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Transcript: Mike Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike SmithOpening Statement:

"Good afternoon.  Obviously, in Arizona yesterday we did not play very good football, made lots of mistakes.  Not specifically in one phase, across the board."

On there being a lot of regression this season:

"We've not been able to sustain much through the first seven games of the season.  I don't believe yesterday we sustained a whole lot from the things we had done in the previous week.  As I said after the game, when you give up explosive plays that lead to touchdowns or are touchdowns, turn the ball over 4 times, don't protect your quarterback, getting him hit, your setting up a formula for not being successful, and we were not very successful yesterday."

On why they have not been able to sustain the positives:

"I think there are a number of factors.  You can never make excuses, and if I talked about those factors I think they would come across as excuses.  We've got to make sure we are prepared each and every week to go out and execute the game plan.  We are not.  We didn't sustain anything in terms of what we put on the practice field, and then went out and did not do it during the game. "

On watching tape of Ellington and studying it and getting the results they did:

"It's very discouraging.  Andre Ellington was one of the guys we listed as a potential game wrecker.  He is a rookie player but we saw the ability he has to make explosive plays.  When you give up your edge like we did in the ballgame yesterday on that specific play, you've got everybody chasing and he's got the speed to take it the distance.  He ran 80 yards on us, simply because we did not set the edge of the defense.  When you have guys that have speed like that they are going to make you pay, and unfortunately we had to pay yesterday."

On some of the veterans being out that play and what they will do with the defense rotation:

"We have a good solid rotation, so we will have our guys ready to go in the fourth quarter. We have a set plan of where it was, that ball was on the minus 20 yard line.  The rotation was set before the game.  It wasn't like it was a critical time in the ballgame where you want to have your frontline players in. It's a long game; this was in the second quarter.   We wanted to make sure we have our guys ready to go in the fourth quarter.  The majority of the games we have played this year have come down to the last drive.  We anticpate that happening eveyr week."

On the safeties looking inconsistent:

"I don't' want to pinpoint and talk about one specific group. We haven't been consistent in anything we've done guys in seven games.  That is the entire football team, the entire coaching staff.  Those two guys you mentioned were Pro Bowl players last year.  They put up lots of good stats, lots of good numbers."

On Steven Jackson:

"It was hard to really see anything yesterday in terms of our ability to run the football.  We weren't able to move the line of scrimmage.  Whether it was Steven Jackson or Jacquizz Rodgers running the football, they never really got a chance to get it going. To run the football you have to win the line of scrimmage, and it is not just the offensive line that is involved when you win the line of scrimmage.  You have to win at the tight end and wide receiver position as well, especially when you play eight man fronts, which they did a bunch yesterday."

On him having a long list of problems:

"Well, I think you have to be transparent and talk about your issues.  You've got to understand what everyone understands what is expected.  Obviously, the performance yesterday was not up to the level we need to have it at, to be the team we are capable of being. Those are situational things that we talked about yesterday, those explosive plays we talk about them all the time.  We talked about turnover ratio.  When you don't win the turnover ratio you are not going to win the ballgame. It happens maybe 10% of the time when you're minus three, maybe even less than that."

On this being the first time the opposing team got more physical throughout the game:

"They were a very physical football team.  Their defensive front was probably as good as we've faced.  They've got some very good players, not only at the defensive line but at the linebacker position as well.  We were not as efficient as we needed to be at running the ball and protecting the quarterback.  A lot of that comes down to physical play and who can be more physical."

On how confident he is that they can get more consistent:

"I am very confident.  That is a strong group of men in that locker room, that is a coaching staff that works extremely hard.  We are going to do everything in our power to play more consistently.  That is what you have to do.  You've got to learn from your experiences every week.  Sometimes they are not great experiences, they're negative experiences, but you've got to learn from them.  I know that our guys will earn from them.  We have been consistently inconsistent through the first seven games of this season."

On the trade deadline and any thoughts of any moves:

"No consideration of that at all."

On the injuries to key players and what they should still be doing better in spite of them:

"Injuries are going to happen in this League.  You can't make them part of the formula in terms of preparation.  We put together a roster every week with 46 men and they are expected to go out and play. We are not going to even address the injuries.  We know they are going to happen.  When they happen, next man has got to step up.  We have not played the football that we need to play, especially yesterday. Through the first seven games, this was probably the most inconsistent in a number of areas."

On Roddy White coming back next week:

"Roddy is going to continue to work.  He started running outside with the trainers last week.  He was out of the training room and out on the field.  We certainly hope he will continue to progress.  It will be up to the doctors in terms of them making the decision on when he will be able to return to play."

On being in playoff games from here on out:

"Well, I think we have been in that mode for three weeks to be quite honest with you.  Our team talking about one game at a time, digging out of the hole we are in, and the only way you can do it is take it one day at a time. You can't look down the road.  Our focus today, has to be on the Atlanta Falcons getting better as a football team, making the corrections we need to make, and quickly moving on to the Carolina Panthers who are playing very good football."

On how to correct physical play:

"That is the most physical part of the game, in the trenches.  There were times there were mental mistakes, there not always physical mistakes.  There are times it looks like it's in one area but it is actually somewhere else.  It is a game of leverage; it's a game of low man wins.   You have to practice that out on the practice fields.  You get an opportunity to do that in pads once a week.  That is set by the collective bargaining agreement.  We will continue to take the work from the practice field and put it on the game field."

On how playing Carolina is always tough to play no matter the record:

"I think the NFC South is the most competitive division.  Whether its Tampa, Carolina or New Orleans, the games usually come down to a possession or two, especially at the end of the ballgame.  They are a very good football team, their defense is outstanding.  They are not giving up a whole lot of points.  Their quarterback is playing with a whole lot of confidence.  Mike Shula, the new offensive coordinator, is doing a great job with their offensive personnel. "

On how much of Matt Ryan's interceptions were because of pressure:

"I'm not going to talk specifically about each play.  There are a number of factors that go into when a play is not efficient.  In the entire game, not just on the interceptions, we had way too much pressure on the quarterback yesterday in the ballgame."

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