Q&A: Smith says team showed maturity in win over Titans

A different week and a different result as Falcons head coach Mike Smith applaudes his team for picking up the first down on a 4th down and 1 attempt against the Titans during 2nd half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

A different week and a different result as Falcons head coach Mike Smith applaudes his team for picking up the first down on a 4th down and 1 attempt against the Titans during 2nd half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith was pleased with the victory over Tennessee, but  not with the red zone offense (2 of 6) or the third down defense (8 or 14).  

Here’s what Smith had to say after the Falcons’ 23-17 victory over the Titans on Sunday: 

OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously, we came into this ball game looking to get back on track. That was our number one objective and we got that accomplished. We made it a little bit harder than it needed to be. We have a number of things to address and get fixed. Whether [if] you win by a large amount or you win by one, you always have things that you have to get fixed. It’s a learning process for our team. This team bounced back and they showed their resiliency of a very mature football team.

ON MICHAEL TURNER’S SHOWING:  Michael Turner ran the ball extremely hard. He ran down behind his pads. We did a nice job blocking. I thought that we put ourselves in the best situation with calling it at the line of scrimmage to get the best number count. Michael ran extremely hard today and the guys did a nice job blocking up front, as well as on the perimeter with our wide receivers.

ON NO-HUDDLE AND 11 PERSONNEL GROUPING: It sounds like a broken record, but we have these discussions during the week. We have strategic planning and that was the way we were going to approach this game. Again, it’s based on how things happen and how the game plays out between series. We thought it was working very effectively for us and felt that it was the best way to give us the opportunity to win the ballgame.

ON PLAN FOR IMPROVEMENT: Red zone efficiency; we’ve got to be more efficient down there in the red zone. You’ve got to score touchdowns when you’re down in the red zone. It’s very important in this League to score touchdowns and not kick field goals. We were not very efficient in the red zone. You can’t turn the ball over in the red zone. Our third down efficiency today was not what it needed to be. You can’t give up fourth down. You can’t give up fourth down and 16 at the end of the ball game to allow them to keep the track going. Those are a couple of things that we need to address.

ON REBOUNDING: It says a lot about the guys. Regardless of the outcome, we know it’s a long season. Regardless of the outcome, we have to move on to the next football game. Our guys have done an outstanding job since we’ve been here.  .  .  We don’t let things linger. When we get back out on that field on Wednesday we wipe our slate clean and we move on.

ON THE RUN DEFENSE SHUTTING DOWN CHRIS JOHNSON: One of the ‘musts’ that we had going into this ballgame was that we must stop Chris Johnson. This guy is a dynamic running back and if he gets around the edge and around the corner and if we don’t

leverage the ball properly, then we are going to not have success. We did a very good job. I thought Jonathan Babineaux was a very good tempo setter for us today inside playing defensive tackle.

ON MATT RYAN RUNNING THE NO HUDDLE:  I think Matt continues to show his maturity in terms of what he’s able to handle. I thought he did a very good job running the no-huddle offense. I think he was over 100 on his quarterback rating and I think when he has that type of rating then we definitely enhance our chances of winning.

ON TENNESSEE’S JAKE LOCKER:  He threw the two touchdown passes. I think he was nine out of 19, but he was very successful when he threw the ball downfield. He had the two touchdown passes and obviously we’ve got to be better in our defense of the pass plays in the fourth quarter.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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36 comments Add your comment


November 20th, 2011
11:15 pm

Amazing what change a week can bring–last week after the game all of us were griping about Coach Smith–then the media pointed out that statistically, he was correct to go for it. Today, we all love him again after a fine job vs. the Titans. Smitty seems to be able to tune us all out and keep on truckin’….

Jerry Glanville

November 20th, 2011
11:46 pm

What a relief, thanks Mike for calling the quarter back sneak on 4 and 1 today, Turner was a beast! The defense played great and Matt Ryan continues to to lead this team. A plus today!!!!!!!!!!!
Great job Falcons


November 20th, 2011
11:49 pm

Inconsistent is a good term for this team. Inconsistency on both sides of the ball offense and defense. Rarely do I feel comfortable with the team’s ability to put 7 on the board vs 3. The defense is just as unpredictable. I counted 3 interception opportunities drop to the carpet today and it’s been happening all season. Even the reliable play making Grimes can’t hold on to a sure turnover lately. The Falcons found ways to make the Titans keep scrapping for the win. Inconsistent team and time is running out to put it together.


November 21st, 2011
1:22 am

Got another cake-walk next week. Time to fix our offensive problems before Houston, one of the league’s better defenses. Poor New Orleans has to face a New York Giants team fighting for a win. Next week this time we might be eye to eye with those Saints.


November 21st, 2011
6:38 am

In other words, Mularkey is holding this team back huh Smith? And btw, what’s up with the Falcons and the Hawks in the 3rd and 4th quarter? They just chill out after halftime for some reason. Atlanta must getting to them. You know how we like to chill. lol


November 21st, 2011
6:39 am

Wish we could keep Hamio Jones on the field.(Even though Roddy seems to disappear when he’s out there.


November 21st, 2011
6:43 am

One more thing, my dad called me and said, “Damn son, it could be 3rd down and 50, and it wouldnt matter when your’re playing the Falcons”. lol.

Third down efficiency is overrated

November 21st, 2011
7:10 am

Wait–no mention of how critical 3rd downs were? I guess that’s because the Titans were better (57% to 33% 3rd down efficiency). I’m sure next week as we gear up for Minnesota there will be analysis what a key stat this is. LOL.


November 21st, 2011
7:21 am

Why wait until the Titans game to use the NoHuddle 100% of the game?

By this time, Matt Ryan should and is able to handle more than the coaching can handle! Give him the ball!

The coaching staff doesn’t recognize that that MTurner means limitations on fourth down.

Has MSmith gotten so mad that he has taken over the offense and defense.


November 21st, 2011
7:26 am

Lockey looked Rodgers out there! Great job coach! Not….


November 21st, 2011
7:29 am

Enter your comments here

Falcon James

November 21st, 2011
8:22 am

the falcon are just not able to beat the teams that matter. they win the games they should win, but always try to give the game away. they is no indication they can beat a good team. a good team will take the opportunity the falcon give in the 3rd and 4th qtr to beat them. dunta is pittiful. white let his mouth get the best of him again, but at least this time, he wait til after the game. he sounded alot like a QB we used to have that admitted he did not prepare and did not give 100%. abe is washed up. 3 sack for the entire season a he got 2 of them in the first game. put a spoon in him because he done. edwards look like a overpaid bust too. i think if we waive abe, white, dunta, owens, grimes, turner and gonzolez, we can probably get enough room to sign to quality players. I also think we should just fire mularky and let ryan call his own play. mularky don’t contribute at all to the success of the team and is a liability.


November 21st, 2011
8:33 am

sit Weems and start Meier


November 21st, 2011
8:58 am

Coach Smith , L. Robinson caught another TD pass yesterday. Just saying……….it wasn’t like it was a financial decision.


November 21st, 2011
9:00 am

The Falcons won so stop complaining! Good job Falcons! Things seem to be lining up in your favor.


November 21st, 2011
9:10 am

Why does it seem that the staff seems to have NO killer instinct. Once before I die I’d like to see them open up a can of whoop a** on someone and just stomp’em. Instead, they play patty-cakes and then have to hang to to win against teams of lesser talent.

Blue Fender

November 21st, 2011
9:36 am

Could Dan Fouts be more of a Falcon hater? I remember him calling games since the 80’s and he’s always made snide little comments about the Falcons. On Dunte’s int, he was screaming for a challenge. He made another comment about Ryan’s inability to lead the team (I forget exactly what he said). What a douche!

Mr. Mustard

November 21st, 2011
10:32 am

Didn’t see the game. Congratulations on a victory. Glad to see the no-huddle used more, maybe they are willing to try new methods.

Seriously disappointed this year. Not with our record, but how we have attained it.

Maturation? That bar has been set high, to the praise of management to be sure. Climbing over that bar will be the moment we have matured. Meaning, we beat the elites.

Until then, we are in a football field of mediocrity and after 45 years of watching this freaking team, I have had enough of settling.

Win something.


November 21st, 2011
11:27 am

Good win and I enjoyed the game. It got a little too close at the end. I don’t understand that in the first quarter on the 1 yard line he kicked a field goal on forth down but in the forth quarter, he did’nt kick the field goal even thought it would have made a 3 score difference instead of two.


November 21st, 2011
11:54 am

Tennessee scored those 2 touchdowns on 1 player — Chris Owens. Why is Owens on the field ever? I know Hayden was hurt but there’s GOT to be someone better than Owens on the sideline. I think Clabo could cover better. Owens got burnt twice by Washington, both times for TDs. And there is no way a $5 million a year player allows a long, floating pass to be caught like Dunte Robinson did on the drive for the second TD.

Michael M.

November 21st, 2011
12:05 pm

I simply just loveeeeeeeeeeeee this Atlanta Falcons Team we have in Atlanta now. Congrats to Atlanta for another Win and onwards and upwards !

Joe Tess Fish House

November 21st, 2011
12:15 pm

The Flacons gut luky again. They cant tackel or stop a team on 3 down.


November 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

Falcon James["i think if we waive abe, white, dunta, owens, grimes, turner and gonzolez"],where did you get that stuff you are smoking from must be real GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

True Falcon

November 21st, 2011
12:38 pm

Hello,is the thing on???? We played the Titans!!!

Ron the Man

November 21st, 2011
1:14 pm

That’s the way to bounce back falcons after the disappointing loss last week. We know that all teams continue to pass short middle on our defense, but when we had Cris Owens in there they pick on him immediately for the long stuff. Babs had a killer game on the dline, and we got the most pressure on the QB of any game this year I thought.Lot of explosive plays, but must work on the red zone scoring.Hopefully Julio will help answer that for us next week. Gooooo Falcons!


November 21st, 2011
1:22 pm


N= Not
F= For
L= Long

If those two players don’t get it together in pass plays then their 2011 season could be their final season in a Falcons’ uniform..hint hint.



November 21st, 2011
1:36 pm

to bad smitty didn’t show it against the saints

Jonesing for Football

November 21st, 2011
3:32 pm

BVG should be fired if he teaches tackling like Dunta Robinson displayed on Matt Hasselbeck yesterday. He whiffed worse than Casey at bat. C’mon Man!!!

Columbus Falcons Fan

November 21st, 2011
4:14 pm

I’m very happy the Falcons got a win on yesterday but I am not impressed by there play. We suppose to be a super bowl caliber team but we are not playing like it at this point. There are several areas that we have to tune up before we play Houston. I think the Minnesota game next week will be a easy win especially with Adrian Peterson out. We have to get it together Falcons and go out the Sunday and play ball like I know you guys can. RISE UP!!!!!!!


November 21st, 2011
5:12 pm

Sorry, MATURITY! Wrong word coach, maturity is when you have a lead you seal it not blow it,maturity is being able to get a yard when you need it not dialing up an exotic quarterback sneak trick play. Making a good decision wrather than an emotional one. 11 weeks of football and the Falcons are still playing sloppy. The table is set for a run and i’m all for peaking in December and January, but it’s going to take some MATURITY COACH!

philip minutillo

November 21st, 2011
5:19 pm

any word on injures

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 21st, 2011
5:49 pm

Nothing on injuries. Everyone worked out with the athletic performance staff today. Kelvin Hayden was in the building, too.

philip minutillo

November 21st, 2011
5:57 pm

Thanks D. Encouraging that Hayden was in the building. Hoping his injury is just day to day.

falcon fan

November 21st, 2011
6:15 pm

Chris Owens wears a sign on his back telling quarterback throw here, this man is open. They look for 21 when he is on field. Why not try Franks , anyone would be better than Owens. Is TD to in love with his draft picks to cut them?


November 21st, 2011
6:34 pm

I agree with you falcon fan! I don’t mean to sound bad, but this dude is terrible. For the last 2 seasons Falcons have continue to hold on to0 this kid.


November 22nd, 2011
7:18 am

And when are more people going to start calling out Dunta Robinson? Dude, you stink. How about earning your paycheck some time, Money? What are you, the 3rd or 4th highest paid player on the team? Play like it, punk.