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October 1, 2014

Paul Johnson

PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, I think the bye week fell at a good time for us.  We were able to mend some guys up and get some guys healthy with some bumps and bruises and got a couple extra days' preparation for Miami, who's a very athletic team and very talented.  We have not had a great deal of success against them the last few years, especially slowing them down, so it's a big challenge for us on Saturday night here in Atlanta.

Q.  I know you talked about going into the bye week some things you wanted to clean up, some areas you wanted to fix.  What can you say about those areas and how you're going into this Miami game?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, I think we had a couple days to go back to some basics and some fundamental stuff, and clearly we have to work on our tackling.  It's not been great, and when you play against great athletes like they are in space, it's going to be paramount that we rally to the ball and get a lot of people around it.  We just went back and worked on a lot of our base stuff, so hopefully we'll be‑‑ I think we've improved each week during the season and we'll certainly need to take a step forward that way this week.

Q.  When you talk about improving each week during the season, what do you want to see going into this Miami game?  I know you said getting rid of the ball in space and what they can do with their talent on offense, but looking at your offense, how can you go up against that defense?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, we're going to run the ball.  If they can stop the run, they're going to win the game.  That's probably the bottom line.  We're going to do what we do, and they're going to do what they do, and the team that executes the best will probably be the team that wins.
What we've got to do is stop them.  The last couple of games they've been quasi shootout games.  They haven't been low‑scoring affairs.  Now, this one could be 6‑3, but who knows.  If we don't play a little better on defense, it's not going to matter what we do offensively in this game.

Q.  To follow up on that, what specifically do you need to do better on defense than you have in recent years against Miami?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, we've got to tackle, we've got to limit the big plays.  Last year they averaged over 10 yards a play against us, and you're not going to win very many games when that happens.  We've got to try to‑‑ they're very skilled, so we've got to try to limit the big plays and get some turnovers on defense and get off the field.  Last year we were able to get some turnovers early and got up, but we just didn't sustain it offensively and couldn't get stops on defense.

Q.  Do you at this point of the season, being unbeaten, you've got Miami, Duke and Carolina coming up, have you sent a message to your team that these next few weeks will determine just how promising a season it could wind up being?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, we try to take it one week at a time.  We're in a position to control our fate.  We've just got to go do it.  A win Saturday would get us to 2‑0 in the league, and that's as good as we can be right now.  That's all we're focused on is the game this Saturday.

Q.  Paul, the Miami defense just kind of strangled Duke's offense last week.  What about their defense stands out to you?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, they have a lot of good athletes, a lot of guys that can run.  I think they've got some experienced guys, and they played really hard in the Duke game.  You know, they're a very formidable opponent.  When they play well, nobody is going to out‑athlete them.  They're going to be athletically as good as anybody you play.

Q.  Anybody on film, individual‑‑
PAUL JOHNSON:  I think the Olsen kid is a good player.  They've got a lot of good players, but 91, Pierre Olsen is a good player.  Perryman is a really good player.  They're sound in the secondary, they've got two corners that can cover and take guys out.  They've got a bunch of good athletes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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