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