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Transcript: Mike Smith news conference


Head coach Mike Smith confirmed that cornerback Dunta Robinson has a concussion and that he will need to be cleared by an independent doctor before returning to the field. Smith also said linebacker Sean Weatherspoon would be ruled out for Sunday's game against the Bengals

Opening Statement:

"As I mentioned yesterday, it was a tough day for the Atlanta Falcons, all three phases as well as coaching. Anytime you fall behind by 21 points early in the ballgame it's going to be tough sledding. Defensively, you can't let people throw the ball over your head, you give up three explosive touchdowns, you're going to have a tough day. Offensively, when you can't get things moving especially early in the ballgame you get a sense where you're starting to get a little frustrated and we did not move the ball early on in the ballgame. It took us to the sixth drive to move the ball efficiently and the seventh drive off of the turnover we were able to score some points. From a special teams perspective you can't give up a 44-yard return. All in all, it was not a good performance. We've got a lot of work to do. We finished watching the tape and we are on to the Cincinnati Bengals as far as our preparation."

On whether he saw what the problems were with the pass defense when watching film:

"They were using a lot of max protection, so when you're using seven-man and six-man protections the guys that are going to be targeted are going to be the wide receivers. They threw the ball effectively. We had a plan that we hoped to execute more effectively, we did not execute it as effectively in terms of the six and seven-man protection that they were running. They definitely were going to make sure that they protected the quarterback and that's why the balls went to the wide receivers in the game yesterday."

On what went wrong on the redzone possession in the beginning of the second half:

"On one of the plays one of our receivers got tripped up, they were probably going to be open but he got tripped up. We had to force the ball down. The second pass play that we had down there was a blitz and we had to throw hot and we ended up being short from getting the first down. Again, we've got to continue to address this. We know that it's something that we have to get better at, in terms of our redzone efficiency, because it's not where it needs to be right now."

On CB Dunta Robinson's status:

"Right now Dunta is in the league-concussion protocol. He will go through this week and we'll have to wait and see that he gets cleared by an independent doctor. That's where we're at in terms of him physically. We all know Dunta, he's been in this league a long time. He's a guy that plays the game very, very hard. That was a bang-bang play in terms of the contact. From my vantage point it looked like there was no helmet-to-helmet contact, but it was a bang-bang play. I am glad that both of those guys are going to be alright because it was a big time hit."

On the new rule regarding hitting defenseless players:

"It's a very complicated rule. It's not just head-to-head contact, it's contact with the shoulder pads or the arm, any part of the body with the helmet or the neck area. A defenseless player, the definition I'm not 100 percent exactly with how they want to say that a guy is defenseless. Again, it was a bang-bang play in the ballgame and I am glad that both of those guys are going to be alright."

On whether he has ever seen a tougher play in his career:

"That was two guys moving very fast going for the same thing and that was the ball. It was a very, very explosive play."

On all the elements that are involved in that play:

"I don't want to get into the details because I don't know all the details of the rule and how it is officiated. But I know this, the league rules are for players' safety. We definitely know that."

On whether he was surprised by the Eagles offensive line:

"They did a good job with their scheme yesterday in terms of how they were going to pass protect. They were using some six and seven man protections. We still felt like going into the game that we were going to be able to effect the quarterback. That was one of the things that we didn't do effectively yesterday in the ballgame. That was a big part of our must. We talk about the things that we must do to have a chance to succeed and we didn't get that done yesterday."

On getting WR Michael Jenkins back and his production in the game:

"It was good to have Michael back. Michael made a big play there early in the game where we had one explosive play. He caught the skinny post and we got the ball down there in the redzone. Of course, unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on it. Michael made another play in an attack situation over there on their sideline. It was good to get him indoctrinated into our gameplan. He played approximately 40 snaps in the ballgame yesterday."

On how they get back to 'starting fast':

"We've got to start faster. Historically since we've been here this is a team that has started fast. We've outscored our opponents significantly in the first quarter; we are not doing it right now. It's something that we have to continue to work on. It's something that we as a coaching staff, it's not just the players, it's the coaching staff. We've got to make sure that we put our guys in the best opportunity to be successful. Right now, we're not getting that done."

On whether the misdirection plays are going to be an area of emphasis this week:

"We've got to be a lot more sound in that area. It wasn't a good start to the ballgame, defensively, when the second play of the game they run the ball for a touchdown on a reverse. That was something we knew that they were going to do. They were going to run reverses, they were going to run ghost plays and throw the ball off of it. We did not execute very well on those plays. It's something that we definitely prepared for, that's what the west coast offenses do. They're going to run the same plays over and over. They're going to put a little window dressing around it but basically when the ball is snapped you're going to pretty much know where the guys are going to be. They did some things formationally but when the ball was snapped they were right where they were when we practiced it."

On whether LB Curtis Lofton suffered a serious injury and other injury updates:

"No. Nothing to report on Curtis Lofton. It should not be an issue. In terms of some of the injury issues, it looks like right now LB Sean Weatherspoon is going to be held out this week. There's nothing that we can do except just rest him. We're going to try to get him back now after the bye week. He has not responded as quickly as we thought so we will rule him out for the game this week and hopefully get him back after the bye week. That's probably the biggest news in terms of injuries. The other guys, we've got some bumps and bruises and we'll have to wait to see where they are on Wednesday."

On whether suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits can lead to cleaning up the problem around the league:

"I don't want to comment on that. That's something that's a league matter. I commented earlier on that specific play but I really don't want to get involved in that. I'm just glad that the two players that were involved in it are going to be okay."

On how CB Brian Williams performed after coming in for CB Dunta Robinson:

"Brian Williams came in and I thought that he did some good things in terms of playing the nickel position because of the injury to Dunta we had to make a double switch. CB Christopher Owens had to go out and play corner and Brian Williams had to come in and play the nickel position which he was playing for us last year."

On whether he was satisfied with the protection from the offensive line:

"We had too much pressure yesterday to put it very frankly. We've got to protect our quarterback better. There were three sacks given up and too many pressures. That's something that we've got to make sure that we get firmed up as we get ready for Cincinnati this week."

On opponents completing 68 percent of passes against us:

"We happen to lead the league in interceptions so I guess when they're not completing it they may be throwing it to us. I love to have a little humor here today. It depends on what your plan is on how you're trying to defend someone, if you're going to let someone throw it short and underneath and rally up then you're going to give up those completions. If you're playing match coverage and tight coverage then you don't want to have that. We've gone into different games with different philosophies. Philosophically how we're going to defend the pass is going to change week in and week out."

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