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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


Opening Statement:"I thought yesterday we had several opportunities to win that game and get a positive outcome, but we made way too many mistakes. We had breakdowns in all three phases. When you miss a field goal, give up explosive plays, and throw interceptions, you really reduce your opportunities of having success. This game is about precision and it's about being consistent. We did not play very precise and we weren't very consistent for the entire 60 minutes of the game. We've got to be able to consistently sustain our level of play for 60 minutes. When you do that, you're going to get the results that you want, and yesterday was a prime example of us not playing precisely or consistently."

Q. Can we get an update on Michael Turner?
A. "Michael wasn't able to finish the game yesterday, and afterwards he was moving around pretty good. Again, we'll know more on Wednesday in terms of where he's going to be. There were some tests done, there are going to be some more testing this afternoon and we'll have an update on Wednesday in terms of where he's going to be."

Q. I'm assuming that you'll have to begin your game planning now. What are you going to plan for in the worst case scenario?
A. "Assuming the worst, if Michael cannot play then Jason Snelling will play our running back as well as Jerious Norwood. We're certainly hoping that Jerious will be back. He has not been able to participate fully with us over the last couple of weeks, but we are anticipating a chance for him to get out there and work with us on Wednesday."

Q. Do you think Michael Turner will play again this season?
A. "I'm very confident that Michael Turner will play again."

Q. Is it a concern to you that Jason Elam missed another field goal?
A. "With the missed field goal yesterday, we did not handle the operation of the snap, hold, and kick very well. When that operation does not go smoothly it puts stress on the attempt. Jason has not kicked the ball as well as he has in the past and it definitely is a concern for us."

Q. Jason took that blame for the missed field goal. Is that accurate?
A. "It's a mechanic that you go through that involves the center snapping the ball, the holder having to place the ball, and the kicker having to kick it. Ultimately, the responsibility is for the kicker to kick it through the goal post, but it's just not him. It also has to be a clean snap and a clean hold. The operation was not clean yesterday on that attempt."

Q. Is he just putting more pressure on himself?
A. "Well Jason is a stand-up guy and I think that all of our guys in our locker room are stand-up guys. It is a team game. As I mentioned, it's a snap, a hold, and a kick."

Q. Do you plan on changing any elements of that operation?
A. "We do have a new long snapper. Two weeks ago we had to Mike Schneck on the reserved injured list. Those guys work a lot together. You're brining in a new element and hopefully it goes smoothly. Obviously it wasn't as smooth as we would have liked it to be on the last field goal attempt."

Q. Would you use Michael Koenen in an emergency situation?
A. "I'm not going to speculate. We always evaluate every aspect of our football team on Monday and Tuesday after games. I would not want to speculate on anything, but I can assure you that everything is evaluated."

Q. Was Tye Hill's removal a coaching decision or did we miss an injury?
A. "That was a coaching decision. In terms of Tye Hill, we just felt like at that point in time during the game that we needed to make a change. The match-up we thought would be better if we had Brent Grimes out there. It was definitely a coaching decision, not an injury."

Q. Are there things that a coaching staff can do to help a struggling player like Matt Ryan?
A. "Well that's our job, and not just for Matt Ryan. When our football team isn't having the success in operating efficiently, it's our job as a coaching staff to make sure that we turn over every stone and evaluate every minute detail of what's happening not only in games, but in practices, so that we give our guys the best opportunity to be successful. I can assure you that myself, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Mularkey, Bill Musgrave and our entire staff is evaluating not only the quarterback position, but the there's a lot of other positions and a lot of other things going on out on the field that we have to address."

Q. Sometimes the interception is the receiver's fault because they ran the route wrong, or do you think it's Matt's fault now that you've had a chance to review the film.
A. "Again, it's a team game, and I'm going to state that over and over. I'm not going to talk about the actually fault of the play in the interception, but to categorize that it's one persons fault, I think is misleading. There's a lot of things that take place in that three and a half and four seconds from when the ball is snapped and the play is completed."

Q. Do you look for your veterans to be leaders for your younger defense?
A. "Most definitely. We've empowered our veterans from the very beginning to lead this football team. It is just not the coaching staff and it's just not the Head Coach. You've got to have messengers throughout the building on how we're going to approach things and how we're going to do things. Again, those guys have done an outstanding job to this point, and I anticipate that they will. We didn't get the outcome we wanted yesterday, but it's such fine line in terms of wins and losses in the League. You have to go out and you've got to be very precise, and I've used that word a couple of times. You've got to go out and be very precise in everything that you're doing. One person not doing his job can lead to failure on a play, and one play can be the difference in a ball game."

Q. Is Christopher Owens getting closer to competing at cornerback for you guys?
A. "Christopher had a good game yesterday on special teams. He had a really nice cover as a gunner on our punt coverage, and he continues to work hard. As we get further along in the season, if the opportunity arises that we can get Christopher out there playing, whether it's by injury, or whether it's by lack of production, we will get Christopher out there. We're always going to put ourselves in a situation where we put the best 11 players out there."

Q. You said you were very confident that Michael Turner would play again. Do you mean in 2009, or in his lifetime?
A. "I'm very confident that Michael Turner will play in 2009."

Q. Can you be a little more specific today about the results of his preliminary testing?
A. "We do not have to talk about injuries, and we're not going to talk about injuries until Wednesday afternoon. In the Wednesday afternoon injury report, it will state the status of Michael Turner. We're not going to give a competitive advantage to our next opponent on Monday afternoon."

Q. Matt Ryan doesn't seem to pass with the same accuracy. Is there anything that stands out to you mechanically, or can you offer any explanation?
A. "Again, we evaluate Matt and all of our players' play. We re always trying to make sure that we give all of our guys nuggets that can help them play more efficiently. That's what a coaching staff is supposed to do. The numbers are the numbers of where we are now. We are working with Matt, and we are working with all of our players so that we will play more efficiently this week. That's an occurrence that happens every week; win, lose, or draw. We're trying to make our players be the best that they can be."

Q. How did Will Svitek do yesterday?
A. "I thought Will handled his role very well. He was kind of thrown into it two weeks ago. We made a game time decision, prior to kickoff by about an hour and a half that we were going to keep Sam Baker down. Will, I thought, handled it very well. I thought our offense kept our quarterback clean. There were no sacks in the ballgame and that is a group over there on the other side with Julius Peppers that can rush the passer very, very effectively."

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