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Transcript: Mike Smith Press Conference

Posted Sep 23, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith held his weekly press conference on Monday, Sept. 23.

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening statement:

“Obviously, we didn’t play the type of game we wanted to play yesterday and didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”

On the last drive:

“Well, we were in a situation where we had the lead in the ballgame.  We went out there and played pretty tight coverage.  When we crossed the 50 it becomes a challenge situation.  We did not play as tight as coverage as we needed to in that situation.  We’ve got to learn from that.  We have got to play tighter coverage when we are in a challenge situation and we were in a challenge situation.”

On what he means by “challenge situation”:

“You’ve got to play tighter coverage.  You don’t want to be playing soft coverage.  You want to get up there and challenge those receivers.”

On one play in particular he knew they couldn’t’ play like that:

“There were a number of plays in that drive that we weren’t as tight as we needed to be in our coverage.  When you don’t challenge them, we had them in third and threes and third and fours, you’ve got to get up and play press coverage.  You can’t be off, or they are going to convert that.”

On having multiple rookies play on defense:

“It is a learning curve for our young players.  I thought they did a good job yesterday.  There were a number of positives in that football game.  We had a lot of young guys out there playing.  They stepped up and made plays and made it a close ballgame.”

On the hits Matt took:

“In terms of sacks, we were more efficient, but we had him hit too many times there, especially in the second half of the ballgame.  There were a couple of hits that forced him to get the ball out of his hands quicker than he wanted to.  There were some guys that were coming open, if he could have held the ball a little bit longer.”

On Jeremy Trueblood:

“His first game, I thought that he got tired, his first really significant playing time.  It was our third game; it was his first game in quite some time.”

On the red zone opportunities:

“We did not play very good situational football yesterday.  When we say situational football, we’re talking about red zone two minute and third downs.  On the defensive side we gave up ten points in 2 minute situations, three points right before the half, seven points right there at the end of the game.  We weren’t as efficient as we needed to be on third down, our third down efficiency.  They were 7 of 12, that is not acceptable.  We were 0 for 3 for red zone efficiency.  Every time they got in the red zone, they scored touchdowns.  We were only 2 for 5 in our red zone efficiency for the ball game.  You can just do the math and see how you leave points out there when you don’t score touchdowns in the red zone.  The responsibility goes to me.  It doesn’t’ go to the quarterback, it doesn’t go to the offensive line, it doesn’t go to the offensive coordinator, it’s my responsibility as the head coach to make sure that we are more efficient in the red zone, and I can assure you that will be addressed.”

On being 10th in touchdowns in the redzone

“Well, last year through the season we were tenth in the League in red zone efficiency, and I believe through three games under a small sample right now, we are 17th in the League.  We would like to be in the top ten in the League.  Again, that is a small sample; you are talking about red zone plays, three series a game on average.  That is nine plays a game, multiply that by 16 games and it is a little bit more than 10% of all snaps in a football game.”

On making more conservative calls because of the youth of the team:

“Absolutely not.  Again, we’ve got to go out and execute and we did not execute in those situations.”

On keeping good pressure on their quarterback, but not on the last drive:

“We never really got him into a third and long situation on that last drive.  If you look at the third and longs that they were in, in that last drive, they were all third and mediums where they could get the ball out quickly.”

On the positives on the run game:

“We sure did.  We felt like we needed to get our run game going.  I thought both of our backs ran downhill.  We blocked much better at the point of attack.  I still think we have to finish every play, that in turn will help us finish games.  There were some good examples with our coaches in the film sessions with the players today about what the proper way to finish is.  We need to focus on not just finishing the game but finishing the play.  It starts with the play.  That play could be the play that makes the difference.  If we finish each play, we’re going to finish the game."

On scoring in the second half:

“We’re not executing.  We’re not executing in the second half of football games.  The numbers state that.  We’ve got to be more efficient, we’ve got to be more efficient as coaches, we’ve got to be more efficient as players.  As I just mentioned, I think it is very important that we focus on finishing the specific play.  Let’s not focus on finishing the game.  Each play is a game and that is how we have to approach this.”

On Harry Douglas’ play mishap:

“That is not the way that play was supposed to happen. That is a situation where there is a call to get everybody away from the football. We have rules and there are details in our rules, and the details were not followed.”

On the missed tackles:

“We did not tackle as crisply as we needed to, especially in the secondary on the explosive run that led to the first score.  We had a misfit and it gets into the secondary, and we’ve got to get that guy down before he goes the yards that he went yesterday.  We were not as efficient as a team, not speaking to one individual, as we needed to be in tackling yesterday.  Our last line of defense, we’ve got to be more efficient when the ball gets to our last line of defense.”

On kicking a field goal in their last possession in the first half:

“There was a discussion that if we got the ball inside one yard, when we saw the distance it was closer to two yards.  We felt like right before the half that was important that we get points, obviously, we didn’t think we were going to give up a two minute drive right after that, and basically they cancelled each other out.”

On being concerned going into halftime with the score so close:

“When you are not efficient in the red zone, when you don’t score touchdowns and the other team does, you are four behind.  You are leaving four points off the score board.  We’ve got to be more efficient in the red zone when we are down there.  Again, I’ve stated it earlier, it’s not about the quarterback, it’s not about the play call, and it is about me making sure I’m taking responsibility, nobody else.”

On how important it is to score next week with Tom Brady and the Patriots:

“The Patriots, I have not had an opportunity to watch the tape yet, I watched part of the game before our game in our locker room.  They looked like they were very efficient in what they were doing offensively, and they are playing very good defense.  They held Tampa Bay to three points in the game yesterday and there is the potential that there tight end may be back, one of the better tight ends in the NFL.”

On the penalties:

“Very uncharacteristic of the way the Atlanta Falcons have played football over the last five years.  Seven penalties to two penalties is unacceptable, it was a net of 92 yards, if you look at the penalties on special teams, because they were spot fouls, in our calculations there were 92 yards in penalties.  Three of them on special teams, those were the spot fouls, and then we had four offensive penalties.  We had a holding penalty on a first down conversion.  We had two procedural penalties.  One of the procedural penalties put us behind the sticks, and we were not able to overcome that in the third quarter.”

On what is different when getting down to the red zone:

“The field has shrunk; you don’t have as big as windows.  You have to be more efficient in everything you do, in terms of your run blocking.  You’ve got to block better because you are not going to have the opportunity to bust it and have big long runs.  At the point of attack, you’ve got to block more efficiently.  You have to be more efficient in your routes.  If it says you have to be six yards deep, you need to be six yards deep at the top of your number, simply because the field is condensed when you talk about the red zone and that is from the 20 yard line in.  We’ve got to be more efficient in everything we do and we’ve got to make sure as a coaching staff that we have to put our guys in the best opportunities to be successful.”

On Tony having four catches in the opening drive only and if it was because of injury:

“No, Tony came out and only missed a play.  He was just banged up and was able to go back in and play.  Again, we’re going to attack the defense based on how they are trying to defend us.  Early on, we had the opportunity to get Tony some catches.  As the game wore on, they changed their strategy a little bit.”


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