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Transcript: Mike Smith Interview

Posted Dec 4, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the media after the Falcons' practice on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Head coach Mike Smith
On practice in the elements, trying to get ready for Green Bay:

“Our elements are a little warmer than what we will have on game day.  It was foggy.  We had to move around a little bit in terms of our video.  That was something we had to adjust, but I thought the guys coming back off of watching the tape from early in the morning, two switching over to Green Bay, I thought it was a good start to the week. ”

On the issues they’ve had stopping the run and how we have to stop their run:

“We’ve got to try to stop their run game; I’ll talk about that first.  Eddie Lacey is a big, strong back that doesn’t go down easily.  I have not seen him taken down by a single tackler very often.  He is a guy that is going to take two or three guys.  (Kahlil) Bell, he’s a guy that runs with good body lean, good power, not a burner but has enough speed to take it the distance.  They’ve done a very good job, not only running him, but slowly getting involved catching screens out of the backfield.  It is going to be a challenge for us, because we have not defended the run not nearly as well as we need to.  We’ve got to make sure that we fit it up, don’t have any misfits and have multiple guys at the ball carrier.”

On the triangle of tackling:

“Basically, you want to lose your leverage on the field based on where you are lined up.  There is someone that is responsible to turn the ball back in.  There is someone responsible to be pursuing inside out, and there is someone responsible to cap it off.  You want to put a triangle on the ball carrier, depending on what the coverage is and what the scheme is and where the ball is actually run, will determine who is responsible for that.  We’ve not done a good job.  Explosive runs, unfortunately, are talked about with the secondary because that is usually what happens.  If they get past your secondary they are going to be a long run, but there are other factors that lead to it getting to the secondary.  We weren’t very good in the game the other day.  We had some gap integrity issues where we had guys out of their gap.  When you get out of your gap it is going to get to that second level, unfortunately, to use that triangle.  We didn’t do a good job.  Guys had some opportunities and guys missed some tackles as well.  There is very rarely an explosive play in the game of football.  As a defensive coach you think that it is a great play, usually it is someone that makes mistakes, someone has poor leverage, someone misses a tackle.  Occasionally, you are going to see your right phase and doing everything you are supposed to do and the guy is going to make the play.  We’ve got to clean that up because they’ve got a big, strong running back. ”

On Steven Jackson saying running the ball is a patient man’s game, and if it is easy to remain patient:

“Well, I think you’ve got to continue to run the football when you can.  Unfortunately, we got into three games where we weren’t able to do it because of the score.  We really had only half a game to stay with the run game.  When you get 14 points down it is hard to run the football.  You’ve got to try to score quickly.  I still believe the game of football, we all do here, you’ve got to win the line of scrimmage and you’ve got to be able to run it.  When you run it, you open up all kinds of things in the passing game, and I think that was an example of what happened in the game this week.  We were able to run it efficiently, get to the second level.  That is going to slow them down, loosen them up.  Then, you have the opportunity to throw the football and be efficient on third down. ”

On the challenges for Schraeder jumping from Division II to here:

“Well, Ryan Schraeder is an interesting story.  He was a guy that didn’t play a whole lot of football in high school, grew into an offensive lineman.  There are techniques playing offensive tackle in the NFL that you have to make sure you master, and he is going to be getting an opportunity to be going against a really good pass rushing defensive front this week.  They’re in the top three in sacks, and they don’t have just a bell cow guy.  They’ve got four or five guys with four, five, six, seven sacks, so they’ve got pass rushers that have some production.   It’s going to be a challenge for Ryan, but he deserves it.  He has worked extremely hard, and he is going to get an opportunity just like he did last week to play some significant playing time in the ballgame.  ”


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