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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


Opening Statement:
"Even though we didn't get the outcome we wanted yesterday, I thought that our guys played extremely hard and with a lot of resiliency. I was very pleased with the way that the offense played in the second half of the ball game. To score on every possession that they had, and to come from behind from 14 points in the fourth quarter, and to force overtime was a sign of that. I also was proud of the way that the defense played on those last two drives to force the punts to get the ball back over to the offense. We made a lot of mistakes in all three phases. We can look back at each one of those phases and if we could have a play here or there go differently, we would be talking about a completely different outcome."

Q. Were you pleased with your drives in the red zone?
A. "Yes, on the offensive side of the ball we have really started to hit our stride in terms of our red zone efficiency. Unfortunately it's something that we were doing very well defensively at the beginning of the season and we have not been as efficient as we would of liked to be. I thought that we operated very well offensively in terms of converting four out of the five times we were down there."

Q. You had five scoring drives out of nine. Do you think that's a little under?
A. "Yes it is. You're normally going to get somewhere between 10 and 12 series. It did get shortened up because there were some long drives. I believe we had a 19-play drive in the second half. They had two long drives. Their first two drives in the second half were long drives as well. The way the game went in the second half, it was destined to be an eight or nine series game."

Q. They entered the game dominating time possession, but you came back. Was that a goal you set out to do?
A. "Well yes it was. This team possesses the ball at almost thirty-four and a half minutes per game. We won the possession battle in three of the four quarters. The first quarter we did not. After the turnover, their first drive we went three and out. Then they took the ball down and drove it. We felt like it was something that would give us a chance. If we could keep the time of the possession close, then we'd be there at the end of the ball game."

Q. As far as tight ends, you've played Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, Greg Olsen, and then Kevin Boss. What happened there?
A. "Boss was very effective in the ballgame. With some of the route progressions they were running, he was the primary read. With what they were trying to do and how they were trying to attack our defense, we gave up a play in man coverage. We gave up a play in zone coverage, and we gave up a play in a fire zone, so he basically got us on the trifecta. We did not cover him as well as we needed to."

Q. What was different about Matt Ryan at the end of the game?
A. "We were very effective in the second half. We had four possessions; we scored three touchdowns and had the field goal. I was pleased with the we way that we moved the football. We made some very good adjustments at halftime, and changed some things. We also allowed Matt to work from the no-huddle. He worked in and out of the no-huddle. It wasn't an exclusive no-huddle but it was based on down and distance, the situation, and the field position. I thought that was a big change up for us and that Matt ran the offense very efficiently when we put him in those no-huddle situations."

Q. What would you change about the NFL overtime rule?
A. "I can't say I would change it, because I can't. The rule is the rule. It's an extra quarter, and you're playing it just like normal game. You flip the coin and you go out and play. First team to score wins. I really don't know that I can comment any further than that."

Q. Are there any changes you would make on the pass defense to avoid games like that?
A. "Eli had a very good game. We obviously did not play the pass very well. It's a combination, like I've mentioned many times. It's a combination of pass rush, linebacker play and secondary play. We have to continue to work on that. I don't know any other way to approach this but to continue to evaluate it as a coaching staff and work hard. I know that these guys are going to work extremely hard at getting the corrections that we need to make. It was obvious in the game on Sunday that we did not play a very efficient pass defense."

Q. Can you give us an early scouting report on the Buccaneers?
A. "I haven't really had a whole lot of time today. We're finishing up the Giants. I know that they have a young rookie quarterback that's a big, strong, armed thrower that can also run the football. I know that they have now the wide receiver that they've been missing back. I really have not had an opportunity."

Q. Tye Hill did not play yesterday. Can you evaluate that position?
A. "I can assure you that we're going to evaluate every position on our defense and if there's going to be any personnel changes, you'll see them at 1 o'clock on Sunday afternoon."

Q. Will Christopher Owens be a part of that mix also?
A. "He has been playing on special teams for us. Any guy on our 45-man roster, or anybody that we add to our roster will be part of that mix."

Q. Is there something to do to cut down the explosive plays?
A. "It's obvious that we are at the back of the League in giving up explosive plays of 20 yards or more. It's something that has been our Achilles' heel. As I mentioned we are going to evaluate as a staff, not only scheme but also personnel, and come up with the answers that give us the best opportunity to be successful. Again, the game yesterday, they had seven plays for 234 yards. When you give up seven plays for 234 yards, you're not going to get the results that you want."

Q. Is there any explanation why John Abraham's sack production has gone down from last year?
A. "I think that they are scheming Abe. His is going to get a lot of attention after last year with 16.5 sacks. People are scheming him and he has not had the production that he had last year, which was a pro bowl year. This year we've got to continue to evaluate how we're using him and how we're going to get him free. That's something that we have to do as a coaching staff."

Q. You moved him around a great deal last year. Is that still an option?A. "I would say all options are open. Again, in terms of the way that we played pass defense yesterday, we have to look at everything and everybody."

Q. Have you been able to figure out the specifics of what's going wrong in terms of the snap, the hold, the kick and timing?
A. "That is an operation that has not been smooth for us over the last two games, and it's cost us points. Again, I'm not going to call out one person in terms of how it should go. It is a sequence that we have to snap the ball when the snapper gets the signal, and the kicker has to kick the ball on time. Right now, we are not doing that efficiently."

Q. It sounds like your stopping just short of calling for a defensive shake-up.
A. "No, I'm not calling for a defensive shake-up at all. I'm saying that we're going to evaluate just like we do on Mondays, every week. Unfortunately we didn't get the outcome we wanted yesterday afternoon, and I'm not calling for a shake-up at all. I'm just saying that we're going to continue to evaluate. It's the only way I know how to approach it when things didn't go the way you wanted them to go and you didn't get the outcome that you want. You have to go to work, put your head down and evaluate everything."

Q. On offense it seems that other teams are trying to take away Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. How do you beat them with other guys?
A. "I thought that Tony yesterday took that ballgame over there in the fourth quarter. I don't think there's any doubt about that. In the fourth quarter of the ball game when it was on the line, they tried to stop him and they couldn't stop him. He did a great job in the fourth quarter."

Q. Is Eric Weems a guy that could figure into the offense later down the line?
A. "Eric continues to play well on special teams. He's also a guy that when he's had the opportunities on offense to make plays, he's made plays. I think it's obvious that when you're making plays you should get more opportunities to catch the ball."

Q. Can you give us an update on Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner?
A. "They are working very hard in the training room to get better. I know that they spent a lot of time in there with Ron Medlin, and they continue to do that tomorrow. As we get towards Wednesday we are anxious to see Jerious and Michael back out there, but I can't say if they're going to be out there or not."

Q. With Matt Ryan's two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game, what does that do to his learning curve?
A. "I think it accelerates it. It would have been a lot more beneficial if we would have come back from two touchdowns and won the game, but I think that in terms of building confidence for our offense and for our team that we can bring that type of deficit with half of a quarter still to play. I think it's big. I also think it builds confidence for our defense even though we were struggling in the game yesterday. We were able to get the stops in the fourth quarter. If we don't get the stops, the offense doesn't have an opportunity to get the ball back."

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