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Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference


Opening Statement:

"After reviewing the tape, I think that the stuff that I talked about last night is really how the game went. It wasn't necessarily our best effort but it was an effort that our guys put forth for 60 minutes and that's something that we pride ourselves about, about playing hard for 60 minutes. When you do that, you give yourself a chance and we were able to make some plays there at the end of the ball game and had an opportunity to get the victory."

On the total team effort last night:

"Everybody helped in the victory. We talked about doing it together. That was kind of our mantra for the week that we were going to do this together, offense, defense and special teams. All three phases contributed. On the defensive side, there were a number of big plays. We had the three turnovers so we won the turnover ratio and gave the ball to our offense on the plus side of the 50 twice and put them in the short field. Our offense did what they had to do which was put the ball in the end zone. We were five-for-five in red zone opportunities and three-for-three in goal to go's and that led to scoring 35 points. Scoring 35 points in this League is not an easy thing to do. Our special teams helped us. We got a good punt return to get the ball on a short field as well. But there are definitely things that we have to get corrected. There are a lot of things that when you watch the tape that you're going 'Oh my gosh, if they would have saw that, it could have been a little different outcome,' but that's football and that's why you go out and play the game. We're very fortunate to get the win."

On Carlton Powell and needing everybody to win the game:

"I got to speak to Carlton directly and he played about 16 snaps. We needed everybody. We knew that it was going to be that type of game. We had a couple of different packages with our secondary where we were rolling guys in and out. Everybody was going to have to contribute if we were going to have the success that we wanted to have. There were a number of guys that were unsung that we probably didn't talk about last night. We talked a little bit about Tony (Gonzalez) and the offense but there were some big plays. That was a big play by John Abraham stripping the ball and getting it off the quarterback. A great play by Peria Jerry on the tackle for loss when they were getting ready to go in and score and Ray Edwards picks the ball up and scoops it. That was good to see. A number of guys contributed all the way across the board and that's what you want to have. A team win."

On Edwards having to run for running out of steam:

"Ray was moving now. Just ask him. It was a big play. It was a game-changing play for us. They were definitely deep inside our red zone. Probably the thing about our red zone that was a little disappointing was that we shot ourselves in the foot twice in the red zone yesterday. On a third and three, we lined up offsides when we stopped them which would have forced a field goal, so that was a four point swing there. Later in the ball game, it was a second down, we had a negative yardage play. The ball was on the 15 and it was going to end up being a third and 15 on a mishandled screen and we had the roughing the passer penalty. We can help ourselves there in the red zone."

On scoring 35 points when the offense didn't play it's best:

"I believe that there are going to be a lot of points scored in the League. So far, through the first two weeks, it sure seems like that's the trend. Defenses are going to have to try to figure out ways to slow people down. It's good to score 35 points. I think there were two teams that scored more than us to my recollection. There was a 48 and a 38, I believe. When you score those types of points, you hope that you're going to be able to win the ball game and play some solid defense and not give up those types of points."

On whether Matt Ryan is in his best in the no huddle:

"Through our time here, we've been very effective with the no huddle. We use it as a change of pace. We don't always use it full time. We use is as a change of pace. In the game last night, those two 80-yard drives were in our no huddle offense. When we decide to use it is based on how the game is flowing and the field position. Unfortunately, we had to get into it later than we wanted to because of field position there in the third quarter. We wanted to get into it a little bit earlier but we were starting basically in the shadow of our goal line and that didn't allow us to get into it any earlier than that."

On whether he has heard from the league office on Dunta Robinson regarding his hit last night:

"I have not heard from the League. We've been watching tape today and in meetings today. Really, I said my piece on that last night and I probably don't need to say anything more."

On whether the film confirmed his belief about the hit being legal:

"My opinion didn't change and again, I don't really want to comment any further on that. I think I'll stand on what was said last night."

On how Ryan's performance ranks in terms of the resilient Ryan that he has seen through the years:

"That is probably as well of a two drives that I have seen Matt play in those circumstances and Matt has had a number of plays that were in those situations where we were coming back from a deficit in the fourth quarter. He hung in there very, very tough. We got some plays out of Michael Turner on those drives as well but Matt was at his best in the fourth quarter last night. It would be hard to even think of him playing in those two drives any better since we've been here."

On the offensive line struggling to protect Ryan:

"We have got to protect the quarterback in our pass protection. In terms of how we've got to do that is we've got to make sure schematically that we put our guys in the best situations and we've got to win our one-on-one matchups. We've played two very good defensive fronts in the first two ball games and we have not fared the way that we wanted to in terms of the statistics in terms of sacks given up. This is a group up front that over the last three years has been one of the top teams in protecting our quarterback and we've got to get back to playing with some continuity and some confidence in protecting our quarterback."

On the matchups that led to Gonzalez's success:

"That's what preparing the game plan each and every week is really about. It's about the matchups and the plays that we think are going to be successful. We knew going into it, in certain looks, that we were going to have a very favorable matchup at that position. That's no different this week than any week. That's what we try to do. We try to look and see what kind of matchups we're going to get and if we get those matchups, we think they're favorable and we're going to get a positive play. I can't say enough about Tony's catch for the touchdown. The one-handed catch was just phenomenal. That's going to be one that they show for a long, long time."

On Kelvin Hayden and James Sanders:

"Hayden and Sanders, I thought, performed well for their first time in there. Again, they are behind the eight ball in terms of understanding our scheme. They have crammed and jammed like no other guys that I've ever been around. They've really done a nice job in terms of trying to learn our scheme and I thought for their first action that it was a very positive performance by both of those guys."

On the play of Jacquizz Rodgers:

"Jacquizz, he's done some things that don't show up on the stat sheet as well. We had the nice run there in the fourth quarter. He had the nice pitch play where he got some positive yards. But the thing that he's done a real nice job for us is he's really done a nice job picking up blitz protection and he's also been a very good route runner. We've had some opportunities where he has beaten his guy. He's what we anticipated he was going to be in terms of a change of pace back. Like I said, he's short but he's not little. He's just short. He's a big man."

On an injury update on Hayden and Corey Peters:

"Not at this point in time. We'll get a full report Wednesday after practice. That was a physical football game. There were some guys that are sore today. We had a big group there in the training room, but nothing abnormal. Normally what happens on Mondays, we have a bunch of guys with some bumps and bruises. Tomorrow, we'll be off as we game plan for Tampa Bay. We'll get back out here on Wednesday and we really want to start focusing on our first division opponent who had a big come from behind game up in Minnesota."

On overcoming youthful mistakes with Matt Bosher:

"We know that when you have a young player and especially one of the specialists, they're going to have some rookie moments and I think we had some of those yesterday. He had seven punts and I think two of them were really tough for us to overcome. The 18-yarder coming out of the end zone was not the type of kick that we want to have, but you're going to have those moments with young punters, young specialists. But Matt has a lot of resolve. He's very resilient. I think anybody that's on our roster, all 53 of the guys showed that last night. I think Matt will have his moments but he'll continue to mature and get his job done."

On allowing nine explosive plays:

"That's a very explosive offense, probably more so than we played in the first week. In the three years prior playing those guys, we've probably given up more explosive plays. That's what they live and die by. They live and die by the explosive plays. I don' think there was a re-occurring theme. I thought we tackled much better from week one to week two in terms of our explosive plays. We had some communication issues on defense last night in terms of the crowd. The crowd noise was just unbelievable and it was difficult for our defensive players to communicate. People don't understand that when you play at home for a defensive football team, it's very hard to communicate and we didn't do a good enough job with our hand signals and getting the communication. There were some communication issues on defense that led to those explosive plays."

On the attitude on the sideline knowing that they have had multiple fourth-quarter comebacks before:

"This is a team that doesn't blink. I've said it many times, this is a team that stays focused, knows what the task is and they go out and, to the best of their abilities, try to perform. That's really how we approach things. We are a team that has zoom focus. When I say zoom focus, our focus last week, when we got together on Monday to watch the tape of the previous game, once we were done with that, we had our focus 100 percent on the Philadelphia Eagles. Our world gets shrunk. Our world is Flowery Branch and this facility. When we come into this facility, we are concerned about one thing and that's preparing for our next opponent. To a man, that's how our guys prepared this week. All of the outside noise doesn't affect us. The things that affect us are the things that we can control and that's getting prepared for a good opponent. What will happen this week is we will go into that same mode. Come Wednesday, when we get together, we will be talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and nothing else."

On the difference of being 1-1 rather than 0-2:

"In terms of confidence, this is a confident group. We'd much rather be 2-0 than 1-1 and of course we'd rather be 1-1 than 0-2. But our group is very confident. It's a quiet confidence in terms of we know what we have to do and how we have to prepare. You don't want to put yourself into too deep of a hole, but this is a long season. Just like there were ebbs and flows in the game last night, there's going to be ebbs and flows during this season where teams across the League that you think are playing great football, they may go and have a couple of tough weeks or some outcomes that they don't want to have. What you have to do is you have to focus on the task at hand and not worry about what's going on around you. That's what these guys do and it starts really from the leadership of not only the older guys but the guys who have been around here and who know how we try to do business. We're very business-like. We like to have fun, but we are very business-like when we get out there on the practice field."

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