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Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference

Posted Nov 12, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the media Monday during his weekly day-after press conference about what the Falcons will need to do this week to bounce back from their first loss of the season

 Opening statement:

“We knew it was going to be a hard fought game yesterday. Any time you play a division opponent on the road it’s going to be a tough game. We didn’t execute very well in all three phases. We did some very uncharacteristic things in terms of penalties and we’ve got to get these things corrected.”

On the issues with defending the run:

“Again, on the 56 yard run or the 50 plus yard touchdown run we had four missed tackles on the play. That was the biggest culprit on that. We had four missed tackles. You can’t have missed tackles. They’re going to lead to explosive plays. We’ve got to do a better job across the board in defending the run. It’s been an issue that has probably been our Achilles heel on the defensive side of the ball. Sometimes, those numbers get skewed by those explosive runs.”

On what the issue with the tackling is:

“After reviewing the tape, it was on all three levels. It wasn’t just the defensive line, wasn’t just the linebackers, or the secondary. It was not for lack of effort. That was a hard fought football game yesterday. We’ve got some things that we have to clean up in terms of leveraging the football and taking good paths to the football, and then we have to work on our pad level as well. When you have good pad level and take good leverage and good paths to the ball you’re going to be able to play the run better. We did not do that yesterday. My hat’s off to New Orleans. They did a nice job running the football.”

On tackling to the ground for practice:

“No. We would not ever go out and tackle live. That’s something that there are ways to work on tackling. We worked during the Bye week. Again, it was one play guys where we had the missed tackles, but it was very critical. The explosive plays yesterday that we had in the ballgame were all touchdown plays. In regards to tackling, there’s ways to work on tackling we break it down into elementary phases and you work on it. We’ve got to do that and we will.”

On the problem with the offense on short yardage plays:

“We’ve got to do a lot of things better. It’s not one position group. It’s not one guy. It’s the entire offense when you’re talking about having a successful play, it’s basically three levels, whether it’s a run or a pass. We did not execute well. We had too many unblocked guys in the hole. It’s hard to get running that way and there are a number of reasons why, and we’ve addressed those in the meeting today and we’ll continue to address them. They did a nice job in their run defense yesterday.”

On TE Tommy Gallarda being out affecting the run game:

“We would’ve liked to have Tommy in there more. Tommy is a guy that’s done a nice job for us blocking, but again, it’s not just one position, it’s not one group. It’s a group effort. It’s a fine line between having an efficient play and a non-efficient play. We were not as efficient as we needed too in the 18 times that we tried to run the football yesterday.”

On WR Julio Jones missing some time yesterday:

“He missed twenty plus plays in the ball game yesterday, and Julio did a nice job working with the trainers to get back. Anytime you have your 1-A or 1-B receiver out for that many snaps it’s going to change the dynamics of your play calling and what you’re going to try and do formationally. It did affect us, but again when one guy goes down another guy has to step up. I thought WR Harry Douglas did a nice job of stepping up and taking some of those throws that would’ve gone to Julio.”

On Douglas returning that punt at the end of the game:

“We felt like we wanted to give Harry a chance to catch the punt. It was a backed up punt situation. We wanted to try and get as many yards as we can. We’re not, in our mind, in a position to have Harry as a full-time punt returner. He’s done it in the past, and we felt like that gave us an opportunity to get the most yards on the return.”

On what he said to CB Asante Samuel and S William Moore after their penalty:

“We can’t have non-physical penalties. We can’t have penalties that aren’t of the physical nature. Those guys understand that. They apologized. They know that there cannot be two guys, I don’t even know what exactly they did because I was watching something else at that point in time. You can’t have those types of penalties. That’s yardage that we would’ve had on the 12 yard line and we ended up having it back on the 27. Big change there when you’re playing in the red zone. Both of those guys have learned from it and they understand what they can and cannot do. They can’t choreograph and two guys doing a celebration is choreographed.”

On getting the pass rush going:

“We were off balance and off kilter in the first half of the football game defensively. I don’t think that we matched the pace of the game that they came out and started with. I thought we did a nice job in the second half though coming in, making adjustments and felt like we did a really nice job and were a lot more efficient there in the second half.”

On not having to answer the undefeated question:

“When you lose a football game you’re not happy. There are 53 guys that went down to New Orleans and we didn’t play well. Again, we don’t focus on what people are saying outside our building. We know that we didn’t play our best. The New Orleans Saints did. They played better than we did and they ended up getting the victory.”

On the long pass to WR Roddy White at the end of the game:

“I don’t want to get into the actual play, but it was a scramble situation and it’s something that falls under the guise of our scramble rules.”

On the resiliency of the team:

“There are positives out of every game and there are negatives. We were down by 11 and had the ball down inside our ten yard line, and we took it for a 90 yard plus drive. That says a lot about the resolve of this football team. Again, in the National Football League most games are going to come down to a handful of plays and that indeed was the case yesterday against a really good football team. It was an electric atmosphere. The kind of atmosphere when you’re on the road that can cause you problems. We’ve got to be able to handle those things because we know when we play in our place it’s a situation for the opposing team.”

On LB Sean Weatherspoon:

“I am optimistic. Sean has worked extremely hard. He will get an opportunity the next 48 hours to do some field work and hopefully we’ll see where he’s at and get him out there on the field on Wednesday. He’s done a nice job in his rehab. He’s been a great patient. Both he and WR Kevin Cone have been great patients with our training staff. We’re looking forward to seeing how he performs out there on the field tomorrow.” 


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