Coach Whisenhunt's Thursday Practice Transcript



(on the progress of Marcus Mariota's injury)

He's doing well. He wasn't doing badly, but he's doing a good job. Tomorrow will really be the day where we'll see. So we're pleased with his progress, but we'll have to see exactly what that entails tomorrow.

(on if Friday is the day he will make a decision as to whether or not Marcus Mariota will start on Sunday)

I don't think there is any extreme like that, but we will have a lot more information about it tomorrow, that's for sure. But he's doing really well.

(on if Marcus Mariota will play in an emergency role on Sunday if he doesn't start)

That's a legitimate question. I don't really know what the answer to that would be. I think a lot of it is going to be where he is tomorrow and where this whole process is. If he doesn't play, then it will be because we don't feel like he's ready. So I would probably say that would be doubtful.

(on if Marcus Mariota's participation in practice tomorrow will be based on soreness)

It's really just day-to-day. It's not one specific thing. His knee is doing well and the plan was to progress it this week, not to try to do too much early, and see where it was late in the week.

(on if Marcus Mariota participated in practice today)

He did some stuff out here early, and then he was out here for practice. He didn't participate in it, but he's been rehabbing and doing things with his leg that are normal to that.

(on how hard is it for Marcus Mariota to mostly have to prepare for Atlanta over film as he hasn't been able to physically practice yet)

I would say probably, if this was two months ago, pretty difficult. But after having gone through a number of games, looking at other defenses, you get a feel for what you're looking at, the issues. I mean, nothing replaces the practice time, but it's something that conceivably, he could do. With this defense, just the way they do things, we played them in the preseason, so you have a little bit better understanding.

(on Jurrell Casey saying that the quarterbacks have been gauging the run defense more so than other positions, and if he likes what he's getting from the run defense)

Well I would agree with that except for, I guess the running backs had 100 yards on us last week. But he's right. If you think about Buffalo, they didn't run as much on us and our run defense has been a lot better than it was.  But we'll be tested this week. They've got a good running back, a good pair of running backs, and their scheme, they've been successful with.

(on if Atlanta's run game makes their offense more dangerous)

Well when you've got Julio (Jones), Matt Ryan and some of those guys, that helps. That helps them run the ball too. When you've got to make sure you're accounting for number 11 (Julio Jones) that takes an extra guy to the box a lot of times. They're a balanced offense. We're going to have to play very good, coordinated defense.

(on how the team imitates Atlanta's Julio Jones in practice)

Well you just try to get them in the spots as best as you can. It's hard to do the physical part of it because he's pretty unique to that. DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) just isn't at a point in his career yet where he could emulate that. So sometimes you use him, but you can't give him a million reps because he's got his offensive reps to do. You just try to do it a little bit by committee. Really it's more about where he lines up and his spots in the routes that he does.

(on defending Julio Jones)

I think you've just got to limit him. I don't know that you can take him out. That's hard to do. When you've got a quarterback like Matt Ryan who is one of the top quarterbacks, he finds ways to get him the ball and he's quick with the ball and gets it to him. We've just got to be able to tackle him and try to keep him from getting some of those big plays on us.

(on if Julio Jones is a player you have to specifically game plan for)

Yeah, because they use him in so many different spots, you have to be aware of that and you definitely have to make sure you prepare for it.

(on if there are a lot of players in the league that teams game plan specifically for)

Well, yes and no. Yes, there are guys in the league, probably just about every team has one of those guys. The 'no' part of it is probably not as much as you do with Julio (Jones), because of the size and speed combination that he has and all of the different spots he lines up in.


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