On Falcons' Head Coach Mike Smith saying the Lions look the same on this year as last year and the differences in record: "Well, we'll have a lot of different players on the field this time, but our schemes have stayed pretty much the same. Obviously our record isn't as good and we'll see on Sunday."
On if that is a fair assessment: "I can't speak for Mike. I can't comment on somebody else's comments. We have (the) same schemes, we have (the) same philosophy and there are different players - a lot of different players. Mikel Leshoure didn't play against them last year. Neither did Joique Bell. A lot of different players, a whole new secondary, all that different stuff; it is what it is."
On making a move with CB Jacob Lacey: "Yeah actually, we didn't announce it? Signed (CB) Ron Bartell. Jacob Lacey had to go to IR. Now that he's IR, I don't mind saying he subluxed his knee cap. So it's not an ACL or a surgery that way, stuff like that. But it is going to put him down for a little while. Popped back in on the field. He was game to try but he couldn't run well enough. He's battled through a lot of injuries this year. Had a concussion, he's had a foot. But he's a tough guy. He'll bounce back from this."
On Bartell being a Detroit guy: "Yeah that really had nothing to do with it, but it is a unique angle. Played at Renaissance High School. I remember when I was with the Titans, I actually went to Howard and worked him out and we recalled that. He's a big corner, he's got experience, he's in good shape, and he's been playing recently. That was our evaluation. He worked out well for us. So to bring a guy in and have to get him up to speed quickly, particularly being a veteran player like him - he's played in a couple different systems at St. Louis and in a different system at Oakland. That worked in his favor."
On the appreciation of TE Tony Gonzalez's career: "Yeah, he made a catch last week for a touchdown that was vintage. I dare somebody to...he looked like he was 26. I mean, you've seen that guy in the NFL for such a long time and the consistency that he's played with. Those guys that are competitors, that play like they have something to prove every single week, they're special. We talked about Calvin Johnson being that way. I've never been around Tony Gonzalez. Gunther Cunningham (has) and speaks very, very highly of him from a character standpoint, from a professional standpoint. It shows on the field. I wouldn't be surprised if he was like Calvin; if he's the guy that's diving for balls in practice. You don't last that long on talent, you don't last that long on character and professionalism. You need to have a combination of both and obviously he does."
On how difficult the Atlanta offense is to scheme against when they have three receiving weapons: "That was their whole objective when they moved up to take (WR) Julio Jones. Now last year that didn't work out as well for them once Julio Jones...he was injured when we played against him. He's battled through some rookie inconsistencies and some injuries, but he's proven that he's was worth going up for. The touchdowns, nine touchdowns, and explosive plays, but taking the pressure off (WR) Roddy White outside. When you put attention to those guys outside, there is openings in the middle and that's what a good tight end can do and also compliments the back. Let's not forget (RB) Michael Turner. Michael Turner carried that offense for a long time and the run game is still a good part of their offense."
On if Falcons QB Matt Ryan is the MVP: "I don't know. We worry about our own team. He's having a good season. He's led them to a 12-2 record. They had a great game last week, won 34-0 over a team that was battling for the playoffs. But before that he led them to a lot of close victories. The week before they had lost to Carolina. They came back and bounced back with an exclamation point against a good New York Giants team. Quarterbacks I think are judged on wins. He's got 12 wins."
On if the team has anything to prove: "You have something to prove every week regardless of winning streak, losing streak, what happened the previous week. This is a week to week business. The people that keep their eyes on that, that are consistent from week to week are the people that are successful in this League. We talked about Tony Gonzalez, even the Atlanta Falcons, like I said, they were down 23-0, ended up losing 30-20 to Carolina. I'm sure that wasn't the way they wanted things to go. They were best record in the NFC at that time. They came back and they bounced back. That's what this League's all about."