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What They Said: Falcons vs. Dolphins

Head coach Mike Smith on the opening defensive drive:
"Well when I say there are some things that aren't as good as we liked, I would say that that would be one of them. I think that we ended up getting into too many third and shorts. We had an explosive play, with a crossing route, and we just missed the pickup there. We were in a coverage that we should be able to stop that. We'll see it, and we'll be better in that area. But I really liked the way the defense came back out, some of the younger guys that we need to see and play, played there in the second, third and fourth quarter."

Smith on RB Antone Smith's performance:
"Antone had some very explosive plays. Antone's a guy that can do some things when we get the ball in his hands. I would imagine we would want to make sure to help him get some touches, put him in an advantageous situation, but I was very impressed with him."

Smith on OT Jake Matthews' first NFL preseason game:
"I thought Jake handled it extremely well. We wanted to extend the playing time of the offensive line of all the groups. You guys will get the play count. I'm sure I'll be reading about it the paper. We had a plan to play them between 20 and 25 snaps. We extended their play time, we wanted them to play together as a unit, and I thought that Jake did some very good things. I continue to say that Jake's on a very fast track to becoming a very good player in the NFL."

QB Matt Ryan on having success immediately despite not game-planning:
"That's a case for both sides. There's not a whole lot of game plan going on, in this particular game. I always think that it's a good test of how well you know your offense, when you go out there and certain plays just come in. You have to know what to do and where to line up. I thought we were sharp."

DT Jonathan Babineaux on young defensive players:
"There were a lot of young players that made a lot of plays for us (Friday night). It's great competition for the defense. There's gonna be a lot of young guys on the defense this year, so we're looking for some guys to step up and help us win games this year."

RB Devonta Freeman on his first NFL action:
"It was everything I expected it to be. It was real intense. The game's a lot faster, so that means I've got to prepare harder to get better, finish every run in practice and stuff so I can catch up to game speed."

RB Antone Smith on what he takes from Friday's game:
"It is a start.  I mean, it is a first impression.  That is the biggest thing from the first game.  It was my first impression, so I think my first impression was very good."

S William Moore on where the Falcons can improve after the first preseason game:
"Communication. Most of the explosives we had on our defense came from good communication, so we need to do more of that. This is our first preseason game, and we had to get adjusted to the crowd and things that go on in the game. Also, our 2nd defensive side, communication from a team standpoint, and finishing."

C Joe Hawley on the offensive line not allowing a sack:
"We're growing as a unit. As an O-line, we're communicating well. I think Coach (Mike) Tice is getting us all on the same page and getting us to play together really well. That's our No. 1 goal is keeping Matt (Ryan) clean, keep the quarterbacks clean in this case in the preseason. If we can do that, that's a huge plus."

Hawley on getting into a rhythm offensively on the opening drive:
"It's really, really hard when you don't game plan because, I really didn't even know who I was playing against. You kind of skim through it, but to put a drive together like that with the little blitzes they do and the kind of coverages they're running, different situational football — that's what football is mostly about. It's really promising. I think our offense has come a long way. We were a little rusty at points, but it's a good start."

CB Robert McClain on second half defense stepping up:
"They're looking good. They got those first-game jitters out quick. On a couple of plays, they were in there making plays like they do in practice. Like I was telling them, 'Just approach it like it's practice.' It's a little more pressure because it's a game, you want to impress the coaches. If you treat it like a practice, do your techniques, do your job, you'll be fine. That's what they did."

McClain on getting a preseason win after going 0-4 in the 2013 preseason:
"It's always good to win. We're all competitors and we all want to win. We don't want to lose regardless, whether it's preseason or regular season. It's good to get that win and start off on the right foot."

S Sean Baker on the late defensive stand:
"It went well down there. Coach is always preaching 'toughness' on defense and we just went down there and we knew we had to make a play. They had a fumbled snap, which helped out, but we were playing hard. There's some little things we need to clear up, stuff like that, scheme-wise, mental errors and all that kind of stuff, but we were running around, hitting. Play hard and good things will happen."

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