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From the locker room . . . . 12:10 am August 13, 2011, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Burner-Turner-on-the-loose.jpg110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner gets past Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby for a first down during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Quotes from the players:


ON HIS PLAY: I was very pleased. Me and Matt, we connected very well. That’s what we have been doing in training game. He throws me balls and I try to make plays. Everybody can make plays.

ON BEING ANXIOUS: I wasn’t anxious because I’ve got a lot of veteran guys around me. They kind of calmed me down. Tony Gonzalez talked to me. He said, ‘Just do what you’ve been doing. Come out here and play football.’ I had a little talk with him. I talked with Matt Ryan as well. He just said play football, too. They calmed me down.


ON THE OFFENSE: I thought we did a good job offensively. The first drive I don’t think we executed the way we wanted to, but after we knocked off some of that rust. . . I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on the short field. On the third drive, I felt that we were into a little bit of a rhythm.

DID JULIO PASS HIS FIRST NFL TEST?: Yeah, I thought he did a good job tonight. I think he had two catches. I thought he was on top of the game plan. The condensed game plan that we had. He was on top of that and didn’t make any mental errors. He ran some good routes. I thought, all in all, he did a nice job. He did a nice job on that reverse, being a ball carrier. If he continues to progress, he’s going to do a great job for us.

ON HARRY DOUGLAS’ TD CATCH: Harry ran a great route. That was kind of the key there. He kept his speed up and broke toward the post. He really made a good catch in between two guys. . . That’s a good sign for us.

ON ERIC WEEMS’ 17-YARD CATCH: He ran another good route. They had a two-high coverage and he kind of got in there behind the backers and in front of the safeties and made a nice catch in traffic. He got the ball down. He got hit quick. It wasn’t really a great throw, but he made a really good catch. That’s going to be big for us if the fourth and fifth guys can come up with some of those plays throughout the year. It’s going to make our offense all the better.


ON HIS DAY: I think it went pretty good for it to be the first real live action that we’ve had. I was so excited to get out there and just to be able to play against somebody different.

ON HIS PUNT RETURNS: Great blocking. Those guys were holding them up at the line of scrimmage and were giving me a free chance to catch the ball. I just set up the blocks. I have to credit the blocking. It’s more than just me out there.


ON HIS TD CATCH: It was a great throw by Matt. He put it right in there between the two defenders. Once I saw the coverage they were playing, I knew he was coming to me. I just wanted to make sure that I made the play.

ON THE SAFETY: He bite up a little bit. Once I saw him do that, I knew Matt was coming to me. He threw it like a missile. He did thread the needle and that allowed me to make a play.

ON THE EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: It’s really big. You notice that the great teams in the NFL make a lot of explosive plays. It doesn’t necessarily have to be bombs down the field. It could be runs where we block down the field that become big plays. I know Julio had a big play. He a 4- or 5-yard drag route and turned it up field for a big play. There are a lot of different ways that you can become explosive. It’s one thing we’ve been preaching all offseason and one thing that we will get better with.


ON THE FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE: We did pretty good. We wanted to get off to fast start and I think we did a good job both offensively and defensively.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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