Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference

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**Opening Statement:

**"As I said yesterday, it's not fun when you don't win. We didn't play the type of football that you're going to win a lot of games when you play that way. We have got a lot of things to work on and we will continue to work on it."

**On whether he expects to hear from the League regarding William Moore's hit on QB Josh Freeman Sunday:

**"It was called a late hit. Again, whether he was a defenseless player, that will be something that I'm sure the League will determine but that was a personal foul, late-hit penalty is what they called it, not helmet-to-helmet."

**On the play of the offensive line:

**"Not only are you trying to figure that out, we are as well. We have not protected our quarterback like we have in the past and that's something that we have to look at schematically first. That's the first thing we have to look at and then the second thing that we have to look at is the personnel. Right now, those are the two things that we're looking at and, really, those are the two options that you have when things aren't going the way that you would like in a certain area."

**On whether the issue on the offensive line was simply being beat or Tampa's defense overloading:

**"I would say that's fairly correct. It was not only one guy. It was across the board. Sometimes what you see on tape or you see on TV, if you don't know what the protection is, you don't know what the responsibility of each player is. Again, we are very disappointed in the way that we have protected our quarterback in the first three ball games."

**On Todd McClure having any rust in his first game back since his injury:

**"I don't think he had any rust. He came back and fit right back in and, for the most part, I thought he played a pretty consistent game. We really had a struggle in terms of controlling the line of scrimmage, especially there in the first half, not only in our pass protection but in our ability to run the football. We can't go out there and have, I believe, seven attempts for 10 yards in the first half of a ball game. I don't think that we're going to like where we are at halftime."

**On the play of WR Julio Jones and WR Julio Jones:

**"That is a positive. We got the pass game going. Again, you'd like to have the ratio of runs to pass be a little bit closer than what they were yesterday. We probably didn't run it effectively enough in the first half to keep going with it so we went to the pass game and I thought that Matt (Ryan) did a fairly good job of distributing the ball. Of course, everybody has to take ownership of what happened. When you don't win, it's not one guy, it's not one side of the ball. For example, our special teams put us in a hole with two holding penalties on kickoffs where we had to start inside the 10-yard line. It's everybody. It's not just one group. In terms of what we got accomplished yesterday, it wasn't good enough."

**On whether the desire for explosive plays has affected their run-first mentality:

**"I don't believe so. Again, when we say adding explosiveness to our football team and I've said this before, we're talking about adding explosiveness to our team, not just our offense. We made the move in terms of the draft. We also made a move in free agency to help us become more explosive on the defensive side of the ball with adding a pass rusher. Again, we have been very uncharacteristic in the way that we've played in terms of our consistency in the first three ball games and that's the thing that we definitely have to work on, is being consistent. There are spurts in the ball game that you'll see that we're doing things very well and then there are other times that it's just not up to our level of expectations."

**On if he believes there is an area in which the team is meeting expectations based on consistency:

**"No, I would say across the board we have not been consistent in any phase, our special teams, our offense or our defense. We have not played to the form that we need to be playing. Even though it's three games into the season, we anticipate that we're going to be in midseason form in game one. That's what our mindset has always been at the start of the season since we've been here and, right now, we are not operating as efficiently or effectively as we need to and as we're capable of."

**On whether it was a conscious decision to move away from the run after halftime:

**"I don't think it was a conscious thing. It was a conscious effort that we were going to get into our no huddle offense. We wanted to get into that and, of course, that's going to dictate if you're going to run or throw the ball based on how people are defending you. Most of the looks that we got were looks for us to throw the football and that's why we were throwing the football more in the second half."

**On if they were surprised on how much man-coverage Tampa Bay played and on placing DB Aqib Talib on Jones:

**"It wasn't 100 percent of the time, but the majority of the time, they did. It was a little different strategy than what they had done last season. Again, some people will put their best guy on their best guy in their mind or they'll put their best guy on their number two guy and give safety help to the other side. They mixed it up and my hats off to them. They were the better team yesterday. They performed when they had to and we didn't."

**On LB Mike Peterson's play in place of LB Stephen Nicholas:

**"I thought Mike was solid. It was a difficult situation because he had not taken very many reps during the week. Stephen Nicholas, on Friday, tweaked his calf and was not able to play so it was basically about halfway through our practice on Friday that Mike Peterson started getting reps at that position. Mike is a veteran. He understands. I thought he was very active in the game and I thought he did a pretty good job when he stepped in and played the Sam linebacker for us."

**On the play of the secondary:

**"I thought that the secondary did some good things. Again, the only statistic that we really care about is the 'W', I can assure you that. That's the most important thing. In terms of comparing it to the other two ball games, statistically, we didn't not give up as many pass yards or as many points as we had in the other ball games. I thought that their tackling was a little bit crisper and we had some tighter coverage. I thought there was some improvement from the first two weeks."

**On having an offense that is known for its late-game comebacks being stopped short by the penalty on fourth down:

**"Well, let me say this one more time. That penalty and that play was not really the difference in that ball game. We turned the football over in the red zone early on. We weren't able to execute like we wanted to. We are, of course, disappointed that we didn't get a four minute stop on defense, but that one play wasn't the difference in the game and that one player's miscue wasn't the reason that we lost that football game. It's every guy in that locker room, including me, that didn't get the job done and didn't play up to their best ability or coach to their best ability. I just want to make that clear, that we don't look at that one play and that one play by that one player and say that's the reason that the Atlanta Falcons lost that football game because that's far from the case. There were a lot of people who contributed to the outcome yesterday."

**On only having scored one offensive touchdown on the road:

**"We have not played well on the road. There's no doubt about that, especially in terms of getting the ball in the endzone. We've got to do a better job of that. I would not have expected it. I don't think anybody would expect that of any team, much less our football team, to have the lack of production that we've had on the road to this point."

**On whether he sensed any instability on the offensive line in the preseason:

**"Not at all. Again, the real season starts on that second weekend in September. You're going to see a whole lot of different things. We just have not executed. We have to evaluate, first and foremost, scheme and then evaluate the personnel and that's the process we're going through. You don't see things like this coming. You've got to have a positive attitude in terms of how you go out and prepare your football team and you certainly hope they'll go out and play as efficiently and effectively as they can. To this point, we have not done that, especially in the two ball games on the road. It's not the characteristic that we want to have. You've got to be able to win on the road in the NFL."

**On whether there will an open competition on the offensive line:

**"There's competition on all positions. We've done it earlier in the season at other positions on the team and we'll do it at the offensive line as well. Again, we'll let that play out during the week and try to put the best guys out there. That's our job as a coaching staff is to make sure we have our best guys out there that give us what we feel is the best opportunity to win.'

**On Spencer Adkins:

**"He was active this week and he was involved in some of our substitution packages and he also was a core special teams player this week. Based on the health of Stephen Nicholas, it will dictate whether Spencer will be back up this week or not. Of course, we'll have an injury report on Wednesday afternoon."

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