Q&A: Mike Smith not concerned about 0-4 preseason mark

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the media after the team's 21-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the media after the team's 21-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith was upbeat after the Falcons were defeated 21-7 by the Baltimore Raven on Thursday at the Georgia Dome.

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

OPENING STATEMENT: Tonight, we obviously rested several of our No. 1 players as we get ready to go for the regular season. Our No. 1 goal is to be as healthy as possible for that first game. That’s one of the things we accomplished tonight. We also wanted to get one last look at several players. There are a lot of guys fighting for roster spots. When I say a lot, there is a handful. We obviously saw some guys step up. We saw some guys that didn’t necessarily take care of business. We’ve got a bunch of decisions to make. Over the next 48 hours that’s what we’ll be doing. We will be spending our time to put our 53 guys together, to put our roster together to open this 2011 season.

ON ANTONE SMITH: Outstanding performance by Antone tonight. I think he was over 100 yards rushing and had a wonderful screen pass reception as well. He came out and competed and that’s what it’s all about.

ON JOHN PARKER WILSON: Everybody is out there as an individual performing, but it is a group effort. It’s a team effort. Until we get together and really watch the tape. . . sometimes what you see and what you think you see, are not really the same thing. You have to get in there and watch the tape. Obviously, it was not the type of performance that we wanted to have.

ON KELVIN HAYDEN AND JAMES SANDERS: Both of those guys, we’ve added in the last couple of days. Again, we are always trying to better our roster. That is our goal; to have the best 53 guys that we can. We think that both of these guys are going to strengthen our roster and make us a better football team. We are looking forward to starting to work them tomorrow. We were actually working with them tonight. We already have started. They were on the sidelines getting the calls. We were trying to give them as much information that we could about our defense so that we could indoctrinate these guys into our system as quickly as possible.

ON DE RAY EDWARDS: I saw those two plays. I thought there was some intensity and aggressiveness there early on. We just played that group of guys for two series and then got them out. I liked the intensity and the way we played. I think there were five straight series that either ended with a three-and-out or an interception. There were some positives things in the game. There always is. We didn’t like the outcome. . . But there were some things we needed to see as a coaching staff. I thought some things came to light. Discussions will be very intense tomorrow.

ON GARRETT REYNOLDS WINNING THE RG GUARD JOB: I don’t know if we can conclude that. I think that he definitely has the (leg) up in terms of the amount of snaps that he’s had. We tried to get Mike Johnson, because he missed the first ball game, an opportunity to play more snaps so that we could have an evaluation. As I said earlier in the week, game snaps are weighted a lot heavier than practice snaps. We wanted to see how these guys are going to respond in games.

ON AKEEM DENT: We wanted to get Akeem some snaps. That was an important thing for him to get out in front of the huddle. Akeem played our (middle) linebacker as well. We had four different guys play (middle) linebacker in the game tonight.

ON THE ASSESSMENT OF THE DEFENSE: We’re growing. That would be the way that I would describe our defensive football team. We are growing. I like the level of intensity that they play with. We don’t always play as smart as we need to. That’s something that we have to work on, but the intensity level is there and they have a better feel for our scheme in year four than they did in year three and year two. Again, it’s always a work in progress. We are going to do everything we can to better our team.

ON THE WINLESS PRESEASON: We have a saying that if they play, then it’s worth winning. We talk to our guys all the time about that. We want to go out and win ball games. That’s why you play them. But at the same time in the preseason, there are certain things at certain points in the preason that you have to look at and you want to get accomplished. That’s sometimes overrides some of the other decisions that you would normally make in a ball game. To say am I disappointed, yeah I’m disappointed. To say that I’m concerned. No, I’m not concerned. This football team is a very mature football team. We had a plan in place in terms of things that we had to get accomplished and I think we’ve been able to do that through the preseason.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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65 comments Add your comment

Brian

September 2nd, 2011
12:42 am

Saw some good things and some things that need work, but overall I am looking forward to the regular season to begin.

antman

September 2nd, 2011
12:51 am

The main concern that I had is that DT would address the needs of the secondary and he has. We will be ok.

Rikus

September 2nd, 2011
12:57 am

Didn’t watch the game yet, since I just finished a fantasy draft – worth watching?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 2nd, 2011
1:32 am

Rikus — Debatable.

Sly Ty

September 2nd, 2011
2:21 am

I am glad we added FS Sanders and CB Hayden. I am afraid that Shann Schillinger, Christopher Owens and DE Chauncey Davis are in jeopardy of being let go. I like these guys, and I wish them all well.

Falcons4Eva

September 2nd, 2011
6:23 am

Why is John Parker Wilson on this TEAM? Surely of the 96 Quarterbacks that will be on NFL rosters this year (3 quaterbacks on each of the 32 teams), is John Parker Wilson the best we can find for our No. 3?

Speaking of back up quarterbacks, Chris Redman does not make me feel too comfortable if Matt Ryan goes down either.

Sure hope Tom Dimitrioff has Brett Favre on SPEED DIAL ! !

Willy

September 2nd, 2011
7:19 am

What I saw: JPW looking stinky. What I think I saw: JPW looking at a pink slip. Seriously, lots of teams carry two QB’s and we could use an extra spot at LB/DB.

Chop Buster

September 2nd, 2011
7:24 am

Falcons4Eva, I see that I’m not the only one CONCERNED about our backup QBs. We need to dump both of those guys and get a high quality #2 and a strong developmental #3. Green Bay, New Orleans, Patriots all have QBs they brought in that moves the ball down the field with no problem. Do we have a problem evaluating good QBs? The two we have aren’t even #3s.

AlanFalcon

September 2nd, 2011
7:47 am

Chop Buster & Falcons4Eva——I am not sure where you are coming from with Chris Redman, if the Falcons cut him he would be picked up in a minute and JP is still in the learning stage with very little game time. The number of plays with the first team are very limited so don’t judge what you don’t know about until they are in that situation.

GO FALCONS AND GO SOUTHERN RUSH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ready for some football

September 2nd, 2011
7:59 am

JPW has very good arm strength, really puts a zip on the ball. However, to me he seems to be regressing. His play was better last year. CMS said “Sometimes what you see and what you think you see are not really the same thing. You have to get in there and watch the tape.” Is Smith saying that maybe the OL is some of the problem for both backup QB’s? Redman has played well off the bench in game situations with the starting OL. For me, it would be really hard to evaluate either backup QB when not playing behind the starting OL, but then again, that’s their job, not mine. Go Falcons. I still tnk we much better than the preseason would suggest!!!!!

Bozo the Troll

September 2nd, 2011
8:47 am

Redman is a solid backup. He didn’t have good protection, and he didn’t have all the other starters with him on the field. JPW? Well, he dealt with the same issues as Redman, but he doesn’t have Redman’s resume, so I’m gonna judge him a little harsher on that performance. Anyways, I’m stoked about the season!

falconfanriseup

September 2nd, 2011
8:56 am

We are ok Redman will be ok and i am ready for the season. I am glad we addressed the nickel position with Hayden that is a good pick up with this club.

Jay Cool 4daBirds

September 2nd, 2011
9:12 am

The Falcons are loaded from 1-13 on both sides of the ball. If Ryan goes down I am comfortable with Redman. You have to love the back-ups to every position but our secondary. There are going to be some really good guys that get released. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is.

Eric

September 2nd, 2011
9:17 am

BRING ON DA BEARS!!!!!!!

Ron Barnett

September 2nd, 2011
9:25 am

Falcons never win in the pre season and its shows up in the real season Coach Smith does not see the winning side of it …You got to show the team about winning the Falcons does not know about winning BIG all the time. win here and win there not so good here and not so good there! season is over everbody go home it over for the next year.Go have a good Xmas…….Thats the way I see it Coach

stendek

September 2nd, 2011
9:54 am

Hello. Glad to see the Falcon head coach is not concerned about an 0-4 exhibition finish which extends a losing streak to five games! Is he concerned that the current backup quarterbacks could not even cut the mustard for premier high school teams? Does it bother him that the offense scored more points for the opposition in front of a wired Georgia Dome home gathering? Is he at least wondering how the field goal kicker could look so bad on a miskick? Has he noticed that the kick return units are lost in a daze? Glad to see the guy is comfortable in a fool’s paradise! This group has definite issues. Some dunderheads will probably point fingers at the defense. THIS DEBACLE WAS NOT THE FAULT OF THE FALCON DEFENSE! In no way, shape,form or fashion. The group did not have as many takeaways as I would like but the defenders were left high and dry by an offense without a clue! Hopefully one of these new exciting runners will send Michael Turner packing. Man are they fast! The first order of business should be banishment of all backup quarterbacks. Anyone will be an improvement! Just hope Falcons can snap five game losing streak in regular season opener. Fans have not had lot to cheer about. First two practice matchups were fine then things went downhill in last two. Truly disheartening!

Da Falcons

September 2nd, 2011
10:00 am

An interesting fact…………the 85 Bears (one the greatest teams ever that lost one game otherwise destroying everyone else) lost ALL four of it’s preseason games. To say the least I hope the Falcons do the same.

David

September 2nd, 2011
10:03 am

Is Dunta going to play the regular season or is he going to sit on his A$$ all season? At least this way he want get burned. Over paid piece of crap.

what

September 2nd, 2011
10:04 am

stendek (steendick) n. 1. One who is deficient in judgement, sense, or understanding.

what

September 2nd, 2011
10:05 am

David….same as stendek.

where are the true fans

September 2nd, 2011
10:09 am

I liked what I saw from the defense. They were working on a short field and short rest due to poor offensive outings. Still they played pretty good. I’m really liking DE Matthew(sp?), LB Bear Woods, and CB Walls. And RB Antone Smith played like a man trying to keep his job. If he showed that in the games that mattered he would be a regular player.

what

September 2nd, 2011
10:10 am

I feel sorry for all you “man we didn’t win the preseason cham”pion”ship award” fans. Get a grip….geez! If you can’t see the talent on the 1st offense and defense teams then ya’ll are fans who love football but have no clue about football. Like saying homerun when you should scream touchdown. There is no team out there basing anything on preseason (glorified pratices) results, whether 4-0 of 0-4. I laugh at you.

Von

September 2nd, 2011
10:13 am

Not being concerned about it is a concern. When you put that helmet on you plan to win, 1st team or not. Several backups played in the game and didn’t produce. Those of you who like the Hayden signing…the dude hasn’t been the same since injury. Several teams passed on him but the Falcons realize thier desperate on the back end. With the Packers and Saints it’ll show. All this hoopla about analyst picking the Falcons to win the Superbowl is the worst thing you could want because now they’ve set an expectation for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game within the last 5 years. Other good teams, especially the Saints and Bucs are loving the non-attention from the media. Believe me.

Glass Half Full

September 2nd, 2011
10:14 am

Kroy, for the short time he was in the game, played like an animal!! Really loved what I saw from him and hope this carries through the season. If so, opposing QB’s are going to be “scattered, smothered, and covered” lots!

Birdthethird

September 2nd, 2011
10:20 am

And we dumped Shockley for John Parker Wilson! SMDH. I think Peria Jerry is healthy and hungry though.

ATrueFalconsFan

September 2nd, 2011
10:22 am

Julio Jones is going to be a beast.

Birdthethird

September 2nd, 2011
10:28 am

I’ve seen Redman perform in the clutch in regular season and that dude is a solid backup. If you question that you must have just started watching the team last year.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 2nd, 2011
10:34 am

Listening to interviews from last night. I’m wondering how fast they can get Hayden and Sanders ready to play. The defensive unit that enters Chicago will not have played together this preseason if Dunta, Ray Edwards and/or Hayden/Sanders are starters.

Treeofwoe

September 2nd, 2011
10:40 am

Yeah I don’t see Sanders or Hayden playing game one. They “might” play game two depending on down. Definitely see action from game three on in my opinion.

As far as everyone getting tense about the preseason….relax…and as DLed said…step away from the ledge. Our starters left winning both of the first two games. The third game we were within 8pts of the AFC SuperBowl representative after throwing the ball 42 times and just missing two coverages. We’ll be fine.

The Real Falcon

September 2nd, 2011
10:43 am

We have a very serious week of prep ahead. The Chi-town game will
set the tone for the season. We have to play with intensity and purpose!

honest_abe

September 2nd, 2011
10:50 am

biggest area of concern going into the bears game is the offensive line. the bears will look to exploit hawley/reynolds. expect tons of pressure early and often.

ejj

September 2nd, 2011
11:02 am

I watched some of the game didn’t like some of the backups, I have never been sold on Redman, there was a reason he was selling insurance. Have read quite a few posts over about Ryan’s arm strength, and I would have to say Redman, doesn’t possess any, if Ryan goes down, we are done. With Jones and White, there will be no one to get that deep strike to them.

nathan

September 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

In – Woods, Walls, McIlwain, Smith

Out – Owens, Rodgers, Franks, Wilson

Yo Vince

September 2nd, 2011
11:10 am

I love all the homers hatin on JPW. Shockley got cut. News Flash!!!!! Our backup O-line was the problem last night. Falcons are gonna be great. Don’t wet ur pants.

mountain_jim

September 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

I decided not to bother to record the NFL network rebroadcast so I will not even watch this game. Ready for the season to start!

Just glad they did not even play Ryan or risk an injury. I think Redman has proved he is fine with the first string, seems we might need to consider more options for number 3 though I guess its a little late for that now.

Geemack

September 2nd, 2011
11:16 am

The most frustrating lost was to the Steelers. It seems like the Falcons loses to the elite teams the same way all the time.
1) They get early

2) Can’t stop the pass

3) Can’t score in the red zone.

nathan

September 2nd, 2011
11:17 am

Sorry, keep Franks

Ivan

September 2nd, 2011
11:17 am

I am loving these blogs this morning. You guys DO realize you’re panicking over the THIRD STRING QB?

cwltank

September 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

I really think the Falcons will hithis season. You can not judge OR predict there season based on preseason. MM now has the weapons to mix up the game plan & I am happy he did not show his hand in the preeason. The double reverse to Jones was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

QB/DB

September 2nd, 2011
11:25 am

IIf we do a great job watching other teams cuts and not try to be a homer and keep some guys we will win the SUPER BOWL! We need one more tough kick butt OL. We need another good back-up QB, and a punter and we go to the Super Bowl. I don’t know if TD has the heart to do it. He seems smitten with some year in year out guys who aren’t going to be good PROFESSIONAL players. Maybe some of those type guys can go work in the Front Office if he just has to have them around. I’d trade a few vwts for late draft picks (6-7) at least you get something if possible. I challenge TD and M. Smith dont do the job 90% have the heart to do it 100% and we will win the SUPER BOWL!

myrak43

September 2nd, 2011
11:25 am

Hey Yo Vince……. JPW sux…… I would feel better with Shockley in the game over JPW any day.

Jimmy Crack

September 2nd, 2011
11:33 am

We can’t get rid of JPW now, we just squeezed out the sausage king of Chicago yesterday.

Yo Vince

September 2nd, 2011
11:48 am

Look at it like this JWP played for a real college team. Shockley…. well you know the rest. Ha

AMT "True Falcon Fan

September 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

Well I don’t like going 0-4 but I do understand that preseason is to review plays and players. My concern is that our QB seems to show that if you put pressure on him and drive him out of the pocket then he’s no good for the team. So, the line had better protect him or our season is in trouble because he has no legs and “All” the teams know it by now. “Go Falcons”!

what

September 2nd, 2011
12:04 pm

AMT……a the case with most QBs. FAIL!

Creaky

September 2nd, 2011
12:12 pm

What. A man with a clue about preseason.

ready for some football

September 2nd, 2011
12:13 pm

AMT “True Falcon Fan
If your QB is running for his life the problem won’t (”want” for some of our English Majors) be how good his legs are. I do understand who you’re (your) pining for. Give it up, he’s gone from here and soon to be gone from NFL.

[...] Falcons failed to win a preseason game for the first time since2003…Falcons head coach Mike Smith is not concerned about the preseason record…Falcons presidentRich McKay was promoted, adding CEO to his title on [...]

We Dat say gon beat dem Saints

September 2nd, 2011
1:21 pm

JP looked like trash, and it wasn’t just the poor line play. He made poor reads, poor throws, and poor decisions. He was surely an asset in the offseason, helping bring his college teammate JJ11 up to speed with the Tide vs. Falcons’ offense, but That’s in the coach’s hands now. He isn’t elligible for the practice squad, and it may be time for him to go. Again, Coach’s problem, not mine.
And to Yo Vince, consider something about big games in the GA Dome: Shockley was 1-0 in SEC Title games, compared to JPW’s 0-1. the Tide are a GREAT team, but their last great QB was a Joe Namath. UGA on the other hand, Stafford, Shockley, David Green, Hines Ward…I don’t want to overload your AL education, but lets just say they know a thing or 2 about good QBs in Athens.

We Dat say gon beat dem Saints

September 2nd, 2011
1:28 pm

JP looked like trash, and it wasn’t just the poor line play. He made poor reads, poor throws, and poor decisions. He was surely an asset in the offseason, helping bring his college teammate JJ11 up to speed with the Tide vs. Falcons’ offense, but That’s in the coach’s hands now. He isn’t elligible for the practice squad, and it may be time for him to go. Again, Coach’s problem, not mine.
And to Yo Vince, consider something about big games in the GA Dome: Shockley was 1-0 in SEC Title games, compared to JPW’s 0-1. the Tide are a GREAT team, but their last great QB was a Joe Namath. UGA on the other hand, Stafford, Shockley, David Green, Hines Ward…I don’t want to overload your AL education, but lets just say they know a thing or 2 about good QBs in Athens.Enter your comments here