Q&A: Mike Smith after the loss to Steelers


Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH – In the post-game interview, Falcons coach Mike Smith was not pleased with the defense giving up touchdown passes of 77 and 44 yards in the Falcons 34-16 loss to the Steelers on Saturday night.

Here’s what Smith had to say after the game:

OPENING STATEMENT: It was very obvious that we didn’t play to the standard that we need to play to be the team that we want to be. We made way too many mistakes offensively, defensively and on special teams. We gave up too many explosive plays there in the first half in the passing game. But I did like the way that our guys battled back after falling behind 10-0. You can’t open the game off with a kickoff return to the plus-35 with a penalty. We weren’t really able to turn the momentum in our favor. We obviously have a lot of work to do over the next 14 or 15 days. We will get ready and that’s what the preseason is for.

ON THE PLAY OF RAY EDWARDS: Again, I will have to watch the tape. We did get some pressure on the quarterback early there in the first half. We got him on the ground. We had him running a little bit. Unfortunately, they were able to convert two third downs, the 77 yarder and the 44 yarder. I have to watch the tape, but I felt him out there. I certainly did.

ON EDWARDS PLAYING INTO THE THIRD QUARTER: That’s a very good sign. We knew that Ray was going to be able to go. We brought him along slowly.  .  .  It was really good to see him out there.

CONCERNED ABOUT THE PASS DEFENSE?: I’m concerned when you give up big plays. You can’t give up explosive plays. We talk about it all the time. We can’t give them up and you have to try to create them on the offensive side of the football. There were some very good things that took place in the ball game in all three phases. After the opening kickoff that they ran back, I thought our coverage units did a good job. We had a nice punt return by Eric Weems. Defensively, until the first half they weren’t able to run the ball. We thought we had a pretty good handle on them.

ON RODDY’S GAME: It was nice to see Roddy catching the ball. He had some yards after the catch. That is what we anticipate. It’s something that we need to have happen; Roddy playing well.

ON JULIO’S GAME: He had five catches. He had the opportunity for the big long ball. Matt threw a good ball. We just weren’t able to complete the play. Again, it’s a learning experience every time that Julio gets out there. He did some good things in the ball game tonight. His learning curve is continuing to progress.

ON RYAN THROWING 42 TIMES IN THE FIRST HALF: When you are in the preseason you want to do certain things. You want to look at certain things. We had some things in mind that we wanted to look it. You do game-plan a little bit, but you are still in the process of working on some things.

ON THE RIGHT GUARD ROTATION: [Mike] Johnson and [Garrett] Reynolds were rotating in the first half and into the third quarter. In the third quarter, Mike Johnson got more of the snaps. That will be something that we have to evaluate that is ongoing as well as our nickel position.

ON GETTING COREY PETERS AND DUNTA ROBINSON BACK FOR 4TH GAME: [Peters has a knee injury and Robinson has a hamstring.] I don’t know the answer to that. They are continuing to work with our rehab staff. They have been rehabbing on the side. Hopefully, over the next couple of days, we can get them back out there. But the No. 1 goal for us is to have as many healthy guys as we can for the opener.

ON INJURIES: [Center Todd McClure left the game with a knee injury.] I think we came out of it fairly well. I have to talk to the trainers. We had a couple of guys that were not able to go back into the ball game. I’ll visit with those guys here before we get back to Atlanta. I’ll get a full report and we’ll have that information on Monday.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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72 comments Add your comment

Chandler going Deep..

August 28th, 2011
12:13 am

1st!!!!!! Big Freakin Deal????????????????

Chandler going Deep..

August 28th, 2011
12:16 am

Turner is done…80lbs too heavy in the rear end….

Chandler going Deep..

August 28th, 2011
12:24 am


August 27th, 2011
11:00 pm

“Fire MM and BVG tomorrow… nah… Tonight!!!! Matt Ryan has to go into no huddle to get the offense in gear, calling his own plays and essentially being the OC. BVG high school defensive scheme is a freaking JOKE!!! Both of these coordinators I am convinced, are holding the Falcons back from something real special…”

Heard this before?


August 28th, 2011
12:42 am

lets just hope they werent tring to show any defensive schemes, and just play a plain 4-3 set. i hope they are saving the “good” d for the regular season. and i worried about turner.


August 28th, 2011
12:43 am

Well someone went a little heavy on the cough syrup (Chandler ….)
As Coach Smith said, not the effort he wants, but I am not worried. If we had won 35-10, I wouldn’t be promising the Super Bowl. Lets see 2-3 games of the regular season, then make a judgement.

Whopper Dawg

August 28th, 2011
12:59 am

Well, let’s see, we gave up a ton of picks for Jones to move (I assume) to a more explosive offense and score 16 points. The first part of the schedule is pretty tough. Hope they get is together soon.

Turner won’t be the starter for the whole year.


August 28th, 2011
1:31 am

Oh no!!! 0-3 in the preseason!! The sky is falling!!

C’mon folks chill out. I don’t remember us being world beaters last pre-season either. I also remember us playing like crap in the first game last year and we still won 13 games. Everyone says the first few games will be tough for us, but maybe we’ll be tough for our opponents too. Has anyone ever looked at it like that?

The offense is going to have some setbacks and they probably won’t win 13 games this year, but as long as they get back to the playoffs who cares? The only way this team finishes under 10-6 is if they have a rash of injuries like in 2009. Having that blowout loss in the playoff’s was good for this team in the long run. I think Blank, Smith, Dimitroff, learned a lot from it and are seeing the need for a more explosive offense. The Birds will be good this year, ya’ll will see.


August 28th, 2011
1:49 am

Ryan has happy feet and he is still mediocre against top defenses. Secondary status quo. Insane people continue to manifest certain behaviors and yet they expect different results. Atlanta Falcons defensive scheme was mediocre four years ago when Mike Smith arrived and it has not improved one bit!!

DLed, how many years will this community endure this madness? Do not tell me anything about the Falcons regular season mark since he arrived. It does not mean anything. Jim Mora led us the the NFl Championship game with far less talent!!

Forum fanatics spare me the it’s preseason BS this was our best against their best. We still do not have a legimate first or second team quarterback or secondary!!

Who Me?

August 28th, 2011
1:59 am

The more I watch of this team the more I agree with Opie….

Same Ole

August 28th, 2011
2:40 am

why not just watch the first team play together for 4 quarters in an official game and then complain instead of doing it in a preseason game for just when they’re in for just 2 quarters.

tough task for some since all you seem to do is complain. Even think maybe you’re just not meant to be a sports fan?


August 28th, 2011
3:36 am

It’s frustrating to see the Falcons start another year like nothing matters. “Only preseason” as they lose to the Jags, the most mediocre team in the NFL, and then fold like origami against the Steelers, the kind of competition they have to overcome to be serious championship contenders. The game doesn’t count, but the attitude does, and what I see is unwarranted complacency.


August 28th, 2011
7:18 am

The Falcons have no running game with Michael Turner as No 1 back. He will not be first team all year as Whopper Dawg said. He appears easy to tackle when hit at the ankles. All the teams know this. He is not a pass receiver either and why try to make him one. The Falcons need some new running plays across the board. We have two backs dedicated to one back not gaining hardly a yard.

R Brown

August 28th, 2011
7:19 am

Opie’s barking up the RIGHT tree here. Ryan does get squirrelly in the pocket. I don’t see him as a championship QB.Turner’s shot. I’ve never seen a 250lb RB stopped at the line or behind for no gain as much as he is. I thought the new RB J Rogers would help but he gets rocked on blitzes. Appears too small to pickup those blocks.Also, I’m sick of hearing how smart Ryan is for throwing the ball out of bounds.Ryan is not a rookie any more. Pretending to be Peyton Manning with all the arm waving and theatrics at the line of scrimmage only to drop a dink pass for 3 yards is getting old. Harry D. looks good. .

True Falcon Fan

August 28th, 2011
7:39 am

Did anyone watch the game????????? Did anyone watch the OL????????? Did anyone watch the DL?????????? Folks that is where it all starts!!!!!!!!!!

It’s pre-season


Go Falcons


August 28th, 2011
7:42 am

We looked like crapola…


August 28th, 2011
8:07 am

Seriously, everyone just needs to wait. You don’t show your hand in preseason. You just get the guys ready to go with it counts. Don’t worry about Turner. Nobody runs against Pittsburgh. He’ll get his numbers.

Falcon James

August 28th, 2011
8:15 am

I knows this only preseason. At least Smith see it like it is. the falcon squeak by in most of the game they won last year. preseason was and still is a indicator what in store. the falcon picked up where they left off last year. it hard to chill when you knows what you seeing on TV. the falcon do look good on the offencsive line at that about all. I is very worried that we in for long a season.


August 28th, 2011
8:34 am

The biggest weakness is the corner. Owens should be cut or put on special teams permanently. We need to pick up a corner on waivers !!


August 28th, 2011
8:42 am

I’ll be patient with the satisfaction of knowing Smitty’s got a group of smart classy players we can finally be proud of. Sure, there are techniques to clean up but they’ll be fine.

[...] read from original news source: Q&A: Mike Smith after the loss to Steelers | Atlanta Falcons [...]

D Money

August 28th, 2011
9:17 am

You panic-stricken “fans” must not have been watching the same game that I was watching. After the slow start, I saw the Falcons offense move down the field quite easily on one of if not THE best defense in football. Ryan over through Douglas on one drive in the endzone and Gonzo was called for offensive pass interference in another drive. Both unlikely to happen in the regular season. As far as the defense, Grimes took a couple of chances last night. He went for the pick twice when the Steelers scored. Again, highly unlikely in the regular season. I will agree that the nickle position is a concern.

People calm down!!!


August 28th, 2011
9:27 am

thought the falcons looked pretty good for the most part. offense looked like they can move the ball at will. also though tony g got a td taken away from him. looked like the guy was hanging on him and he just slapped his hand off and the guy slipped when he did it. defense gave up two big plays other than that they looked pretty fast and hard hitting. the starting offense only played 2qts and they scored 16 points on the steelers and they did with nice 10 or so play drives. very happy with how they are looking and staying healthy for the most part.

Tree Rollins

August 28th, 2011
10:01 am

I’ve been concerned about Turner since year before last – last year he shed some of the weight and looked better but still lost his explosion. Are Snelling and Rogers the answer if he runs out of gas this year?

Tree Rollins

August 28th, 2011
10:06 am

Everybody happy with Chris Redman again this year? He’s the leader of this team if we lose Ryan again this year to toe turf or something like that. Can you imagine a full season of Redman?

Bail Bondsman

August 28th, 2011
10:26 am

You people watch what I am saying, it will happen..

Your little ‘wonder t h u g’,(M.V.) WILL implode very soon and he will be out in Philly…..

His bush ways are reportedly about to get the best of his corrupt ways………….

Give me Matty anyday, he will be HOF’er when his career is over.


August 28th, 2011
10:31 am

Will someone tell Turner to run staight ahead and not try to juke the defense, -he couldn’t juke me and I’m 70.


August 28th, 2011
10:31 am

I agree Redman looked a little suspect. Ok, he looked badd..

Hopefully Sam Baker #72 can play better than he did last year. Sam Baker will be the offensive lineman that gets Ryan out of the starting line up during the season and Redman in. Baker, simply isn’t a dominate left tackle in this league.

True Falcon Fan

August 28th, 2011
10:57 am

There you go Dled, you make me sick, HMF makes a stupid comment with NO knowledge of what he or she is talking about – and what do you do, don’t allow someone to objectively outline why HMF is wrong.

Now who’s the RACIST???

Go Falcons

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 28th, 2011
11:16 am

The Falcons offense will only be as good as the OL and that will continue to be suspect until they replace Sam Baker. BVG’s defensive scheme is also suspect. They play way too much zone defense to be able to successfully compete in our division.


August 28th, 2011
11:39 am

If they had put K. Tripp out there like they being doing on defense Line they would have held them better. The veterans look crazy out there, couldn’t hold no one. let the rookies play at lease the score wouldnt look so bad. That’s somthing 2 think about.


August 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

Jones was not worth what we gave up. We have no depth, especially on secondary and O-line. TD needs to stop drafting o line players in the 7th round and expecting them to be contributors. We should have traded up and drafted an o line player instead and given Matty ice the keys to the offense as our run game is half of what it used to be. Jenkins was not the problem, and if Matt is truly the QB we think he is, he only needs half decent receivers, and Jenkins was great in that aspect, catching everything thrown to him.

jack allbritten

August 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

just like i said last week,the falcons believe in their on hype. they looked like pittsburg was just toying with them. i’ll be glad when all the premadonna’s the falcons have aquired wake up and realize they have to produce to earn the salaries and get down to smash mouth football in which they are going to have to play to get where all these sports writers have predicted them to be this year. personally i don’t think they will come close to being the championship team everyone thinks. if they do they will certainly have to have a remarkable turn a round than they are showing this pre season. i’ve been a fan now for 41 years and i’m completely frustrated with their showing so far.


August 28th, 2011
1:30 pm

Does anyone remember about 5 years ago when Joey Harrington was the qb and we went 4-0 in the preseason and then what happened. I cant believe how many people take these games so seriously. It was a 16 to 24 game until we pulled our starters. Another thing that bothers me is that every talks all this trash about the Falcons getting the first round bid and losing to Green Bay but no one talks about the Patriots getting ran by the Jets last year. And to Jack Allbritten, who exactly on the falcons is a premadonna


August 28th, 2011
1:32 pm

I’m not going to say I don’t have concerns, but very few teams don’t. You guys who are going to fire the coordinators, trade Matt Ryan and write off Turner (who I admit looks a little slow, but it is preseason) after a 13-3 season, surely just have to be trying to fire everyone up. No one who bothers to read the sports page is really that stupid.


August 28th, 2011
2:02 pm

How is Turner expected to gain any yardage when his line gives him no openings to run into? Whoever designs the Falcons’ running plays needs to go!!!! It’s not Turner’s fault….


August 28th, 2011
2:24 pm

guys stop overreacting…. in case u haven’t noticed, its preseason

Loyal Falcon

August 28th, 2011
2:32 pm

A lot of what we’ve seen scheme wise won’t even be used in the regular season. Like I’ve said before,preseason is used for experimenting with different things. You try them now instead of the regular season. Some stuff works and some stuff doesn’t…with that being said. There are plenty of teams who win all preseason games and are crap in the regular season. For instance, the lions beat the Patriots yesterday. Do you think the lions would run over the Patriots in the regular season like they did? I don’t think so…Settle down and stop overracting

Loyal Falcon

August 28th, 2011
2:36 pm

NOBODY RUNS WELL AGAINST THE STEELERS DEFENSE! They were the best run defense last year. They only allowed 62yrds per game all last year. So you really can’t be tough on Mike. They are just a tough team to run on…some of you just need to shut the H up!

Sly Ty

August 28th, 2011
2:37 pm

@all of you posting today. We lost a preseason game on the road BFD!!! The two big touchdowns the steelers scored were nearly picked off by Grimes. We will be fine. Oh, last I checked, the steelers are the best Run Defense in the World.

Dunwoddy T

August 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

Got spanked last night. Steeler played with those atl chumps. I wish they go 0-16.


August 28th, 2011
3:06 pm

Way too much hype for a regime with an 0-2 playoff record. The defense is mediocre at best against the good offenses/teams. That 13-3 was a tribute to an easy schedule(NFC West), a lot of breaks, great health, and a bunch of overachieving. Green Bay exposed that defense and it’s not close to being fixed. With no repeat division champ in NFC South history, the Falcons may be lucky to even get a wild card. I see 10-6 at the best and very possibly worse.

steven A.

August 28th, 2011
3:57 pm

“Benchmark people, BENCHMARK”
Offense is way too vanilla, Matt Ryan will be better in a west coast offense. Defense better suited to play a 3-4 scheme. Ryan needs to get stronger, 30-35 pounds heavier.


August 28th, 2011
4:02 pm

Did anyone get a good look at the offensive inteference call on Gonzalez ? The TV angle, just showed Tony, with no defender around him, couldn’t tell what happened to the defender.


August 28th, 2011
5:52 pm

the defender was on the ground- the pushoff only works for white and that was last year when the refs tried , to no avail, to help you out


August 28th, 2011
6:07 pm

Any good DBs on the waiver wire? Just saying.

Anyone panicking now has no clue what preseason is all about.


August 28th, 2011
9:02 pm

Lot of over reactors on this blog. its pre-season. don’t get your panties in a wad. Oh and Michael Turner? He lead the NFC in rushing last year.

ant man

August 28th, 2011
9:07 pm

Get rid of Owens, find us any corner,hope Smith can see that Turner is finished:these things must happen early in the season, then every will see that we can beat anyone.

Ron Mexico

August 28th, 2011
9:32 pm

People, the Colts went 0 and 4 in preseason the year they won the Super Bowl. Relax, it’s preseason. You can be fair-weather fans when the “real” season starts.


August 28th, 2011
10:46 pm

where ‘yat seen= 40-20- d looks suspect but against the failcon O… i think we’re ok


August 28th, 2011
11:52 pm

well, can we at least do away with the ryan boot leg for awhile? He hasn’t looked that comfortable moving and throwing as of late – unless you count throwing into the stands?

It hasn’t really fooled anyone so far and also is more effective after establishing a running game.

I know..I know…its just preseason..