Heading into the Dolphins game earlier this week, the Falcons were open about their desire to improve a few things, notably red zone efficiency and limiting penalties.
The Falcons in recent years under head coach Mike Smith have been one of the least-penalized teams in the NFL. Entering Friday's game they had 21 penalties for 144 yards and added eight more for 40 yards. The starters in the first half had four penalties for 20 yards. Smith, understandably, wasn't pleased with his team's performance in reducing the penalties in what is considered a final warmup for the regular season.
"Fortunately, we had them on first down," Smith said. "We had some procedural penalties that are unacceptable. You can't have those. You can't put yourself behind the chains on first down with silly procedural penalties. And it was across the board. We've got to address those things because they will come back and haunt you."
Running back Michael Turner was pleased with how effectively the offense moved the ball at times against the Dolphins, but he felt the penalties stalled the offense on more than one occasion.
"I think our tempo was real good," Turner said. "We controlled the tempo a little bit. We just got to knock down the penalties; still having too many penalties."
Turner added that red zone scoring once again was an issue (0-for-2 in the red zone on Friday) and he was disappointed with Atlanta getting field goals instead of touchdowns.
Wide receiver Roddy White, who caught the game's first touchdown, a 20-yard strike from Matt Ryan, summed up how ready he felt the Falcons are for the regular season to begin. In short, he's glad there are two weeks to go to continue to prepare.
"Not (ready to start the regular season) today," White said. "No. We need the next two weeks to get ready for Kansas City."