Head coach Mike SmithOpening Statement:
"Today's game, like most games in the NFL, is about winning the line of scrimmage. We did not do that on either side of the football. Offensively, our quarterback was under duress all day. We weren't able to establish the running game, and I thought after the first couple of drives at least we played a little bit better. We lost the turnover battle. You can't give the ball to our opponent have them return it for touchdowns multiple times. That was the difference in the game, and with that I'll open it up for questions."
On how disappointed he was in the performance:
"You guys saw the game. Very disappointed in terms of how we performed. Not acceptable, at all."
On how concerned he is with his future:
"Ma'am, I've answered this many times. I'm here as the head football coach until Arthur Blank tells me anything different."
On what he said to the team in the locker room after the loss:
"This is not how you want to finish. I appreciate their hard work all this season, but this is not the way that you want to finish. Hopefully, the guys that are going to be here in the future will remember it."
On whether he believes his staff deserves to come back:
"I'm not going to comment. That's not my choice. This is a business about winning football games, and that's how you're judged. I understand that, and I'll leave it at that."
On how much Matt Ryan's pick-six affected the momentum of the game:
"Again guys, when you turn the ball over and you get where your defense isn't even out on the field when they're scoring that's tough to overcome. Statistically, when you throw pick-sixes you're not going to like where you're at."
On what he wishes he would've done better:
"I wish I would've done a whole lot of things better. Ultimately, I'm the one that's held responsible. This is a 6-10 football team, and there's one person that the record's attributed to, and that's the head football coach. We were 6-10 in 2014. There are a whole lot of things I could've done differently and better. They're all learning experiences, and I will take those and in the future make sure that I don't make the same mistakes that I made this season."
On the effort of the players on that second pick-six:
"Guys I didn't see. I saw guys trying to get him down. I didn't see a specific player, and I'm not going to attribute a comment about things I didn't see."
On the last two seasons and how difficult they've been:
"When you don't win, it's not fun. We know what the expectations are. We set the bar very high here from the very first day. We won a lot of football games, and in the last two years we haven't been able to do that. This is a business about what have you done for me lately. Obviously, the season this year was not up to the expectations of me or anybody in the organization, nor any of our fans."
On the report on ESPN about the team hiring a search firm:
"Look guys, I'm not going to comment about what you guys talk about, and what you guys have. There's distractions every day you go to work. When you go to work you have distractions at your work. When I go to work I have distractions at my work. I'm not going to comment about some report that probably has no validity to it."
On the practices this week after coming off the big win and whether there was anything that led him to believe this might happen:
"Absolutely not. Shocked that the way that the ball game went. Thought we had a good week of preparation, but we didn't execute obviously across the board."
On whether this losing season sends any signals that there are problems within the organization:
"It sends signals to me that I didn't get the job done. I'm the one that's held responsible for it. No one else in this building is, and it's my responsibly for the seasons that we've had the entire time that we've been here."
Quarterback Matt RyanOn difficulty in the pocket today:
"Across the board we didn't do a very good today. Hats off to Carolina, they came down and played the way you need to play in these types of situations. They executed at a high level and we did not, across the board. When you do that, you are going to lose games."
On if the pregame reports on Coach Mike Smith were distracting before the game:
"No, I don't think there were any distractions today. I thought, all things considered with the holidays and things going on, we had a great week of preparation. From a player's standpoint, we just did not play well today.
On what the mood in the locker room was like:
"I think everyone was very disappointed. Obviously, you come into this game knowing what the consequences are, positive and negative. As a player and as an athlete, you never allow yourself to think about it going in the wrong direction. You always have to have a positive mindset going in. I think these guys did all week. Then, when it doesn't happen, it's disappointing. That's part of the deal when you don't play well."
On how surprised you were on the loss:
"Everyone's confidence coming into the game was very high. We played our best football in the second half of the season. Today is one of those things; sure no one really expected to play the way we did today. From that standpoint, it's very disappointing."
On running the ball ineffectively today:
"When you go against a defense that has as good as a front seven as Carolina, it's important to do two things. Play ahead in the chains and play ahead in the game, so that you can keep them off balance. One of the reasons we can't run the ball as much as we like is because we got behind. Also, we need to do better than we were. We were still early in the game, so it's disappointing. It felt like we had a good plan coming in and we just didn't get the job done."
On if this was one of his toughest games as a quarterback because of the lack of protection:
"You never know how it's going to be. There are times like today that you're forced out of the pocket for whatever reason. You try to make the best of those situations. Across the board I just don't think offensively we did a good enough job."
On what happened with the two interceptions:
"Obviously, you never want to do those. The first one, it happens. That's not a good decision on my part. Trying to squeeze that into coverage, it is what it is. You try to make plays, sometimes in traffic; you got to live with that. The second one, I had the opportunity to throw it, I just got to put it in a better position. I need to be wider and a little bit more firm on the throw."
On what Coach Smith has meant to you:
"I don't like to speculate. Mike has done a great job. The seven years I have been here, he has been first class. He shows up every day. He works really hard, he is incredibly consistent. You know where you stand with him as a player and I think guys respect that. I have nothing but a lot of respect for Mike."