Transcript: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:

"Ok, guy and ladies. That was a hard fought game yesterday afternoon in the Dome, but before I open it up for questions, I'd like to address the last 55 seconds of the game. After reflecting and analyzing on how that played out, I would've done some things differently, given an opportunity to think about it through the night, and doing some analyzing. I didn't do the things that needed to be done to put our guys in the best position to win the game. There's lots of plays in a football game that can affect the outcome, and I didn't do my best to help us win yesterday, and with that I'll open it up for questions."

On how difficult the process was on coming to the conclusion that calling the timeout wasn't the right decision:

"Again guys, you go through it and you make decision and they're made on the fly, and it was a decision that didn't give us the best opportunity to win. As a coach, it is your intention to always put your players in the best position to win. There were a lot of plays in that game, and it usually comes down to a handful of plays and I didn't put the guys in the best position."

On Andre Ellington:

"He's a big threat. He's a very good running back, in terms of running the ball from the backfield, but catching it, too. They use him as a change of pace back. I haven't seen a whole lot of tape on him this year, but last year he had a monster season. Coach Arians is doing a very good job with their team; they've got the best record in the NFC right now."

On whether they should've had a play ready on the third and two play instead of calling the timeout:

"Again guys, we wanted to get the best, what we felt like, was the best play for us. Again, as I mentioned, I didn't do my job as the head football coach and put our guys in the best position that they possibly could be in that situation, and it's my responsibility as a head coach to make sure that that happens."

On the secondary and the injuries to the secondary:

"Again, injuries are not an excuse in the NFL. We got to make those plays. There's opportunities to get off the field, we've got to get off the field. We need to stop them. It was way too easy."

On whether they'll get William Moore back this Sunday:

"William is going to put the pads on and practice with us this week, and we'll see how he makes it through the week, but he is eligible to return to game activity. If everything goes well, we'll sure welcome him back with open arms because he's a very good player for us."

On the missed tackles against the Browns:

"We did not tackle well on defense; we gave up too many explosive plays, not only in the pass game, but in the run game. There were two plays, one where we lost leverage on a scoring play, one where the back cut all the way back across the field and there were three missed tackles on that play. Again guys, when you don't tackle well you're going to give up some explosions, and we gave up too many explosive plays in the game yesterday, and we didn't create enough. We were not good at the throwing the ball down the field."

On only converting three of eight passes down the field:

"Well, I thought that we had some opportunities. Sometimes they were covered, sometimes they weren't, and we have to hit those. I felt like there was five that we felt like we had opportunities down the field and create an explosive for us. We didn't create explosive plays on the offensive side. We were giving them up on the offensive side, and didn't create them on the offensive side. When you have a discrepancy in that ratio it's hard because you're getting chunks when you get them, and you're giving up chunks when you allow them."

On whether converting those down field passes would've slowed down the Browns' blitzes:

"Well, yes. We felt like we had to take some shots down the field. It's important to create explosive plays, and we didn't do it yesterday. I thought for the most part, except for the breakdown and some things that we had seen, there wasn't anything that we hadn't seen. We handled their blitz package fairly well. Some of the things that they sacked us on the three sacks were 'Ned the first grade reader' type blitzes and pressures."

On whether the secondary disguised things and took away things:

"Well, yeah they're going to try and make sure that they take away our best players. Everybody puts a game plan together to do that, and we didn't get it done yesterday, in terms of the type of production that we have to get to create explosive plays and that involves everybody. You can't just look at say, 'The quarterback didn't make the throw, the receiver didn't make the catch.' There's often times that the receiver is maybe open, but the quarterback has to step up, and there's some pressure that doesn't allow it to be thrown there on time. There's a number of factors. We've got to be better at it though, there's no doubt about that."

On how you improve on tackling in the middle of the season:

"Well, you've got to be better at seeing your target, and running through the tackle. That's what took place yesterday. We were falling off of the tackles, those were big backs. You fall off a tackle because you don't see your targets, and you don't run through the tackle; we've got to get better at it. We can drill it, but we can't do it full speed. That's one of the things that happens in the NFL and college football, one of the things you don't get a whole lot of is tackling full speed. You can run routes and defend people full speed, but you don't get an opportunity to do that in practice."

On whether Matt Ryan and Julio Jones weren't in synch yesterday:

"We had some opportunities yesterday, guys. As I said, and you've said it, you've seen the numbers, on throws down the field of 20-yards of more we were three of eight. That meant that we missed five of them, and if you can hit two of those, three of those then you're percentage is a lot higher."

On whether they were out of synch:

"No, they weren't out of synch, in terms of production yesterday it wasn't what we would like to have. We'd like to have a higher percentage ratio than what we did."

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