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Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference

Posted Dec 17, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the media during his regularly scheduled day-after news conference from the team's headquarters in Flowery Branch.

Opening statement:

“We’ve got to move on fairly quickly today because we’re on a short week. As you know, we’re playing on Saturday night against the Lions. Today is Tuesday for us. It’s game plan day. Our players will be back in here tomorrow going through a typical Wednesday.”

On QB Matt Ryan’s play yesterday:

“I thought Matt had one of his best games since he’s been here. He ran the offense extremely well, exuded a lot of confidence, and I think that permeated around the team. I think as you guys know it’s a quarterback driven League and when he plays well you enhance your chances. I thought Matt played well in the game yesterday.”

On thinking he’s having an MVP type season:

“That’s for you guys to talk about. In my mind, Matt is having a great year for us. There are a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that he’s doing very well for our football team.”

On shutting the Giants out:

“Shutouts are very hard to come by in the NFL. They don’t come along very often. When you do accomplish it for your football team, it’s not just the defense. The offense and special teams also were contributing to that outcome as well. It’s a sense of accomplishment because they don’t happen very often.”

On CB Dominique Franks cross training:

“Dominique is like our utility infielder, to use a baseball term. He’s a guy that can play corner, nickel, and safety for us. With S William Moore down again yesterday, he was the guy we had trained all through the week at that safety position and some of our substitution packages in the game yesterday.”

On him playing better at safety:

“I think he’s a guy that can play all of them fairly well and consistent. He made some plays in the ballgame yesterday and that gives us an opportunity to see younger guys getting snaps. We still have two games in the regular season, and we will have an opportunity to play in that second season. We need to have as many healthy bodies as we can and have guys cross trained.”

On S William Moore being back for this weekend:

“William will work out tomorrow with our athletic performance people out on the field. He’s been working on the side. We’re hoping to get him back out there as quickly as possible. It’s going to really be determined after his rehab run goes tomorrow.”

On S Chris Hope being disciplined by the League:

“I’ve not been notified, but it’s pretty much standard operating procedure that when there is a UNR (unnecessary roughness) penalty there will be some type of League review. Again, that’s something we don’t talk about in terms of what and when it happens.”

On WR Harry Douglas’ good game:

“He really did. He had one in the first half down the left sideline on their side of the field. Then he had the seam route there on third down. We got the perfect look that we were looking for and Harry did a nice job running the route and Matt was able to deliver the ball. Harry had his most productive game. Harry is a guy that we feel has a very good skill set obviously, and he’s a guy that deserves to get his touches. Sometimes we don’t get an opportunity to get him a ball because it’s going other places.”

On OL Joe Hawley’s situation today:

“Joe Hawley will be back on the practice field tomorrow.”

On T Lamar Holmes getting snaps:

“Lamar got action at a number of different spots yesterday for us. Actually, he played in our heavy package, so he lined up as a tight end. He also got to play some offensive tackle as well. It was good to be able to get him some of his first snaps. We also got an opportunity to get Peter (Konz) work at center so those are all beneficial situations for us as we finish out the season.”

On being satisfied with the run game yesterday or still having room for improvement:

“There’s definitely room for improvement across the board. It was nice to get going. I thought that we set the tempo early with our run game and it goes hand-in-hand when you’re able to run the football. They have to start committing more resources to the run and it opens up the pass game. We got some looks that we really liked based on running the ball effectively and efficiently in the first quarter of the ballgame.”

On the game plan being good on slowing down their pass rush:

“I thought our offensive staff did a great job of putting the game plan together. In terms of neutralizing the defensive line, the number one offensive must was that we were going to have to neutralize the defensive line. There are many ways to do it. I thought our offensive line did a very good job winning their one-on-one battles, but we did some things formationally, and in terms of how we put plays together helped us as well. It was an outstanding effort by our offensive line yesterday.”

On Coach Koetter calling a bunch of draws yesterday:

“That is a group that can rush the passer. There’s many ways to stop or slow down a pass rush. The play that you mentioned there is one way you can slow it down.”

On how important momentum is:

“Momentum is very important. Sometimes it’s difficult to measure and quantify it and put a number on it. When you use the word momentum, you use the word passion. You use the word purpose. Sometimes you can’t really define those. You can define them, but you can’t quantify them. I think it’s important that you’re playing efficiently and effectively in December and January. I think that’s what every team is striving for. I think over the last two seasons, the teams that were playing well in December and were really rolling were the teams that had the most success. They were the teams that ultimately were the World Champions. I think momentum is very important.”

On Baltimore losing three straight in 2000 and then rebounding from that:

“That was a unique experience in terms of having five games where we didn’t score an offensive touchdown and to keep the team together. We won two of those five games where we didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Then we got on a roll. When you start talking about tournament games, it’s all about winning that game. If you don’t win then you go home. There’s definitely a conclusion, where when you’re playing a 16 game season it’s a little bit different.”

On this game being a playoff confidence booster:

“It was an important game for our football game for the next three weeks. We’re playing for a whole lot. There are still a lot of things that have to be determined in terms of seeding for the playoffs. That to me was two teams that were playing for a whole lot. I don’t like to use the word statement games or revenge games. It’s all about going out there and competing and knowing that the outcome is important. In December, at the end of the season the outcome is much more important. As I said, people don’t remember what you do in September and October. It’s all about December and January.”

On this being part of the process:

“It’s an ongoing process. I think anytime you’re putting together a team and you’re in an athletic competition it is a process and its ever-changing. It changes from week-to-week. Our roster was different this week than it was last week. The team we were playing’s roster was different than last week. I think those dynamics are what make the game so interesting. It is an ongoing process. We’re striving as a team that makes a perfect game. We played a better game yesterday, but we’re still far, far away from the perfect game. That’s what we’re striving to do is to play a perfect game. I don’t know that we’ll ever do it, and I don’t know anyone that has.”

On several players getting carries yesterday:

“It’s very encouraging. All four of our backs that touched the ball yesterday did a very nice job. The offensive line blocked well. Mike Cox, our fullback, did a nice job when he was the lead blocker. Our tight ends were involved with it as well in some of the cross action. When you’re running the ball effectively and efficiently sometimes, it really doesn’t matter who the back is. I think yesterday all four of the backs did some very good things. It was nice to see in that four minute mode RB Jason Snelling had the success that he had running the clock out. We got RB Antone Smith a touch or two. He’s a guy that deserves some touches as well. When you’ve got all those guys, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to get them all touches.”

On Cox’s catch energizing the team early on:

“Mike’s a very emotional player and he’s well thought of in our locker room. He’s got a job that there is not a whole lot of glory that goes with it. He made a nice catch there in the flat.”

On looking back at the schedule and think ‘I’m glad we played that team when we did’:

“You don’t simply because it’s kind of like looking at the schedule before you play any of the games and saying ‘Man this is a hard schedule. Boy, the Falcons have a real hard schedule.’ Well, the League changes and a hard schedule at the beginning of the year may be an easy schedule and an easy schedule at least the way people are predicting the season to go may be a hard schedule. You never know. You try to focus on the next game. Right now, we’ve got to flip the page here as quick as we can and get to the Detroit Lions.”

On playing on a Saturday throwing off the schedule:

“We are all creatures of habit. I think the thing that is most important as a coach is that you make sure your players know what your schedule is going to be and we talk about it two or three weeks in advance when there is going to be a change. The guys know that they’re only going to have one day’s rest before they come out and have a Wednesday practice. We’re going to have to adjust to Wednesday’s practice. Our Wednesday practice will be a lot more jog through than the typical practice. When you’re having success and we’ve been very fortunate over the last three years, you’re going to have those Thursday night games, Monday night games, Sunday night games. In this case, it’s a Monday night game played on a Saturday because it’s on Christmas Eve. You’ve got to be able to adjust to that because the good teams and the teams that are going to be relevant year in and year out are usually the ones that get an opportunity to play in those time slots.”

On having to force yourself to move on to the next game quicker than you normally would:

“I think our guys have done a good job for the most part all season long about putting the last game behind them. The outcome of the previous game is really going to have no bearing on the next game. We know we have to put this one behind us because we are short a day. I think it can be advantageous. Physically, it’s going to be demanding. That was a very physical football game. The New York Giants are probably one of the most physical teams in all of football. It can be a good thing because you have to move on and you have one less day for preparation so it gets heightened.”


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