Falcons coach Mike Smith was upbeat during his post-game press conference.
He was clearly elated with the 41-7 beatdown the Falcons put on the Cardinals.
No one in the locker room wanted to be on plane for New Orleans next Saturday with a 0-2 record.
Here’s what Coach Smith had to say:
OPENING STATEMENT: “Hey guys we talk all the time about starting fast, sustaining our level of intensity and our level of play for 60 minutes. We also talk about our ability to run the football and finish games. I thought it was evident today that we (followed) those three principles. I thought in all three phases of the game, we played well. With that being said, there are still a lot of things we have to get corrected. There were a lot of penalties. I think we had six penalties for 75 yards. Those are going to hurt you in close games. I was really pleased with . . . the men out on that field and the way they responded today. With that I’ll open it up for questions.”
ON JASON SNELLING: “What can you say about this guy. Over 180 total yards and three touchdowns. That just says a lot about the depth o this team . . . Not only running the football, but catching the football. I thought our offensive line opened up some nice holes not only for Jason, but for when Michael (Turner) was in there.”
ON TURNER: “When the score went the way it did there . . . we were not going to put Michael Turner back in the ball game. We decided to rely on Jason. Some of the things we had to do schematically, and formationally, we had to adjust because we only had two healthy running backs and one of them was the fullback Ovie Mughelli.”
MORE ON TURNER: “I don’t think it was significant. He was talking about going back in to the ball game. He was cleared to go back in. I don’t think it’s going to be anything significant. But I have yet to talk to the trainers. I have not had my post-game meeting with the trainers.”
ON THE DEFENSE: “I thought that our defense did some very good things. Again, we had an 8-man spacing issue. Again, when you give up an 80-yard run, it just absolutely chaps you. I know our coaching staff will get that corrected. We can’t be giving up those explosive plays in those situations. But all in all, it was good to see some of our young players play. William Moore in his first start, I thought that he was a very active player. He had that interception there (early) in the second half. That was a big, big series for us as a football team. . . I was very pleased with the way William handled his first action.”
MORE ON THE DEFENSE: “Through the first two games and this is a long season, it’s a defense that is learning. Coach (Brian) VanGorder and his staff I think has done a very good job in bringing these young guys along. When guys have to step up, the next guy steps up and does a nice job. But you can not give up those explosive plays. They are going to come back and eventually get you. They got us last week and this week we were able to overcome it. . . They are flying around. They are a fun group of guys to be around and coach. They have done a nice job through the first two weeks. We still have to become more consistent if we really want to be the type of defense that want to be.”
ON THIRD DOWNS: “0 for 8 on third down efficiency. Again this has been a subject of discussion in this room at other times. It’s always something that in the offseason and through the preseason, the No. 1 emphasis of our defensive staff is to be efficient on third down. Win third down and limit your exposure to offensive plays. When you limit you exposure to offensive plays it helps your chances, it enhances your chances of being successful. We’ve done a nice job in these first two ball games.”
ON THE PENALTIES: “It is a big concern. We want to play penalty free. . . We had two unnecessary roughness calls. We are going to play on the edge. I have to see the tape in terms of if it was a flop or an unnecessary roughness.”
ON THE BEATDOWN: “We did some things that were more characteristic of the way we play football. In terms of the way our guys played on the offensive side. That is playing a very aggressive style. Playing a very physical style. We were the tempo setters in the game today. I think that’s very, very important for any team that is going to be successful. They have to set the tempo and control the tempo.”
ON JERIOUS NORWOOD’S INJURY: “I don’t know (what the injury) was. It’s looked like something on the lower leg. He came off the field and we’ll have our post-game wrap up in the next hour or so.”
MORE ON SNELLING: “There were concerns. I don’t know that they were doubts. We are very confident in Jason Snelling and his ability to run the football. We had a package in place. We always have a package in place that if we went down to one back and it happened to be the fullback, we have plays that we can run and the protections we can basically operate with in the game. It was a concern, but I never really felt it was going to be an issue running the football. I thought our offensive line was the star of the game the way they set the tempo.”
ON OVIE MUGHELLI: “It was great to see Ovie run the football. Ovie is a guy who spends most of his time leading a ball carrier through the hole. It was good that Ovie had an opportunity to run the ball. I thought that he ran it very effectively. I thought that it shows that we do definitely have some depth on the offensive side of the ball as well.”
ON MATT RYAN: “Matt had three touchdown passes and a 117.3 quarterback rating. I thought that he operated more effectively. I thought that his accuracy was a little bit better in this ball game and when we asked him to do things in the no huddle sequencing he did a good job there. . . I thought that Matt did a very good job running the offense and operating within our offensive scheme.”
ON ERIK COLEMAN: “Coleman had a knee injury in the game last week and we made a game-time decision that he would not play.”