The Giants and Falcons are currently tied in the NFC WildCard standings, making this Sunday's matchup a huge contest. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, who met with the media on a conference call Wednesday, clearly agreed.
Q. It seems like pass catching tight ends are kind of exploding around the league. From a quarterback’s perspective, what does a Tony Gonzales do for a quarterback?
A. Well, it’s a reliable target; he has been a reliable target for us. He is a tough mismatch for defenses, whether you cover him with the linebacker or you cover him with the safety or you cover him with the corner. He presents different problems for all three. In addition to that, when he is on the field he is a great blocker for us as well and has done a great job in the run game. He is very versatile in what he can do. He can go out and pass catch, does a lot of things for us on third down and in the red zone. He also can line up and block defensive ends and help spark the running game.
Q. To have a guy that big who is also a pass catcher, it must be a little bit like having a security blanket for a quarterback?
A. Definitely, he is so big and is so long, but he can use his body to make catches and I have enjoyed playing with him.
Q. You are coming off a great rookie campaign. You now have gone five games throwing 10 interceptions. Has this been the most difficult stretch for you in your young NFL career?
A. I think there are ups and downs of every season. I think, as a team, what we done the past five or six games is not what we would have wanted and, personally, not what I have wanted. But within that there are a lot of things to learn from. You have to learn from your mistakes, bounce back. The beauty of the NFL is it's such a long season that you have an opportunity week in and week out to get out there and make the adjustments. Hopefully we can judge ourselves at the end of the year and look back on it and feel it was a successful year.
Q. How much extra stuff does the team have you doing now at the line of scrimmage, calls, and things like that which maybe you were doing as a rookie?
A. We do some things personally because we have different personnel and different guys out on the field. Again we are doing a lot of the same things that we were doing last year. At this point we just have to do some of those things better.
Q. Losing Michael Turner for this upcoming game, do you think that puts an extra burden and pressure on you to do more as a leader of this team?
A. You can’t look at it that way. We have some capable backups, some guys who can come in and make plays. Jason Snelling has done a great job for us all season, coming in and playing different roles. Jerious Norwood has been out for awhile, but if we can get him back on Sunday, that would help out because he is always a threat. Aaron Stecker has done a good job since he has been here. We feel like we have capable guys in those positions that can go out there and make plays. Certainly you miss Mike because he is a great player, but our offensive line has a done a great job in the run game all year.
Q. How about your relationship and the connection you have been able to develop with Roddy White? Seems like you guys have a good feel for what each other are doing out there on the field.
A. I have been lucky to come into an organization with some talented receivers, specifically Roddy. He has done a great job; he has helped me out a bunch since I have been here. He is talented; he is a big, physical receiver on the outside. He makes plays when the ball is in the air, can beat one-on-one matchups and has just been a ton of fun to play with because he is such an athletic guy and such a great player.
Q. Looking at the Giants defense on tape, they don’t have the sack numbers that they have had in years past. What types of stuff are you seeing from them in turns of the pass rush? Are they doing a lot of different things? What do you see from them on film?
A. I have never played against New York before, so I can’t compare them to seasons past. This year they look good. They look good on defense; specifically, their front four is a very talented crew. Their linebackers are big, physical players; they get a great pass rush. So we will have to do a good job, our offensive line is going to have to protect well this week and I am going to have to do a great job in the pocket to secure the football and make good decisions.
Q. I know you only spent one year together, but what do you remember about Michael Boley as a teammate?
A. Mike was a great teammate when he was here. He played hard, athletic guy, great in the locker room, good to be around. I would talk to him just like I would talk to any teammate. I enjoyed spending a year with him and playing with him and wish him the best.
Q. The Giants have been susceptible to some big plays over the course of the last four or five weeks. They have obviously changed their starting safety from C.C. Brown to Aaron Rouse. Have you seen some things on tape that give you the sense that you may be able to get the ball deep down the field?
A. Well, I think their secondary has done a pretty good job. They have been facing some tough opponents and some really good passing teams. They have done a good job, though. I feel like they have stayed in position, have covered well, they are getting a good push up front. So I am not sure if it is any one thing. You just have to go out there and take your chances because there are going to be opportunities to make some plays, but with that said, they are covering pretty well on the back end.