Flowery Branch, Ga. - Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was quoted as saying a year ago that he didn't like anything about the city of New Orleans, except the food.
With his team sporting a 2-8 record heading into a Thursday night game against NFC South leading New Orleans, White seemed much more subdued speaking with members of the New Orleans media by conference call. The following is a copy of that conversation, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
You guys had such high hopes at the beginning of the season. The way it turned out and how things got started here, how tough was that New Orleans game and the way things went after that?
"It was tough, especially where we didn't do anything right to win that game. That was the most difficult part. You go back and watch the film. We had our opportunities and we didn't get it done. It was tough. It just kept putting us in a slump. We've found ways to win close games and this year has been the total opposite. We've actually tried to find ways to lose games. It's been frustrating up to this point in the season. We're just trying to finish strong, trying to find a way to win games and just move forward every week."
Was that game and early sign that things might be tougher than last year?
"No, not really because we know every time we play New Orleans it's going to be a tough game, it's going to be a close game. It's going to come right down to the end who's going to win the game and who's not going to win it. It's been like that for the last four or five years. You don't expect anything different when it comes down to it. It's just the first game (this time). It's just tough going on the road and getting a win in the NFL anyway. It was tough sledding."
Does this game feel like a role reversal from last year's where you feel like you have a chance to knock off a team that's playing well?
"Yes, absolutely. Last year when they came in, they were all fired up to play. They came out there and played hard. We have to go out there and do the same thing this week. We have to go out there and play hard, knock these guys off and try to get a W."
We had Matt Ryan on the conference call before the first game and he said just because you guys had gotten so close last year, that nothing was going to be handed to you obviously, but did you feel like early in the season, teams were really gearing up to play you guys to try to knock you off?
"Yes, I absolutely believe that. I feel like every week, every weekend, we got everybody's best shot and around here we've won a lot of games. That's how it is now. People come in here now and they give their max effort to get wins against us, so it's been difficult but at the same time we're professionals and have to go out there and play football. That's what we get paid to do, so we have to go out there and try to win every game out from this point on."
The first game of the season was the first time anybody ever saw Rob Ryan with the Saints. What are you seeing with their defense that you didn't with the past?
"They're doing a good job of rushing the pass, (and) giving a lot of different looks. They're getting the ball, getting turnovers and things like that. It reminds me so much of the Super Bowl team. Those guys are getting the offense opportunities to score and the offense is doing a good job of just putting it in the end zone and getting red zone touchdowns and that's why they're so tough to beat. They go down there, they score touchdowns. They get you behind the eight ball and they keep you away from the run game, you have to throw it 50 times, they get two or three interceptions and that's how they win."
How has coach Smith been through this whole process and do you think the locker room is hanging together?
"Yes, we're hanging together. He's doing a hell of a job of just keeping us together, keeping us confident every day and every week and telling us what we need to do. We're going out there; we're watching the film and seeing the mistakes we're making. We have to make corrections and we have to move forward. We can't just dwell on what we did in the past and we have to go out there and make plays when the plays have to be made and we haven't done a really good job of that this year. We're just waiting for everybody to come around and do their job on every play, every snap and if we can get that effort, then we'll have the opportunity to win some games."
What do you think of the up and down state every year of the NFC South in terms of teams' records?
"Every year is different in the division. It's been like that for a very long time. I don't think there's been a back to back winner in this division in the very long time. It speaks volumes of the division in how any one of those teams can be good at any point in the year. It's tough. Every game that you go out there in the division is tough. Everybody plays hard. Everybody is going out there and trying to win."
What are your thoughts on what the offense misses without Julio Jones?