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Conference calls: Atlanta Falcons


Crumpler caught 56 passes for 780 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns last season.

Atlanta Falcons first-year head coach Bobby Petrino and Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler spoke with the Houston media via conference call on Wednesday about their upcoming matchup with the Houston Texans in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 30.

Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino

(on deciding on the penalty for CB DeAngelo Hall) "We did. It is something that we are keeping in house."

(on if the penalty is a suspension) "No."

(on meeting with the veterans in that situation) "I was actually meeting with the veterans just on how our attitude, how we're going to be in the locker room, how we're going to progress from here. It wasn't really about (CB) DeAngelo (Hall)'s situation. It did come up in the meeting, but that was not what the meeting was called for."

(on how key the game is for the Falcons this week) "We need to win. There's no question about it. We've played well at times the last two weeks, got in a position both games where we had a chance to win the game, and have not been able to finish it in the fourth quarter. Right now, we're in a situation where we need to find a way to win a game."

(on DT Amobi Okoye) "I loved (DT) Amobi (Okoye). He was a fun guy to coach. He always came to work with a big smile on his face and a great attitude. We watched him grow up. We brought him in at 15 years old and watched him grow up and mature. He's not only a great football player, but he's a great person."

(on when he got he job a Louisville, if he was wondering about a 15-year old who was going to be playing for you) "I actually knew about him because I was coaching at Auburn and I had watched video on him. I couldn't believe that he was only 15 years old. When I got the job, he was already committed, but that was one of the first stops I made was to go do a home visit at his house."

(on what stood out from DT Amobi Okoye from your first meeting with him) "Naturally his size, but most of all his maturity. I have a daughter the same age and I couldn't imagine that I would send her off to college at 15 years old and she would be able to handle it. He did and obviously, he had some maturing to do and certain situations came up, but it was fun really to watch him grow."

(on if it was difficult to pass on DT Amobi Okoye in the first round) "It was. It was because I knew how good of a football player he was and not only that, but the fact he would be here and be great for the community and everything else. Our needs were at the defensive end position more than the defensive tackle."

(on if he has spoken with DT Amobi Okoye since the draft) "Yes, I think I talked to him one time since then."

(on the biggest changes going from college to the NFL) "I don't know if there have been the biggest changes, but certainly handling the situations that occurred and being able to try to work to keep the team together, that's been probably the biggest thing."

(on how much of a distraction the off-field troubles have been to the Falcons) "It has been. There's no question about it. I've thought that the team has done a nice job. The leadership in the locker room has been good. We've tried to continue to focus on our job and what we need to do and there's no question in my mind, we've gotten better each week. We just need to find a way to win the game."

(on if he has followed DT Amobi Okoye through his first few games) "I didn't sleep well last night because I've been watching video of him all day yesterday. He's certainly playing well. He's been very active and has done a nice job rushing the quarterback."

(on if he's seen changes in DT Amobi Okoye since last season) "You can see his understanding of the game and the thing that I'm impressed with is he is not in aw of anything. He's just playing extremely fast and real well."

(on if he was the coach who told him he couldn't start until he shaved) "Yes. I kind of made that one up, but I did say that. We did bring him in and we felt like he was so young we needed to red-shirt him. After the first 10 days of practice, he was our third best defensive tackle, so we felt like it was time to play him. It was probably the right decision because a lot of times when you get a young guy like (DT) Amobi (Okoye), you don't play him his red-shirt year or his first year there, then they end up going out after their junior year, so you don't see them playing for four years anyway."

(on what his players have said about QB Matt Schaub) "I got to meet (QB) Matt (Schaub) when I first got here. I got to know him for about two, maybe three weeks. I was very impressed with him, very impressed with the way he carried himself. I watched some video from the year before. I'm watching video on him now and he's doing an excellent job, his timing and ability to get the ball out, and make the different throws you have to make, he's been very impressive."

(on any regrets from the trade) "You can never play the 'what if' game and look back and do that. At the time, we felt good about our situation and we really felt that we needed to add more players to our team, so to be able to get that draft pick and the one next year, we felt like it was the right direction to go."

(on if he is surprised on how well QB Matt Schaub has performed) "No, not at all. He's an excellent quarterback."

(on if the Falcons have an advantage because he and his staff know about DT Amobi Okoye) "No, probably not. We do know him well and we see him on video and see the things that we had for four years, but bottom line is they go out on the field and play and we'll try to make sure our tackles and guards understand what we think about him, but you just basically have to go do it on the field."

(on what made DT Amobi Okoye so good in college) "The combination of everything; the size, the quickness, the strength, and then just his ability to learn the game. I think that is what's impressive when you have a guy that young, how quickly he learned his position and how quickly he started to become an expert at that."

(on how tough losing has been on him) "Tough. Tough. I don't like losing. I'm not used to it. It's been tough on our team, particularly when you're in situations where you feel like you have a great opportunity to win the game. In Jacksonville, we felt like we were in control of the game and missed a couple of field goals and then last week, we felt like we were in control of the game and things turned quickly on us. It's not easy."

(on if the Texans' special teams is something he is weary of) "Yes, no question about it. (WR) Jacoby (Jones) was doing an excellent job on the punt returns, but (CB) Dexter (Wynn) comes in and he's got experience at the position. We're well aware of (WR) Jerome (Mathis). He made a great play last week. We have been kicking the ball off very well and covering kickoffs well, so I'm hoping we can continue to do that."

Falcons TE Alge Crumpler

(on his relationship with and thoughts on QB Matt Schaub) "Has his hairline gotten any better? Just a little bit? No, Matt's been great, man. He always had that sense of confidence when he steps in the huddle, and I think his guys there know it and it's something that we've always known. So that's the beauty of being able to be groomed in the National Football League and let this game come to you and then when you get your opportunity, take advantage of it."

(on if he's surprised about QB Matt Schaub's early success) "No, no. Not surprised at all."

(on what impressed him about QB Matt Schaub in his role on the Falcons) "Well, you know, when guys don't play, you either got, you have pros or you have guys that kind of just (complain) and do things that kind of take away from the team, and he was far from one of those guys. He was a pro's pro and he was always, he let you know what he sees, he understood his role and didn't step on any toes and just was a serviceable backup for us waiting to be a starter somewhere in the National Football League. Everything worked out, though, pretty much according to plan."

(on how much the Falcons wished they hadn't traded QB Matt Schaub after the troubles of QB Michael Vick) "Well, not as much as people would think because the way everything went down, it was, we made the trade where we've got to get something for him because we anticipated him being the backup guy going into his fourth year and then he's an unrestricted free agent, you can't get anything for him. So we can't really question the move because at the time, it was a good move. And hindsight is one thing but at that time it was pretty much a good move. And for Matt, I think he pretty much would rather have the situation that he's in now. I don't know, you'd have to ask him."

(on what the Falcons have been missing in their close losses) "We're just learning. I mean, that's the biggest thing. When you have change, you've got to be able to, you know, I've had a lot of change since I've been in the NFL. When Michael (Vick) and Jim (Mora, Jr.) took over, we were in the NFC Championship in that first year. So it just takes a while to learn different things. We're all trying to, coach is trying to learn from us, and we're definitely trying to learn from them. It's just a lot different for guys that are rookies and for guys that are like me, seven-year vets."

(on the adjustment with coach Bobby Petrino in his first season) "It's been different. It's been different. We've come in hungry to learn and do things but then we had all the distractions and it's just been a situation where we've just tried to focus on football as best as we can. I think we've handled everything pretty doggone well, it just doesn't show up in the win column."

(on the challenges presented by LB DeMeco Ryans) "A lot, because he's always got his nose on the football, makes a lot of tackles. He gets around and has pretty good command of that defense and he's a playmaker. He's a young guy that just has a nose for the football and knows how to make plays. Him and Morlon (Greenwood)."

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