Transcripts: Falcons at Buccaneers

Posted Nov 17, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith and several other players spoke to the media after the Falcons' 41-28 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.


(Opening statement)

“We obviously didn’t play good enough football to win in any phase of the game today. The way that we played was unacceptable. The way that we coached is unacceptable. I thought that we had a fairly good start, and then ended up having back-to-back sacks, knocking us out of field goal range. We’ve got to continue to work, we have to continue to try and find answer and mix and match and get the people in place that will help us win football games. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.”

(On the offensive line)

“We had moved some guys around on the offensive line wanting to get our best five, or what we felt like was our best five. It did not work as well as we [would have] liked. The quarterback was hit too many times. [They] had three sacks, we had the turnovers, we didn’t win on third down, and we gave up explosive plays. That combination is going to not win you a whole lot of football games.”

(On the confidence of players in the locker room)

“This is a group of men that has won a lot of football games in the past. This is a group of coaches that have won a lot of football games. Right now, we’re not playing good football. We’re not coaching good football. It’s unacceptable for our team, it’s unacceptable for our fans, it’s unacceptable for the organization. We have got to play better football. We have got to coach better football.”

(On the upcoming schedule)

“Well we have to go back to work, and we’ve got to work hard. This is a group that shows a lot of resiliency, I didn’t think there was any quit in our team. Our execution was not good. When you don’t get off the field on third down, when you don’t tackle well – we did not tackle well today on the defensive side of the football – you’re not going to get the outcomes that you want. We have got to continue to work, we’ve got to remain positive, and we have to make the corrections. We have to make sure that we have the guys that are going to give us the best opportunity to win. We tried some new guys today, and I think we will continue to do that as we move forward.”

(On giving some of the younger players more playing time)

“Absolutely. I don’t believe there is anything that is out of the question; it is all on the table. When you play the type of football that we have played the last four weeks, you’ve got to look at everything, you’ve got to turn over every stone. I’ll repeat it again, as I told our football team: It was unacceptable the way we played the game today.”

(On the blocked punt and penalties)

“Yes it was a big play on special teams to have the blocked punt. We had a guy miss a block, anytime you have a guy that clean, you have no opportunity. We had a guy that absolutely did not execute a block, and the guy was clean. We have had way to many procedural penalties, we are a team that prides itself in playing smart football and we have not done that, especially the past four football games."

(On having the support of the front office)

“It means a whole lot, it means a whole lot to have the support of [owner] Arthur [Blank], [General Manager] Thomas [Dimitrioff], [President and CEO] Rich [McKay], knowing that we’re not playing the type of football that we need to play. They are very supportive. We have to do a better job, we’ve got to do a better job coaching, and we’ve got to do a better job executing. Like I said, we are all responsible for it. Don’t point fingers in one direction, we are all responsible.”

(On the challenges of a quick turnaround for Thursday game)

“It was a very physical game. We had some guys that had some bumps and bruises. That’s going to be critical for us to find out where we’re at. In terms of guys that had to leave the game, some of them were able to return. That would be the first thing, the second thing is preparation time. We have a quick turnaround. Monday, we have to go and pretend it’s Wednesday, we’ll go right into our Wednesday practice schedule. It will start tomorrow evening; we’ll have a walk through tomorrow night at Flowery Branch. Unfortunately, we’re not going to get an opportunity to really evaluate this film like we would like on this short week. I know there were a lot of teaching points across the board that could be beneficial for our team and our coaching staff.”

(On the offensive line)

“We have to look at not only personnel guys, but we have to look at scheme, that’s obvious. We have got to continue to look at scheme, that’s something that we’ll do. We’re not going to just point the finger at the personnel. We will look at everything that we’re doing. As I said, coaching, offense, defense and special teams, the last four games have not been up to the standard that it needs to be.”


(On the overall game)

“Just a tough loss. We didn’t play nearly as well as we needed to be competitive. Thought guys fought [and] played until the end, which you like to see that but at the same time very disappointing. I think everyone expects better from ourselves.”

(On the team’s fast start)

“I thought on our first drive we came out and ran the ball effectively. We had a good plan for what we wanted to do, but we weren’t able to sustain that. We weren’t able to remain consistent. I felt the run game was actually pretty good today. We just didn’t do a great job in the passing game converting early on to kind of keep us in that ball game, and we got a little bit too far out of it in the second half.”

(On the two sacks by Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy that slowed down the first drive)

“It’s tough to overcome that. It’s tough to overcome one sack in the drive but when you have two, it’s difficult. Across the board, we have to be better than that and it’s disappointing. I think guys are obviously frustrated, but we have to move on."

(On why he felt Atlanta’s game was sloppy tonight)

“Sometimes it’s one of those things that kind of snowballs a little bit and it’s our job to make sure that stops. We were just sloppy across the board; not young guys or old guys, I think everybody. In order to play in this league [and] in order to be competitive in this league, you have to take care of those things and we didn’t do a good job of that.”

(On the offensive line)

“That’s [Head Coach Mike Smith]’s call and, as players, you just go out there and compete with the guys that you’re in there with. So, that was kind of [Smith]’s deal. I thought our guys fought hard. Obviously, we didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked to across the board. It’s just one of those things.”

(On finishing strong)

“I think the guys in that locker room [give confidence]. Clearly, we’re 10 games into this thing and certainly far, far away from where we want to be, but we have six games to go. It’s about pride. It’s about going out there and taking pride in what you do and being competitive. Knowing that if we do play without the mistakes, without those kinds of things, we‘re capable of getting the job done. We’re able to move the ball; we just need to be consistent. So, I think you have to find ways to breed confidence when things aren’t going your way.”

(On whether his arm was hit on the first interception)

“We’ll have to see. It didn’t come out the way I wanted to, so I think I got knocked around. It’s one of those things.”

(On if he’s banged up)

“I’m good. Ten weeks into it, body feels about as good as it can.”


(On moving forward)

“We played a good Tampa Bay team today, despite what their record says. They showed it on the field. They’re a good ball club. You got to respect what they did. Right now, it’s about us as far as getting it turned around. We got a quick game coming up on Thursday night, so we don't have that much time to sit and mope about it. We got to ride.”

(On the loss being unacceptable)

“No doubt. At this point, it’s really unacceptable to lose. Every man out there has to do their job, including me. We got to show up, that’s all it’s coming down to.”

(On the defensive performance)

“That goes to show you, you got to respect their running back [Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey]. They were down to probably their third or fourth running back into the depth. They brought guys off the bench that, probably haven’t played all season and they were still gaining yards. It’s on us right there, we’ve got to stop the run.”

(On the message to the team)

“[There is] really nothing to say. It’s your job; you have to show up every Sunday. You got to have some pride about what you’re doing. It comes down to every man – what’s inside of you. If you’re going to lie down at this point, we can move on, but I think the guys we got, we don’t even have to worry about that. We’re going to keep fighting and we're going to fix the problem.”


(On Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson)

“He made a lot of tough catches; you got to give it to him. I know, specifically on mine in the corner of the end zone, I was right there. He just made a great catch. I easily could have made that play, but that’s how it goes sometimes. All I can do is learn from it and do better.”

(On turning the season around)

“We just got to dig. That's all we can do. Obviously we’re in a hole, a deep hole, and we got a quick turnaround. We got a good team coming in, New Orleans, so we just go to dig deep. It’s going to come down to our heart and will.”


(On overall thoughts of the game)

“Overall, we just didn’t get ourselves started as a team. We didn’t make the big play when we needed it; we gave up the big play. Tampa Bay came out and executed their game plan. All three phases, they outplayed us.”

(On what to focus on moving forward)

“With us having a short week this week, we just got to come out tomorrow and practice. Correct the things we did wrong in this game, move on from it, but have a good practice, try to finish strong and then just lead by example.”


(On learning from mistakes)

“Every week’s a learning experience. Each team brings different things, and, as a young player, I need to do better at understanding that, each week, they’re going to bring something new and I’ve got to be ready for it. Moving forward, that’s what I’m going to do.”

(On the game)

“It was playing a good team, good players, but, at the end of the day, it’s about us; we always talk about that in our locker room. I’ve got to prepare better and I’ve got to do better. I didn’t do a good enough job today, and, going forward, we all need to do better.”

(On being replaced in the game)

“Right now, it’s really not about me, it’s about the team and how we can all move forward. We’ll go see the film and see what we can do from there.”

(On how they can improve)

“We try to just keep bonding as an o-line. O-line is a group that you have to be really close with each other, so you’ve got to make all the calls together. We keep trying to keep that bond tight and keep pressing forward. There’s no quit in this group, and I believe in this group."


(On his evaluation of the game)

“Obviously, that’s not how we wanted to play. It’s embarrassing, honestly, to tell you the truth, the way we came out and performed, all of us – and it’s all of us included. I’m getting tired of coming in with this excuse, but we’ve all got to play better; that’s all there is to it. We’re dropping balls, not executing, not picking up blitzes. It’s all of us, though, and that’s the thing about it is it’s going to take all of us to get out of this. One thing that I know for sure is I’m not going to feel sorry for our team, and I don’t expect anybody on this team to feel sorry for themselves, because we’ve got to go out there and play. We’ve got a quick turnaround this week. We’ve got a good New Orleans Saints team coming into the Dome, so we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and get our heads out of our butts and play better.”


(On how it felt coming back from injury)

“It was good to be back out there. It didn’t go as good as we would like it to go, but it’s fun to play football any time. It’s not fun to lose, but it’s fun to play. I know I helped myself out with some conditioning. That’ll help me with this next one. I felt pretty good.”

(On his foot)

“It felt good. It wasn’t anything I was worried about or anything. The trainers did a great job of getting me ready, and my conditioning actually surprised me, because I thought I’d have to come out, but I was able to stick it in there.”

(On the run defense)

“They got it going on us. They got it going on us pretty good. They got good push, and the back [Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey] is pretty good. It was a rough day from that aspect. We’ve got to cut out the big plays. The big run really just opens up everything else. We’ve got to put a clamp on it. It’s a quick turnaround, and who better to play than the Saints. Everybody circles this one in the beginning, so I look forward to getting in the Dome and playing in front of the home crowd.

(On Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith’s comment that the team’s performance was unacceptable)

“Yeah, it is. Any time you look up and you’re down by 30 points – I haven’t had my butt kicked like that since Sam Bradford and Oklahoma back in 2008. That was rough. We don’t like that feeling, but you remember it. I think it either drives you or you get used to it, and I’m not the type to get used to it. And I know we’ve got those guys that don’t want to get used to it, so we’re going to find out who’s on the right bus.”

(On Rainey)

“He played well. I saw him in college. He’s been doing his thing for a while. Hats off to him for a good game. We don’t get to play him again, so you can’t get back at him, but just move on to the next one and try to do better.”

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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of the individual authors. Unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Atlanta Falcons’ organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. The writers’ views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Falcons officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.