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Transcript: Mike Smith Press Conference

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith held his weekly press conference on Monday, Sept. 30 and spoke about how the Falcons are flipping the focus to themselves this week as they prepare for the Jets.

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:

“We finished the first quarter of the season, not like we would like to have finished it.  We obviously didn’t get the outcome of the ballgame we wanted last night and we’ve got to flip our focus to ourselves.  We’ve got an extra day this week, so starting tomorrow we’ll practice Falcons on Falcons, and the emphasis will be on some of the deficiencies that have shown up in our first four games.”

On the red zone issues:

“We were not as efficient as we needed to be last night, we were one for six.  There were a number of contributing factors to our inefficiency, not just one area, not just one group.  We had some protection issues down there, had some routes that weren’t run right, had some drops, we had some misthrows.  I can assure you we are addressing it with our staff and addressing it with our team.”

On the blueprint to move forward:

“We need to be more efficient as a football team.  We have played some close games, had some opportunities to make plays when they were presented to us and we didn’t do it.  That is why we are 1-3 after the first quarter.”

On update of Sam Baker’s injury:

“No, I don’t.  We will have the injury report on Thursday this week, in terms of the injuries in the ball game.  It was reported, he did not return to the game last night.”

On approaching Matt Ryan about the red zone issues:

“I think you have to be brutally honest with one another.  When you win, the quarterback and the head coach probably get too much credit, when you lose they get the line share of the blame. Matt and I are very aware of that.  We have to do what we’ve always done, put the previous game behind us and move on.  Our focus is on the next game and being a better football team.  I think they were technique as well as awareness.  Some of the long yardage situations, we weren’t aware of where the sticks were and we were not deep enough in our drops.  We’ve got some young guys that are out there playing, that is not an excuse.  Those guys have been with us since April and we’ve prepared them to go out and play, but we were not nearly as good as we needed to be on third down in the ball game as we needed to be last night.  You can’t give up those big, long third down conversions to a good offense, especially to Tom Brady and allow him to get another set of downs.”

On the 26 yard gain, the biggest breakdown:

“I think the awareness of where the sticks were, not having the awareness to be deep enough to defend the sticks, that was first and foremost.  It was a zone coverage, obviously, I’m sure it has been analyzed a number of times, and we were short in our drops.  That drive was compounded with the penalty on it as well.  It ended up being like a 45 yard completion on a third down and 19.”

On William Moore’s penalty:

“My take on all penalties, is if the flag is thrown it’s a penalty.  Then you just have to wait and see what happens on the next play.  Unfortunately for us, we had an explosive run and to me that was one of the turning points in the ball game.”

On the fourth and two play being a chance to show faith in the offense:

“Well, it was a decision that was talked about during the week.  We felt like we had a good play in that situation, in that part of the field, you know you are limited somewhat in terms of what coverages you are going to see.  We felt like if we executed the play we would get the first down.  Unfortunately, we didn’t execute it.  We had an opportunity; we just didn’t get it done.”

On Atlanta’s pass rush:

“We were not nearly as good as we needed to be.  We did not produce any sacks in the ballgame last night.  Tom did a very nice job with his play action and with his quick game, getting the ball out of his hand, but we’ve got to be more productive.  We’ve got to have more pressure on the quarterback and at least defect them.”

On going back to a more 4-3 defense with Kroy Biermann gone:

“No, I think that we still have a lot of flexibility in our defense.  Kroy took majority of the snaps in the preseason and in the offseason.  We do have a backup that we train, but he doesn’t nearly get as many snaps.  We’ve got to train him in terms of getting up to speed, in terms of all the different techniques that need to be played in that package.”

On what happened to the run game after it was so successful in Miami:

“I don’t believe we had that many rushing attempts.  We were efficient as a running team last night, but we only had 15 attempts.  We were right at 4.0, but if you take out a point or two in the red zone, I thought we were more efficient than that.  We look at run efficiency based on what the down and distance is.  We were efficient; we just didn’t run it very often.  We only had 15 attempts running the football.”

On him liking to see a more balanced attack:

“Again, we’re going to attack a defense, is going to be based on how they are trying to defend us.  When they give us the opportunity to run the football, we will run it.  If they give us the opportunity to throw it, then we will throw it.  They are really going to try and dictate how we are going to attack them.  It’s really based on are they crowding the line of scrimmage, are they rolling to a certain receiver, those are the things that go into whether it’s going to be a lot of runs or a lot of passes in a ballgame.”

On being able to the run the first two games and how that compares to last night:

“Well, there was some un-scouted looks that we had not seen, and I don’t know that with our young players we’ve got to be able to adjust to some of those un-scouted looks.  They had a big explosive run, where there was a misfit, on the touchdown run, and we misfit it."

On the team’s morale:

“We’re all disappointed in the first quarter of the season.  As you guys know, we break the season down into quarters, but that is a very resilient locker room.  This is just the first quarter, there are three quarters left.  You have to just start chipping away, one day at a time.  That is the attitude we have to take.  Our number one goal right now is to get a little better tomorrow when we go Falcons on Falcons.  Then we will have a day off for the game plan, and we will get back to our game planning with the New York Jets.  We can’t look beyond that.  We have to look at the next day, just like we have to look at the next play in a ball game.”

On being too short on the sticks due to not having Asante there:

“I can’t speak to that, we should be aware of it.  I think a lot of it has to do with experience, and every time we go out there some of these young guys are experiencing things for the first time.  It’s a learning opportunity, sometimes it’s a positive, sometimes it’s a negative.  Unfortunately, sometimes for us last night in that situation it was a negative opportunity, it’s a fine line.  If you look and see that play, the ball went about two inches over one of our defenders hands.  That’s how close it is in the NFL; that is what makes it so much fun for everybody.”

On starting Jeremy Trueblood instead of Lamar Holmes:

“Jeremy Trueblood we thought played well in his opportunities that he has had thus far.  He is a true right tackle, and we felt like that gave us the best opportunity to win.  Strictly a coaching decision.  Sam played, I think, 23 plays in the ballgame and then was injured.  Lamar came in and as I mentioned earlier, I thought the offensive line had their best night in terms of protecting the quarterback."

On the 24 hour rule applying to losses as well:

“Absolutely, you have to move on. You’ve got to learn from the positives, and you’ve got to learn from the negatives.  Once we finish the meetings today, we’ll be on tomorrow to Falcons on Falcons and focusing on our red zone deficiencies and our third down deficiencies, especially offensively for red zone and defensively for third downs.”

 

                                                               


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