Smith: We're Trying to Upgrade Team Speed

Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith may soon become a true fan favorite if he isn't already. While being personable, media-friendly and one who gets right to the point, perhaps above all, he's embracing the challenge set before him, leading a defense that aims to play relentlessly and cause endless anxiety for opposing teams' quarterbacks.

During his media session Tuesday, Smith welcomed the possibility of Falcons head coach Dan Quinn calling plays on defense.

"I'm not an ego person," Smith said. "As a matter of fact, if you look at a lot of teams in the league, it goes that way. Dan and I go way back; we have a very good relationship, not only as friends but coaching partners, and if that's the way it goes, you'd be crazy not to have him, because he's had the experience. It's the system that he's been in... I'm not worried about that at all." 

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, defensive coordinator Richard Smith and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong met with the media Tuesday

Regardless of which coach calls the plays on game days, the more important factor for Smith is two-fold, having the players that fit Quinn's scheme and putting them in the positions to make plays.

Smith said that while watching film of Atlanta's 2014 defense and seeing "a tremendous amount of ability," player evaluations will continue and obviously include free agency, the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2.

Ultimately, the goal on defense is much like Quinn's for entire team: attack fast and frequently.

"We're trying to see if players can play a number of positions for us, which is critical in trying to upgrade the speed of our football team," Smith said.

"There are a lot of teams that do a lot of tight-pattern matching, but in our system with reading and reacting, envision and breaking on the ball, we feel we have the better opportunity to create more turnovers that way and make big plays. We're looking for speed, great instincts and an ability to play fast and physical."

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