Falcons head coach Mike Smith said Tuesday that he feels he has properly addressed the issue of special teams coverage and allowing big plays in that phase of the game
On how Tuesday's practice went:
"I thought it went well. We weren't in pads today. It was an abbreviated practice in terms of what we would normally on this Thursday-Friday combination day, but I thought that the guys worked hard. Last night, we came out and had a walk through and this was really our first day and really our only hard day that we're going to put in this week."
On whether a short week is more difficult physically or preparation-wise:
"I really believe for the guys it's the physical part, the bounce back. Often times these guys are held out of practice until Thursday and to go out and have to play a game on Thursday it takes some extra work in the training room for our Athletic Performance Department. The guys have done a really good job though."
On the Baltimore defense:
"They are very multiple and I think they have one of the premier safeties in the league in S Ed Reed. I know that he was on PUP through the first six weeks of the season but he's come back and he's leading the team in interceptions. He's a very productive player. They can create some problems because of the things that they do with the different multiple packages that they have."
On what the keys to improving on kickoff coverage are:
"We've tried to look at everything this week, in terms of why we didn't perform as we needed to in the ballgame on Sunday. We've got to make sure that we've got guys in the right places; we definitely have to tackle better. We've got to kick the ball better, you can't put the ball on the ground and the timing of the play gets disrupted. There were a number of factors to the reasons why we didn't play that well. But I think we've addressed those in the last couple days and we're ready to go back out there and tee it up on Thursday."
On whether he looks at the season as two halves:
"We really break it down into quarters, so I guess we do look at it as two halves. We've been through the first two quarters and you get what you earn in this League and we're six and two and we're not playing as good as we think we can. We've left some plays out there; I think every team in the League can say that. Our guys aren't happy about it and that's a good thing for the second half of the season."
On Ravens LB Ray Lewis and the difficulty in blocking him:
"Ray is the heart and soul of that defense. He's a very physical player. He may be the smartest defensive player to ever play the game. He studies film, he's going to know your stance, he's going to know how much weight you've got on your hands, he's going to know your splits, and he's going to share that information with the rest of the team. I think that's the thing that separates him from everybody else. He's very physically talented but his preparation is just unbelievable."
On how you can try to limit Ravens RB Ray Rice:
"That's going to be a big challenge for us. Not only is Ray a good running back but he's got 31 catches and those short dump-down passes that he catches are almost like runs. He's not a tall guy but he's a very thick guy. It's going to be very important for us to make sure that we get a number of guys to him and go in and have to make sure that we have visions to the check downs."
On how the Ravens are different than when he coached them:
"I think that it's different in terms of some of the blitzing packages that they run. We were more of a four-man rush team, we felt like we had some big guys up front and we did not do as many of the exotic looks that they give, that really started when Rex Ryan became the defensive coordinator. I think that's the biggest difference but in terms of the way they play the game and the physicality I don't think it's changed. I think that's a trait that has been there since that organization came into existence when they moved from Cleveland. It's really what Ray (Lewis) is all about."
On the similarities between QB Matt Ryan and Ravens QB Joe Flacco:
"I think there are a lot of similarities. In terms of their physical structure they are about the same size. I think that they've got very good arm strength and their decision making is the thing that makes a good quarterback in this League and obviously both of those guys, if you look at their statistics through the first two years, they are very similar. I think that they are both accurate players and throwers and they both are very good decision makers. I think that over time that's what shows up on all the top quarterbacks in the League. I don't think there is a whole lot of difference in the two in terms of what they've done through their first two years."