good he is right now.

Julio Jones' perspective on being acknowledged as the best receiver in the league:

Jones was asked whether that would be important to him.

No, man. I just try to go out there and be the best teammate I can possibly be. Everything else is going to come. You can't worry about numbers and get complacent about winning the game. My biggest goal is to win the game.

On Devin Hester's Special Teams Player of the Week award and his role in the offense:

Julio Jones spoke highly of what Hester brings to the offense, as well as the wealth of playmakers on Atlanta's roster.

Yeah, if Devin gets one on one, he's going to make the play every time. So guys have to key on Devin as well. And he's got to-you've got to put a corner on Devin. You can't put a safety or a linebacker on Devin because he's going to hurt you. So therefore, me and Roddy out there or Harry out there, one of us is going to have a safety on us or something, because they can't double all of us.

Roddy White also appreciates Hester's skill set and how it complements Atlanta's offensive attack.

It's just difficult because he-when he lines up wherever he lines up, he's probably going to get the third or fourth-best cornerback on the team, and you just don't think it's any possible way that he could be guarded like that. And we're going to take advantage of it. So when we have opportunities and chances where we can get him lined up one-on-one, we're going to try to get him the ball and just let him do what he does. And as you can see through these first couple of games, once he gets the ball in his hands he's really explosive and he can go out there and make big plays for us.

Hester, for his part, gave a lot of credit to his teammates for his outstanding performance against Tampa Bay.

It's a team effort thing. It's not a-I don't look at it as an individual accomplishment, an individual goal. But it's one unit out there, and I know I couldn't do it without the other ten guys out there. Out there it's a group effort kind of accomplishment.

Hester is enjoying being a part of the offense in Atlanta, though.

Yeah, I'm just having fun out there. Playing a playmaker in the right spot to be able to make plays, and this team is surrounded by a bunch of playmakers, and everybody's getting an opportunity to go out and make plays.

On Matt Ryan:

Jones was asked if weeks one and there were the best he'd ever seen Matt Ryan play.

Not me. He's just getting recognized now. Matt always had the talent. He's been a great quarterback here and a great leader.

On the tempo of the offense:

Julio Jones talked quite a bit about the up-tempo offense and the benefits of maintaining that tempo.

We practice like that. We practice up-tempo. We can slow it down as well. We've got a great stable of running backs as well. So whatever the defense is giving us, we're going to take full advantage of it.

Jones said it does make things more difficult on opposing defenses to adjust.

I think so, because it's so much on defense they've got to do. They can't really blitz too much when we're up-tempo, and then they've got to be able to double guys as well. So I think it's a little hard for the defense to kind of key in on guys.

Jones also said it's important to establish that up-tempo identity.

I mean, that's us. We're an up-tempo team. We've just got to realize that and go out there every week and just put it together, because we have so many playmakers. We get the ball out in space and everybody on the offensive side of the ball can make plays in space.

On receivers coach Terry Robiskie:

Julio said Robiskie will always tell it how it is.

Terry Robiskie, he's going to tell you straight up. He's not going to beat around the bush with you. He's going to let you know-if you're messing up, he's going to let you know you're messing up. He's not just going to be, "Okay, you'll get it next time." No, he's going to fix it right then and there. That's why everybody commends him for that-just being outright with it.

Devin Hester on preparing to face the Vikings after experiencing so much success against them in the return game in his career:

I think that's the reason why I had so much success at that return game, because we played them twice a year every year. So it just gives me more opportunities to go out there and make plays, and that's what it really boils down to.

On the difficulty of winning on the road:

Julio Jones said the team just needs to be consistent.

We've just got to be consistent. It doesn't matter where we're playing at. We can't let the external factors for us-the fans and everybody else-get to us, prevent us from going out there and playing Falcons football. We've just got to go out there and take care of business. The hard work we put out here in practice, we've got to take it over there and do the same thing.

Roddy White said getting off to a good start on the road will help.

Yeah, I think we've got to get off to a good start. We had one road game and we didn't get off to quite a good start. So I think-Smitty always harps on us about starting fast and going out there and putting points on the board, and I don't think we've done that yet this year on the road. So we've got to go out there and put points up early and kind of let them play catch up and kind of chase us. I think when we're in that mode and we're going out there and we're playing fast and things like that, then good things happen on offense and defense, you know? Defense gets to go out there and just fly around and get turnovers, and they've done a good job at that. I think they've got like seven, and they're right up there in the top 5 in the league in that department. So if we can do that-fly around and do things like that and score points, then it makes them a whole lot easier to go out there and go at people.

Who would win a wrestling match between Roddy and Julio? According to White, definitely Roddy.

Wrestling? Of course I would.

Julio says it's important to start this tough schedule stretch off with a win, but he really isn't looking past this week.

It's very important, because it's the next game. I don't look that far ahead. We've got to focus on the Minnesota Vikings this week. And then next week--I don't know who we have after the Minnesota Vikings, to tell you the truth. So I don't look that far ahead.

Julio was asked if he thought the receiving corps in Atlanta was the best in the league.

I mean, everybody is going to have their own opinion, but of course I'm here and I'm going to say yes.