TAMPA – Falcons coach Mike Smith is clearly not pleased with how his team is performing and clearly knows that he has problems along the offensive line.
OPENING STATEMENT: I felt like that we fought our tails off to get back into the game. We didn’t play very well. We didn’t do a whole lot of good things in the first three quarters and at the end of the day we just dug ourselves [into] too big of a hole and we weren’t able to execute the things that we need to execute there at the end of the ball game to give us a chance. We’ve got to do a better job in all three phases of the game if we want to have an opportunity to win ball games. We can’t turn the ball over like we did and have the turnovers in the red zone. Those are crucial and we’ve got to continue to work on protecting our quarterback, especially there in the first half. [Matt Ryan] got hit way too many times, and two of those turnovers were a direct result of our quarterback getting hit. And with that I’ll open it up with questions.
ON THE OFFSIDES PENALTY ON THE FOURTH-AND-ONE: You guys saw it on tape. They were not going to snap the football. It was going to be a freeze play. They were going to use a hard count. We talked about it on the sidelines. We did not execute as an entire defense, […] one person in that play did not determine the outcome of the game. There were lots of plays in this ball game today in which we didn’t get our job done.
ON WHAT HE’S SEING IN HIS TEAM: We’re making way too many mistakes in terms of penalties and we’re not hitting on all cylinders right now. That’s something that we’ve got to get fixed and it’s […] something that we’ve been working on since the beginning of the season and we will continue to work on it. Those are a bunch of proud men in there. We didn’t get the outcome that we wanted today, but we are going to work at it. It’s a long season. We’ve got a loss on the road to a divisional opponent. That’s what happened.
ON BEING DOWN BY 10 IN EACH GAME THIS SEASON: We have not started fast. We have not gotten out of the chute like we would like. Every coach in this league talks about starting fast. It’s one of the things that you have to do and we have not done that up to this point. The guys continue to fight hard. They have resolve, but we’ve got to make sure that we come out of the game hitting on all cylinders and I’ll [take] my hat off to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Today they were the better team.”
ON HIS LINE: Of course when you get your starting center that had played 144 consecutive games, getting him back is big for us. Again, we’ve got a lot of areas to address. You saw the ball game and you know that there are certain things that we’re not doing as efficiently and as effectively as we need to. That’s the bottom line.