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Transcript: Mike Smith Press Conference

Posted Sep 16, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith spoke about Sunday's 31-24 win over the Rams and gave updates on injured players in his weekly press conference on Monday, Sept. 16.

Opening statement:

“After watching the tape of the game last night, I thought we did some good things.  I thought there was some improvement from week one to week two.  I really felt like our special teams played outstanding.  They did a great job in covering.  I thought Matt Bosher did a super job punting the ball and kicking it off.  We have a lot of things we do need to correct, like any week, but we are going to do that tomorrow morning.  We had victory Monday so we did not meet with our players.”

On starting out strong then letting the other team come back in the third quarter:

“I believe that our players showed a lot of resiliency.  In terms of the situation we were put in, we had some guys go down, on both sides of the football, and they did a very good job of stepping in.  We had a lot of young guys step in.  We had a lull there in the third quarter in which we had three 3 and outs, you don’t want to have that type of sequencing.  The first eight drives of the game on defense we held them to 3 points, the last three drives we gave up 21 points.  That is something we not only have to address with our players but our coaching staff as well."

On Jacquizz Rodgers being tentative:

“We didn’t run the ball yesterday very well, in terms of production.  We were not nearly as efficient as we needed to be.  I think there were a number of factors.  We have to make sure that we block it better.  We’ve got to make sure we press the holes; we’ve got to get blocks when we have an eighth element, and yesterday they had a lot of defenses where there was an eighth element, our wide receivers are a part of it.  I don’t think it’s one person, I think it is the entire group.”

On keeping Matt Ryan clean:

“I thought we did a better job.  I thought we showed improvement from week one to week two.  I think the area we still have to address is we are not nearly as good as we need to be in getting into the third down and manageables, getting into the 4,5,6 and 7. The hits Matt took yesterday were in the third and eight pluses, and we have to try and eliminate those.”

On penalties:

“We had seven penalties in the game yesterday, two on special teams, three on offense, and two on defense.  They were critical penalties.  Two of them on offense were downs that we converted first downs on and, of course, we had a penalty on fourth down, which kept the drive alive and allowed them to score their last touchdown." 

On passing the ball down the field:

“I thought Matt did a very nice job running our offense in terms of throwing the football.  Schematically, we had some things we thought we could get done, and we got it done getting the ball out of his hands.”

On seeing more of the no huddle approach:

“Possibly, I don’t think we handled it as well as we would have liked too in terms of not only  the performance out there on the field, but we’ve got to do a better job as a coaching staff, putting our guys in a position to be more challenging, and we’ve got to be more disciplined.  We had a few errors in the ballgame on defense, and a couple were major errors in the no huddle offense.  We are going to have to do a good job of communicating, it was loud in the stadium yesterday, so there was some miscommunication.”

On Julio Jones:

“He is maturing as a football player.  He has a very good understanding of how defenses are set up, and he knows where the voids are in the zones and he’s got a good feel with Matt Ryan.  He and Matt do an outstanding job improvising, which happened a couple times yesterday in the game.   Matt is not known as a scrambler, but he is able to extend it, knowing the coverage Julio was able to get into the holes.”

On the coaching staff having to make adjustments:

“I thought it was very good by our coaching staff.  I think that you have a plan going in and when it changes, it changes very quickly.  On the offensive side of the ball, we lost two starters in the first seven plays of the game.  We lost a defensive starter who only played seven plays as well in Asante Samuel, and we also had Kroy Biermann and Sean Weatherspoon not finish the game.  We were using some bailing wire in terms of putting together a plan, but I thought our guys did a good job, not only on the field as players but on the coaching staff as well.”

On Joplo Bartu:

“In the preseason we used him exclusively one game, wanted to see how he would handle it.  We felt like he did a nice job. He earned the opportunity to go out there and play in our sub package and I thought he did a good job.  He made a great tackle there, early on the first drive when they were backed up.  It was a textbook open field tackle.  I think he will continue to get more reps.”

On roster moves:

“We will be making roster moves.  We will be making a couple of roster moves today.  Kroy Biermann will going on reserve injured.  He has a torn Achilles tendon.  We will also be putting Bradie Ewing on injured reserve, he had a separated shoulder.  Those two guys, today will be going on reserved injured.  That transaction will take place here at the end of the business day in the NFL office.”

On Massaquoi and Goodman stepping up to take the roles of injured players:

“Absolutely, Jonathon’s snaps were up significantly.  I think they were in the mid to high 20s.  Mallaciah was I think 14 or 15 snaps.  Those guys are going to get an opportunity to step in and help us win some football games.  I believe that they will.  As I say many times, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, and we’ve got some guys that we expect are going to step up and make some plays for us.”

On the two injuries being recallable IR:

“No, those will be on reserved injured.  It is not the one you can come back off of.”

On multiple guys stepping in:

“We have a backup at every position.  When we put our packages in, the backup is going to have to step up and make the plays that we anticipate they’re capable of making. There is a role for a defensive end.  There is a role for one of the linebackers, when he was playing linebacker.  We put that in place from the beginning.  As you know, your roster never stays the same from year to year, and it usually doesn’t stay the same from week to week.  We will make the adjustments and move forward.”

On Bradie Ewing's injury:

“It is very tough.  I had a conversation with Bradie here in the late morning speaking with him.  It’s been tough, not being able to stay on the field.  He had the knee injury last year and he went on the IR early.  The same thing is happening this year.  As I told him, we just have to get you healthy and March, April will roll around and we will connect and get going forward.  Our focus right now is on the Miami Dolphins.”

On Jason Snelling:

“Jason Snelling stepped in yesterday and did some very good things.  He had the touchdown run; he had the nice catch on third down and one.  We’ve got a number of guys whose roles will change when you have injuries.  Jason has always stepped up, anytime he has an opportunity to go out there and play.  He goes out there and gets the job done and I thought he got an outstanding job done.”

On 46 being the right number for active:

“It’s the right number because that is what the League rules are.  I don’t’ think it would be appropriate to really comment on my personal preference.”

On what Mallaciah or Jonathan Cliff can bring to Kroy’s spot on the field:

“Mallaciah is a big long guy, can get in passing lanes.  Jonathan Massaquoi has a very similar skill set in terms of height, weight and speed in terms of what Kroy has.  We have some other guys that have played linebacker for us in the preseason that will step into that role as well.”

On Sam Baker:

“Sam toughed it out, he didn’t have much practice time.  There were a number of guys in the game last week, not just Sam, that did not participate in practice and got significant playing time in the ball game.  That is what happens when you start playing games, guys are going to get nicked up and we are going to have to try to get them up to speed.  I thought Sam did a good job in terms of gutting it out, because he did not get a lot of practice time, just Friday getting a lot of reps.”

On helping the guys get ready for the Dolphins:

“Well, I think the game plan; we try to help the guys every week, whether it is our guys who have been starters since the time we’ve been here, or our one play away guys.  The game plan is put together to extenuate their strengths, neutralize their opponent’s strengths, and I don’t think that will change.  It will just be different people and different bodies we will be working with.”

On the Miami Dolphins:

“I haven’t’ gone full speed ahead.  I know they are 2 -0, they have won two games on the road.  Ryan Tannehill is a very athletic quarterback; I know Mike Wallace had a number of catches in the ball game yesterday.  Any time you go on the road and win in the NFL, that is impressive.  They’ve got some guys that can rush the passer, Cameron Wake comes to mind. He is a guy that can put pressure on the quarterback and it seems they are playing with lots of confidence.  Coach Philbin does a great job down there and he has an outstanding staff.  It is going to be very important for us, it is an outdoor game and 4:00 pm kickoff, but we’re going to have to make sure to do the right kind of things in terms of our preparation and hydration this week. ”