Q&A: Mike Smith pleased with Jax practice

 

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder emphasizes a point with head coach Mike Smith during defensive drills. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FILE PHOTO: Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder emphasizes a point with head coach Mike Smith during defensive drills. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

JACKSONVILLE — Falcons coach Mike Smith was pleased with how the joint practice with the Jaguars turned on Wednesday.

Smith said that center Todd McClure (resting), cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring) and newly signed tight end Reggie Kelly would not play on Friday night.

Linebacker Robert James (groin) will be a game-time decision. Also, he didn’t rule out defensive end Ray Edwards (knee).

Here are the highlights from Smith’s post-practice presser:  

ON HOW THE JOINT PRACTICE HELPED THE FALCONS: Well it helps us a whole bunch because we spent most of training camp working against each other, and it was good to get down here. I thought the way we organized it we got some good work tonight.

ON HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Every team has expectations and every year’s a new year and we’re trying to put our roster together and this is what training camp is all about this year. My guys have worked hard and I thought we had a really good session here tonight.

ON PLAYING A YOUNG QUARTERBACK: We’re very fortunate to get a guy like Matt Ryan when we first got there, and Matt has really matured through the three seasons that he’s been with us. And it’s been a fun experience for not only our coaching staff but for our players to go through that growth process and when you’ve got a good quarterback, this is really a quarterback driven league, when you’ve got a good quarterback I think you really enhance your chances.

ON RYAN’S GROWING PAINS: There were growing pains. I think any time when you’re starting anew you’re going to go through those growing pains. And each season brings on a different dynamic and again we were very fortunate early on to win some games and have the ball bounce the right way. It’s been a fun process to go through as a coach, as a coaching staff to go through that with a young quarterback.

ON THE JAGUARS: There’s been a lot of change in terms of the personnel. I was very impressed the way the football team looked tonight. There’s a lot of young physical guys and I thought we had a very good session with these guys, but there’s probably only about eight or nine guys probably on the roster that were here when I left. It is a different looking football team but I thought that they have some really good looking players.

ON JOINT PRACTICES IN THE FUTURE: I think that’s all going to be predicated on what happens with the preseason. I really think that you want to work with other teams if you can, and especially if you go to a two preseason schedule. And I don’t know if that’s going to happen or if that’s even in the works but that was one of the reasons last year that we wanted to do that was to start working with different teams and work with the Jaguars of course and with New England, and I think it’s good. It’s great for the players. I think it’s great for the coaches. You can get into a rut in training camp. Even if you’re only practicing once a day it’s still tough on you not only physically but mentally.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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64 comments Add your comment

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
10:41 pm

Good to know… I figured with that being Smith’s old team it would be a good practice

bethelboy

August 18th, 2011
1:03 am

julio looks good out there,cant wait till friday night to watch the game on nfl.com pre season its the only way i can watch it living in remote alaska. this team looks strong and should light the scoreboard up this year. my only concern is if matty ice gets hurt. i wonder if the falcons would consider brett if that happened. what you think d-led

mitch (the one in Rome)

August 18th, 2011
6:15 am

Love Coach Smith. He’s an example of flash not being substance. He knows the game. He knows the men who play it. He knows how to lead those men to win. Love Coach Smith.

There are lots of flashy guys who don’t win. There are some who do. But CMS leads men, gains their respect and wins. Good to have a high quality coach at the helm of the Falcons.

The Facts Ma'am

August 18th, 2011
6:57 am

Enter your comments here

The Facts Ma'am

August 18th, 2011
7:01 am

ESPN2 in a show last night rated Tony Gonzalez as the 10th most over rated player in the NFL, citing that he only had 1 game of over 100 yards last year. Not surprising , ESPN2 rated MATT RYAN as the # 7 over rated player in the NFL citing has average toss before the run after catch was ONLY 6 Yards

hahahahahahahahah!

MAKES SENSE

August 18th, 2011
7:06 am

THATS WHY THEY CALL HIM NOODLE ARM

Paddy

August 18th, 2011
7:12 am

Good news, Smith can coach.

Paddy

August 18th, 2011
7:13 am

The facts Ma’am…..those are opinions not facts.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
7:18 am

Facts, your name doesn’t suit you at all. That list was over rated FANTASY FOOTBALL players genius. And, the fantasy football expert said “The Falcons are a GREAT football team, just not a great FANTASY team because of their ball control offense”. Way to embarrass yourself. I bet your parents are proud of your listening comprehension skills.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
7:23 am

Oh, they also said the reason the Tony and Matt were on the list was because the Falcons run the ball inside the 10 yard line more than any other team in the NFL because of the success of their red zone run game. You conveniently left that part out too didn’t you. I only wish we had trolls that weren’t complete morons. It would at least make embarrassing you on the world wide web more of a challenge.

SAMUEL

August 18th, 2011
7:26 am

All you have to do is win in the postseason, hence shut your critics up. If the defense goes to the next level, I think they can accomplish that. Go Falcons!!

Blue Fender

August 18th, 2011
7:45 am

bethelboy — Are you sh*&^ng me? Brett? Favre? Are you the same doofus that was screaming for TO a couple of years ago?

Season Ticker Holder

August 18th, 2011
8:02 am

@Paddy
Fact: Tony Gonzalez had 1 game of over 100 yards last year.
Fact: MATT RYAN’s average toss before the run after catch was ONLY 6 Yards. As much as we love the falcons, we must admit these guys are overrated.

gregKennesaw

August 18th, 2011
8:19 am

Yeah Matt Ryan’s overrated — he didn’t have a thing to do with winning rookie of the year, going to the probowl, or making the playsoff 2 out 3 years in the league, winning NFC south must have been Redman’s doing, not Ryan’s…..

gregKennesaw

August 18th, 2011
8:20 am

That’s okay everyone, just ignore the facts if they don’t fit your personal bias………..

Matt Ryan's Brain

August 18th, 2011
8:21 am

Brian Van Gorder above rockin’ the porn mustache’

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
8:22 am

Fact: The offense only had one deep threat who was double covered or at least bracketed with a safety up top and a CB underneath. To have thrown the deep ball into double coverage would have been suicide.

Fact: A good QB takes what the defense gives him and finds a way to win. If the deep ball isn’t open, you shred a defense underneath.

Fact: 70 catches for over 800 yards is pretty darn good for a TE

gregKennesaw

August 18th, 2011
8:23 am

barring injury, Matt Ryan will one day pass Steve Barkowski as the greatest falcons QB ever. Which granted, ain’t saying much. And Mike Smith will be be the best Falcons coach with total wins and winning %.

1eyedJack

August 18th, 2011
8:32 am

Joe Montana made a living throwing 6 yard passes.

1eyedJack

August 18th, 2011
8:34 am

Albeit, mostly against Charles Dimry.

honest_abe

August 18th, 2011
8:35 am

don’t feed: you’re good at saying how much i don’t know a thing about football but you never back it up. here’s a typical reply from you. “your football knowledge is laughable” then blah blah blah. i know i must hit a nerve because you always respond to my posts. as they say truth hurts. sorry i don’t see things as the glass being half full at flowery branch. but you sir are the biggest homer on this blog. the falcons could go get chris chandler and you’d hail it as a awesome signing based on his ability to throw a nice long ball a million years ago and how it would make us more explosive. shoot how about some andre rison while we’re at it.

honest_abe

August 18th, 2011
8:45 am

as for your stats. they’re way off. tony g had 70 catches for 656 yards. jesus do you guys know how to do simple math?

he was 4th overall in receptions amongst te’s.
11th in recieving yards amongst te’s.
15th in yards per game amongst te’s.
24th in avg yards per catch amongst te’s.
6th in td’s amonst te’s.

you’re tight end idol is aging. welcome to reality.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
9:09 am

Yes you are right, I missed the receiving yards by about 150. Being top 15 in every major catagory but 1 shows he is aging so poorly. Oh, my, what ever will we do if our other players remain in the top 15 as they age? Of, course, this all has to do with him aging and nothing to do with the fact that because teams knew Jenkins could not beat single coverage often that they bracketing Tony starting in the preseason Patriots game either right? I mean, actual football stuff couldn’t have anything to do with the truth right?

Colorado Bird

August 18th, 2011
9:18 am

I am hoping that Atlanta will take note of the lack of respect they are getting on NFL Network, ESPN , and the football so-call experts. They treat the Falcons almost like an after thought and believe that the Falcons are overrated and a one shot wonder.

I don’t know as much about how you determine winners in the NFL, but surely Atlanta is a good and productive team that how ever you may want too slice it, still was a extremely good team last year.

I am so sick of, hearing about New England, Jets, Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay without even a smitten of mention about the Falcons, I can’t wait until the season begins.

I really like the way Coach Smith and his players are handling their business and coming together as a team. Go Falcons!!!!

joe white

August 18th, 2011
9:19 am

Good no injuries we just need to focus and get our starters in and out and let the back ups fight it out.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
9:22 am

“I don’t know as much about how you determine winners in the NFL, but surely Atlanta is a good and productive team that how ever you may want too slice it, still was a extremely good team last year.”

I would say being the ONLY team in the NFL to be ranked in the top 5 in both Points and Points Allowed is pretty darn productive. Some people just like to hear themselves whine.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
9:29 am

You know, I don’t mind people who have well thought out constructive criticism. I think we all can agree we would feel a lot safer if we had a veteran CB and perhaps another vet as a backup safety as well. However, the people who come out here and act like we are the 2008 Lions make me scratch my head. Really? You can’t find anything NOT to whine about? You really can’t look beyond what the media tells you and see the stats for yourself? You can’t find anything good in the fact that we are the ONLY team to be ranked in the top 5 in scoring offense and defense in the NFL? You can’t find anything good in the fact that we only lost to the Champions, Defending Champions, AFC Champions, and a hot team that always has our number? Really?

PMC

August 18th, 2011
9:33 am

Dairy Queen needs to get on the stick. I want my Rock and Roll Falcon.

PMC

August 18th, 2011
9:38 am

Colorado Bird, they generally just have to see a team do it before they heap tons of hype. No one likes to get burned on predictions. The Falcons have been very solid over the last 3 years but they haven’t done a thing in the playoffs. It’s going to take a good playoff run before the media and most of the public take notice.

Adam

August 18th, 2011
9:48 am

@Season Ticker Holder & MAKES SENSE

and that would be why people like Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith do what they do and you aren’t working in the NFL. Simple stats never even come close to telling the whole story. The Air Yards that you are referring (yards before the WR takes off for YAC) depends largely on the offensive scheming. The same argument could be levied against Joe Montana who threw short slants and screen passes his entire career at San Fran. He (by the way) was also knocked for not having a super strong arm. But if a “rocket” arm is what makes a great QB, then Jeff George should probably be a HOF. Incidentally, though, Matty Ice ranked #2 in all of the NFL in 2008 for Air Yards behind only Jake Delholmme. Once again, not the end all be all for ranking a QB when you compare those 2.
However, if you want to look at what is a current method of evaluating a QB, the Total QBR, Matt Ryan ranks 3rd in all of the NFL. Only behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
9:52 am

Yeah, ranking 4th in catches while being constantly bracketed and still ranking in the top 15 in every single TE category but one puts you in the top 5% in my book buddy. Most TE are successful BECAUSE teams don’t pay attention to them, Gonzo was successful IN SPITE OF teams paying attention to him. Again, Bill Belichick said that TG was the person he most worried about on the Falcons and Honest Abe says he is too old and we should have cut him. I think I will stick with Bill.

honest_abe

August 18th, 2011
10:01 am

and here i was thinking the running game (turner) and roddy got most of the attention… bleh. what do i know?

i seriously don’t know how much bracketing was being done considering he most of his catches went for 5 yards. i think most of it was just man coverage and he was getting absolutely no separation.

Adam

August 18th, 2011
10:04 am

@The Facts Ma’am

Those are the cold hard facts and leaves your post lookin’ a lot like a big ole’ booger. Besides, you’re really gonna tout the fact that you had nothing better to do than watch ESPN2 late last night.

Adam

August 18th, 2011
10:07 am

@ honest_abe

If TG was getting “no separation” and still managed 70 catches, that really says a lot about Ryan’s accuracy AND TG’s ability to catch the ball with someone on him.

honest_abe

August 18th, 2011
10:12 am

adam: never once said anything negative about ryan’s accuracy or tony g’s ability to catch the ball.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:17 am

He didn’t get YAC because bracketing means he usually had a guy over the top of him. You cannot get YAC when there is someone whose sole job it is to tackle you.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:18 am

“Well, he’s good. We devoted a lot of coverage to him. We doubled him a lot”

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:18 am

he’s a guy — game plan-wise — that you’ve got to account for. You’ve got to put some coverage on him; he’s really hard to handle.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:19 am

That was Belichick on Tony

Adam

August 18th, 2011
10:23 am

no, but the overall slant of your posts have been to prove your point of the aging, declining skill of TG. My point was to show his skill hasn’t declined as much as your inferring. Some players have the ability to thrive no matter what offensive scheme they are in and some are successes purely because of the system they are in. Not many Tight Ends out there would be able to come out of a system that they were dominant in for many years and still perform at a high level within another system. He was the primary in KC for his stint there. He is an option here. The fact his numbers have gone down says more about the evolution of the offensive system in ATL and the increased production of Roddy White than it does the decline of TG. There are also intangibles that he brings to the table that makes the receivers around him better simply by forcing defenses to fully account for his presence. You don’t get that with most TEs.

honest_abe

August 18th, 2011
10:29 am

sept 2009? really? you’re a bigger fool than i first thought. why not get quotes from 2001 while you’re at it?

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:41 am

“I started the game pretty hot,” Gonzalez said. “From there, they went to that bracket coverage. I’m somewhat used to that, but that’s how it goes. Luckily we get creative and I still get the ball.”

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:42 am

Yes, you are right. I’m the one coming off like a fool here. You look brilliant suggesting we cut a guy who was top 10 in catches and TDs at his position. You need to let someone you trust read your posts back to you and show you how dumb you sound.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 18th, 2011
10:51 am

BTW, if you had followed the preseason practices against the Pats you would know that Bill didn’t change his mind about TG in 2010.

Ken Strickland

August 18th, 2011
11:17 am

HONEST ABE/DON’T FEED-Come on fellows, let’s stop the attacks. The truth is, HONEST ABE is correct when he says TE TGonzalez is aging. And DON’T FEED AINT TROLLS is correct when he says he’s still more productive than a large number of the NFL’s starting TE’s.

Didn’t we just give up 4 draft picks to move up 21 spots in the draft to get WR JJones to replace WR MJenkins? Wasn’t it MJenkins’ inability to get more than 50 receptions in a single season and take any pressure off premier WR RWhite the reason he was replaced?

Bottomline, MJenkins couldn’t measure up to an aging TE that is way past his prime, but it still as productive as hell. The only thing age seems to have done to Gonzalez is reduce him from a primary to a secondary receiver, and reduce his inline blocking ability. Otherwise, DEF’s still consider him a threat and consistently accounting for him. What more does anyone need to see in order to appreciate his effectiveness?

UGA 1999

August 18th, 2011
11:48 am

JULIO…JULIO….JULIO!!

UGA 1999

August 18th, 2011
11:49 am

If TO comes back healthy and declares he wants to be a Falcon. Would you take a chance on him with a minimum salary and put him in the slot?

Adam

August 18th, 2011
11:54 am

@ UGA 1999

Say NO to TO

ToccoaBird

August 18th, 2011
12:13 pm

I just hope out late round draft picks play good enough to make the team.

ToccoaBird

August 18th, 2011
12:13 pm