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