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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


Opening Statement.
"I was extremely proud of the way our players and coaches went about their business during the bye week. I think that was very important. I think we put together a good game plan and we spent a lot of time evaluating where we are as football team. We went out and executed the things that we needed to make adjustments with."

Q. You're undefeated coming off a loss. Can you tell me how you approach that and how this team has reacted?A. "It's something that we talk about quite a bit. In terms of when we put our milestones together last year we talked about teams that are going to have an opportunity to compete in the playoffs are teams that don't lose back-to-back ballgames. I tell our guys when I present this to them that if you don't lose, back-to-back games by December then you're going to be right in the thick of things. I think it's very important. I think it's a mental state that you have to be aware of. You want to stop the streak at one, when you get the outcome that you don't desire."

Q. You mentioned your evaluations during the bye week. Was part of that evaluation starting with Kroy Biermann and the defensive line?A. "Yes, that was all part of it. With our defensive line, it's a group of guys that are going to all rotate. The starters may not be determined by the defensive coaches because it could be determined by the offensive personnel that's out there. We are going to match personnel groupings. Really, it will depend who plays the first play of the ballgame and will be dictated by the offensive personnel that the opposing offensive team presents."

Q. Can you talk about some of the pressures with Jamaal Anderson at tackle?
A. "Well, it's a little bit quicker in there. You are going to have blocks on you a lot quicker. You may not be too open-sided as a defensive end. You may not have someone outside of you as a defensive end. As a defensive tackle you're going to have to contend with two blockers and also a blocker from the other side if it's a gap scheme. I thought Jamaal did a nice job in that role. There's still a lot of room for improvement but he did a very nice job for his first time in as a defensive tackle."

Q. Can you talk about the pressure you guys were able to generate?
A. "I think the front four did a very good job when we had four-man rushes We actually created a sack in a three-man rush as well. That has a lot to do with the disguises we were doing. I thought we did a very nice job of mixing in our pressures. There was going to be a three-man, four-man, five-man, or six-man rush. We had very good execution there and that's not just the guys up front. The secondary has to execute as well to give the illusion of one thing while we're doing something else. The guys got on the edge and were productive as pass rushers. I think the quarterback's passer rating showed that they did a good job rushing the passer."

Q. Do you think the complete offensive game was up to par?
A. "Well, I know statistically that it most definitely was in terms of yards. But I think that we left some plays out there. I think the offensive guys will tell you that. Whether you win, lose, or tie in this League, when you watch the tape there are always things to correct. That's a given. I think offensively, our quarterback threw the ball extremely well. Of course Roddy (White) has the 210-yard Falcon record. For an individual game, I thought he did an outstanding job. We got the ball in the hands of our tight end and Mike Jenkins had a couple of big catches. We ran the ball down hill and that was something that we wanted to do. We wanted to run the ball down hill, go north and south, and I thought that our running backs did that. Our offensive line did an excellent job protecting the quarterback. That is the third game without giving up a quarterback sack."

Q. How do you think Michael Turner and Roddy White have handled the first part of this season?
A. "Well, the way our offense is designed, we have a number of guys that are play- makers. I think that's a great problem to have. All of our guys on our team are team players. They know that the team comes first, and those guys have done an outstanding job of just coming to work everyday and working extremely hard. Knowing that it's going to be predicated on how people try to defend us, is where the ball is going to go. Some days it's going to be to number 12, some days it's going to be to 84 or 88. I think that's a good problem to have if you can distribute the ball and get the ball to as many playmakers' hands as you can. I thought yesterday when we got it into our playmakers hands, they made plays."

Q. Was there a philosophical change in the game plan?
A. "No, I don't think so. Each week we go in and we have 'X' number of plays that we're going to run and that we have up. And we have 'X' number of shots that we take down the field. Sometimes the coverage dictates that we're going to take those shots and sometimes it doesn't. I thought that Mike Mularkey and his staff did and outstanding job of game planning. I thought that Matt (Ryan) read the defenses extremely well. Our guys blocking the front were able to get the ball vertical yesterday. Of course the 90-yard completion was probably about an eight or nine-yard completion with the 80-yard run by Roddy."

Q. There was a lot of talk when Tony Gonzalez was added to the roster about how other defenses would have to change. Are you seeing that more now?
A. "I think each week it's going to change. Different teams are going to try to attack us differently. I think when teams have a success, other teams are going to try and do the same thing. It really becomes a matchup game and it's really what defending multiple playmakers is all about. You have to be able to match up and different teams are going to matchup differently. They're going to have to try to defend differently. I will say that they had a very good tight end. I thought we did a nice job in our matchups with him yesterday. We were able to stop the run which is something that we wanted to do. The quarterback was their leading rusher. I think that he had four carries for 53 yards, so we've got to do some work with our rush lanes. On running plays, that's something that we stated we needed to improve on, and we did in our bye week. I thought the guys played the run extremely well."

Q. What did you think about the fumble situation, even though you had some turnovers?
A. "Yes we did. We secured the ball. There were two negative things that really stood out, even prior to watching the tape. We had entirely too many penalties on the offensive side. We had eight offensive penalties and one defensive penalty. We had the ball on the ground three times. The positive was that we had guys running to the football and protecting our ball. They were there when the ball came out. We were able to protect the fumbles. We had two that we were able to recover. That's something that is not just on the ball carrier. It's the job of the people blocking to stay between them, both the ball carrier and the people they're blocking. I think it's very important for us to continue to harp on that because it will pay dividends for us down the road."

Q. You were up against a defense that was very highly rated. Were you surprised by the outcome?
A. "Well, I was very happy with the production. I think we had four drives that started on the plus side of the 50. We definitely won the field position battle and our defense at the first drive got the interception. We get the ball on the 21, then go on three plays and score. We have the turnover on the kickoff so our special teams contributed to that. They had a personal foul penalty, and false starts on the plus side of the 50. When you start out on the plus side of the 50 you enhance your opportunities to score and our guys definitely took advantage of that yesterday."

Q. Can you talk about Brian Williams' knack for making plays?
A. "Brian has been very productive for us. When there was a blitz, Mike Peterson batted the ball up and Brian was able to catch it. We would hope that he would have been able to catch it cleanly and have more than the -2-yard return, but Brian is a guy that understands the game. He plays both our corner, outside and when we get our sub-package he plays our nickel as well. Brain's had the opportunity to make some plays. When they've been presented, he has made those plays."

Q. What are you doing to work on the penalties?
A. "Well we had a number of procedural penalties. We had three procedural penalties in the ball game and false starts. It was an away game, but I wouldn't say it was an overly loud game. I would say that's something we definitely have to address. We were able to overcome the penalties most times yesterday. We had two offensive holding penalties and a personal foul penalty. That's something that we have to get fixed. We don't like dumb penalties. Aggressive penalties are a whole different kind of thing that you have to deal with. We don't like dumb penalties. Actually we had some unsportsmanlike penalties as well."

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