Transcript: Mike Smith Postgame News Conference

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Opening Statement

"I am definitely disappointed in the way our football team played today. We didn't play very well in any phase; special teams, offense or defense. I felt that we did some very uncharacteristic things as a team, starting off with the penalties. I think we had seven consecutive penalties in the ballgame, and we are one of the least penalized teams in the league [last year]. There were a number of areas we have to address. This is just our first ballgame. It is the start of the season. We obviously didn't perform in the way we are capable of performing."

On the turnovers and missed tackles

"Any time we lose a turnover battle, and we were three-to-one, and one of those turnovers was returned for a touchdown, you're going to decrease your chances of winning. We can't do that. We can't throw the ball and have it intercepted when we are moving the ball, like both of the turnovers in the first half. On another drive, we had gotten something going but we weren't able to do anything. Our leverage was not very good on the long, explosive plays. Our tackling was not the way it needs to be. You can't go out there and miss leveraging the football, with the fast speed of offensive players. That's what occurred out there today."

On reconciling today's loss

"We are going reconcile it this week, starting tomorrow. We'll get back and take a look at the film. We've got a lot of things that have to be corrected. In terms of how we're going to do that, we'll get back out there, get on the horse, jump back into the saddle and get back to work. This was not the outcome we wanted. We are disappointed, but not discouraged. It's a long season; it's week one. We will work to get it fixed, and we will get it fixed."

On the lack of explosive plays today

"There were plays designed to go into the end zone, I can assure you of that. We've got to win our one-on-ones. We're talking about explosive play in all three phases. I was encouraged that we ran the ball. Devonta Freeman had a good game, 100 yards rushing today - looking at the positives. We had way too many missed opportunities for turnovers, especially in the first quarter. Lo and behold, usually what happens when you don't convert it, when you have a chance and the ball is in your hands, they're going to come back and make a good play, which is what happened in the first quarter. Again, explosiveness is for our entire football team, it's not just the offense. We want to be explosive in all three phases."

On whether the Falcons' field position cost them

"We lost the field position battle; there is no doubt about that. We were in a hole, and got out of it a time or two, and ended up having to kick a field goal. That's the thing. When you move the ball down the field, you've got to finish those drives off with touchdowns. We did not do that. We started at our 7-yard line, went down the field, and ended up kicking a field goal on that drive. We've got to finish them off."

On whether their preseason performance should have been given more weight

"What you saw today was not up to our standards. There were times in the preseason - I think that's what you're getting at - that our play was not up to our standards. Again, you're trying to win every football game you play, whether it is regular season or preseason. In the preseason, we were looking at different things, and thought we got a lot of things accomplished. We didn't get the wins done, and obviously we didn't get it done today. And again, it's the first week of the season. There's a lot of football to be played. Let's not be saying that the sky is falling, or the buildings are crumbling. We didn't play very well today. I know that we will get things fixed. We've got a great locker room in there, and we've got a great group of men. They work very hard, and they love to compete. We'll come back and we'll get the things fixed."

On the play of Joe Hawley

"We didn't protect – statistically, we didn't protect the quarterback very well. There were some situations where they had the opportunity to pin their ears back and go, but we did not protect the quarterback. I don't want to speak to specific guys until I watch the tape, because what you see on the sideline doesn't always happen. You can't always see everything. We are going to evaluate everybody, and we're going to evaluate starting with me, like we do every week. Whether we win or lose, we're going to evaluate what we do and work to improve, because that's what you've got to do."

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