News

Print
RSS

Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference

Posted Jan 14, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the Atlanta and national media Monday afternoon as his Falcons get set to turn the page from Seattle to San Francisco and the NFC Championship game.

Opening statement:

“We knew going into the game yesterday that it was going to be a sixty minute ballgame. It indeed turned out to be that. We knew that the Seattle Seahawks were a very good football team and they showed a lot of resiliency. We are very fortunate to make the plays there at the end of the game and get the win.”

On whom QB Colin Kaepernick reminds him of:

“He’s a much taller player than Russell (Wilson). On the watch, when he runs he’s probably faster. He had one heck of a ballgame on Saturday night running the football and setting an all-time record for quarterbacks. It’s going to be a big challenge. There are some similarities in terms of what they do offensively, but there are a lot of things that are a little bit different.”

On the defensive backs not turning their backs to be able to slow him down:

“You’ve got to have vision on defense and you can’t matchup and play match coverages or man-to-man because when he gets into the secondary he’s a guy that can go the distance. He outran a number of fast players in the ballgame on Saturday night.”

On Kaepernick reminding him of QB Cam Newton:

“He’s physically different than Russell (Wilson), and I think he’s probably between Russell and Cam. Probably closer to Cam in terms of the stature. As I mentioned, on the clock he runs extremely fast.”

On the run game being successful:

“We were able to control the line of scrimmage for the most part. I think we did a very good job in our preparation. We spoke to our team all week about having the ability to run the football. We haven’t run it as efficiently as we would’ve liked through the most part of the season. We did a very nice job. We got off to a very good start with some explosive runs. It was the most explosive we’ve been all season long in terms of running the football. I thought we did a good job with the rotation having different backs touch the football.”

On the team being able to play looser now that they have a playoff win:

“I don’t think we’ll be able to play looser. I think we’ve got to get back into our preparation mode. I know many people talked about the outcome of that ballgame and what does it mean for the Atlanta Falcons. It means that we get an opportunity to play again. In the playoffs you want to keep playing. I think our guys understand the challenge this week is going to be big. This San Francisco team won a big ballgame on Saturday night against a team that’s got a Super Bowl trophy. I’ve been very impressed of what they are capable of doing on both the offensive and defensive side.”

On RB Jacquizz Rodgers:

“Jacquizz had a very good game for us. His all-purpose yards has been very important for us all season long. He did a very good job in pass protection. As we said, when we first drafted him we thought he was going to be a change of pace back. We’re seeing more and more that he can handle all the duties that you ask of the running back, and he did a nice job yesterday.”

On having the experience of coming back before in games:

“There is no substitute to it. You can try and simulate it on the practice field and on Friday’s and Saturday’s and that’s usually when we work on our end of game situations. It is something that we had to experience before. Matt’s done an outstanding job. The offense has done an outstanding job. The one thing that was very evident on that sideline was that we were very confident with 31 seconds and two timeouts we could move the ball into field goal range. We’ve done it many times, not only this year, but in years past. We just never had an opportunity to do it in the second season. We’ve now checked that one off.”

On the emergence of WR Michael Crabtree:

“Michael Crabtree is an outstanding wide receiver and it looks to be over the last four or five games that he and Kaepernick are on the same page. They’re making the throws that you have to make to be successful in terms of the back shoulder throws and the timing routes. They’ve done a very nice job.”

On DE John Abraham:

“As I said yesterday, John re-tweaked his ankle there in the middle of the second quarter. We anticipate John will be back out practicing with us before the end of the week.”

On calling a timeout with 13 seconds left:

“The sequence there was that we had a timeout. The route that we ran we didn’t expect to gain 19 yards. Tony did a great job on that route. We were going to be throwing the ball in the middle of the field and then once we saw where the yardage was we went ahead and made the decision we were going to go ahead and line up and kick the field goal.”

On possibly running the clock down more:

“With 13 seconds and you don’t get out of bounds the ball or the ball is sacked you have no opportunity to run another play. It takes 16 seconds to run a play after you’ve been tackled. That’s the norm in the League so when you’re under 16 and we saw what happened in the first half with regards to Seattle and not being able to run another play on a sack. Once we had the yardage we felt comfortable with it. We were going to go ahead and kick it. If we weren’t in range in the range that we had then we would’ve had to work the sidelines and initially we thought with the play that we had called that was probably going to be the case. Tony broke the tackle and got us inside the yardage to kick the field goal.”

On a penalty helping them score faster helped out:

“In fact, there were discussions strategically of different ways we were going to possibly approach that play on the head sets. We ended up having 12 men on the field that brought the ball in closer. They did score. That was one of the things we didn’t do well yesterday was in the second half the two-minute drive there at the end the of the ballgame.”

On whether he would’ve called a timeout if they hadn’t scored on the first play:

“You’ve got to use your timeouts on that. There are a number of different scenarios that you would have to address if they hadn’t scored.”

On whether they thought about letting them score:

“I’m not going to get into the strategy of the game. I think those are discussions that you have on the headset all the time. They don’t just happen when it’s down there with the ball inside the five yard line. You start to talk about those things when there is a minute in a half to go knowing what the score of the game is. Those are all situations and contingencies that you have to talk about as a staff.”

On WR Roddy White, TE Chase Coffman, and TE Tony Gonzalez’s consecutive unbelievable catches:

“They were really outstanding catches. Chase Coffman is a guy that came onto our roster late in the process during the offseason. He did a great job of getting his feet down. Tony Gonzalez’s and Matt’s combination route was unbelievable. Matt threw the ball away from the leverage and Tony was able to get his feet in bounds. We had the almost exact same thing happen in practice. It was very reminiscent of a play that we had in practice. Of course, Roddy’s touchdown that was a great long ball by Matt. We’ve been saying since the season started that Matt we felt like is stronger. I thought that was one of his best long throws that he’s thrown all season long.”

On why specifically they signed Coffman:

“He catches the ball extremely well. Coming out, we did a lot of work on Chase. We actually went to Missouri and worked him out. The scouting staff had spent a lot of time on him. He was a guy that in their system he stood up a lot in two-point stances. There weren’t a whole lot of snaps in their offense where he was in a three point stance. He’s a very good, what we call a F tight end, that catches the ball extremely well. We’re very fortunate and we feel very fortunate to have been able to add a guy like that to our roster. I think Thomas (Dimitroff) and his staff have done a great job in identifying guys that can help us.”

On certain teams not focusing on the run game as much with the prolific passing attack allowing them to be more successful:

“When we have the type of offensive roster that we have, we feel like we have the ability to throw the football and to run it. It’s going to really be based on how people try and defend us. We’ve said all along that we haven’t run as efficiently as we would’ve liked to during the regular season. There was going to come a time when we were going to have to be able to run the ball. There’s been times in games that we’ve run it very well and this is the time of season too that there is going to be situations in the ballgames that you’re going to have to be able to run the football. I think it’s evident over the last two weekends.”

On one of the reasons Ryan had such a good game was because of the running game:

“When you’re able to balance your attack and sometimes it’s based on how people are trying to defend you, it’s very beneficial. When people are trying to defend the pass and they give you an opportunity to run it, and then you run it successfully and you’re able to run it right off the bat with some success. We had a couple of explosive runs with Michael and Jacquizz carrying the ball. Both of them had explosive runs on that first drive. It kind of sets the tempo and sets the mood for what we’re trying to get accomplished on the offensive side.”

On Rodgers' block on Ryan’s last throw:

“No doubt about it. They were pressuring us on that last play on the throw to Tony. It was in the protection and he did a nice job knocking off the rusher that they were adding in that gave Matt an opportunity to step up and make that throw on the inside route where we were going to have to use the timeout.”

On the 49ers special teams:

“Ted Ginn has been a dangerous returner throughout his entire time in the NFL. James is a young player that is a force to be reckoned with in terms of his ability. He’s not real big, but he runs extremely well. David Akers has been a Pro Bowl kicker. I know that they’ve had some guys in this past week, but their special teams is something that they do very well. Their special teams coach I believe is one of the best in the business.”

On DC Mike Nolan’s familiarity with San Francisco:

“Mike Nolan has been an integral part of the building of that San Francisco team. If you look at the guys that are playing well for him, Mike was the head coach and acting as a General Manager as well when those guys were drafted. Mike is very familiar with them and I think that will give some more insight in terms of what these guys are all about. When you watch them on tape, defensively their numbers are off the charts in what they’re capable of doing. Watching what they did offensively in the game on Saturday night they’ll get your attention real quick.”

On having trouble covering Seattle’s tight end and covering TE Vernon Davis:

“There are a lot of things that have to be shored up. We started that game on both sides of the ball playing I thought as good as we had all season. We scored five of the six times that we had the football on offense. Then we went through a dry spell with an interception and two punts and we were able to come back on the last drive of the ballgame of course. Defensively, we did not cover the tight end very well. He was targeted nine times. He had eight catches in the ballgame. The guys we’re getting ready to play, Vernon Davis, is probably one of the most athletic tight ends in all of football. I can remember sitting in Indianapolis watching this guy run a sub 4.5 there at the combine. He’s a very athletic guy. There are a lot of things that we’re going to have to address this week as a coaching staff here over the next 48 hours. Then with our team when they come back to work on Wednesday.”

On being concerned about P Matt Bosher:

“We did not punt the ball as well as we’d like to in terms of what we’re asking our guys to do. The last kick was not executed the way it’s supposed to be executed. It was not the type of play that we needed to have at that point in time.”

On sleeping better after winning a game in the playoffs:

“I didn’t sleep much last night. For everybody involved that was a fun football game. It’s hard to unwind from fun football games. I think for everybody, at least here in Atlanta, it most certainly was. Then, I got going this morning on San Francisco, in fact so much, I thought we played them yesterday.”

On being hard putting the big win behind you:

“Our goal’s and our expectations are a lot higher than winning one playoff game as a team and as an organization. We have got to start the sequencing of planning against the San Francisco 49ers who just like us, played well enough to win a Bye and play at home in the second round of the playoffs. They’re going to be as similarly healthy as we are, so it ought to be a fun football game. Our focus has to go to the 49ers.”

On S William Moore making the tackle on the fourth-and-1:

“Those two red zone stops, even though later in the game we gave up three scores on red zone plays, those two red zone stops in the first half, William’s stop on fourth and one was an outstanding play individually. He did a great job in timing the snap, and you’re right. You may have thought they were going to draw you offsides. They didn’t. William made a play penetrating into the backfield. Then, DT Jonathan Babineaux’s sack right before the halftime where they couldn’t run another was a big time play keeping them out both times from scoring points.”

On K Matt Bryant:

“Matt Bryant has got ice water running through his veins. He’s been a guy that’s won a lot of football games for us. Our offense has been able to move the ball in those fourth quarter comebacks. Move the ball down, get it into field goal range, and he’s had so many game winning kicks for us. You can’t ice him whether he kicks it good or kicks it bad, when it’s time to do it for real he puts it through the pipes. He’s been a big addition to our football team the last three years.”

On the offensive line against the 49ers:

“They’ve got Smith and Smith and they’re both pretty good rushers. Aldon Smith I believe in the first two years has got more sacks than anybody in the history of the NFL. He’s a guy that they move around so he’s going to get an opportunity to rush against all five of our linemen. Justin Smith does a lot of the dirty work so to speak. He’s a guy that when he’s in there they play a lot more efficiently than when he’s not. I think that was very apparent when he left the game when he was injured. We know how tough he is to be playing right now, playing defensive line with a torn tricep says a lot.