Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with Falcons coach Mike Smith

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the media after the 31-17 loss to the Ravens. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the media after the 31-17 loss to the Ravens. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith was not pleased with the overall effort against the Baltimore Ravens.

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

OPENING STATEMENT: Anytime that you go out and step on the field, the objective is to win the ball game. I think we did a lot of things that will takeaway from your opportunities to win ball games. You can’t turn the ball over four times. You can’t have eight or nine penalties for plus 100 yards. Two of them on defense that kept drives alive.

But with that being said, you look at different parts of the game and there were some very good things that took place in the ball game. We’ve got a lot of things to correct on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. There were some positives. There was Dominique Franks with the punt return that he had there in the first half. He set us up in the red-zone. That was a real nice return.

ON THE PLAY OF THE FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE AND FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE: I think that they were very effective. They were very efficient. We did have a turnover in the red-zone. Offensively, you’d like to have those opportunities back. You definitely want to leave the red-zone with at least three points and preferably seven. I thought we threw the ball well. The protection held up and our running game was sufficient. We tried to do a no-huddle situation with every group tonight. I thought that when we were in no-huddle we did a nice job. Defensively, the first unit did some good things in terms of third down efficiency. You guys know the stats. They were very good on third down efficiency and played well while they were in there.

Again, guys, there was a lot of guys on this football that just aren’t on the first- or second-unit that are going to have to play well for us at some point in time during the season for us to have the season that we want to have. That’s the main focus of these first couple of preseason games, to see what those guys are going to be capable of doing.

ANY UPDATE ON DENT? ANY REGRETS ON HAVING HIM OUT THERE ON THE PUNT COVERAGE TEAM: He’s a core special teams player. He’s our base linebacker. He’s going to have to play some special teams throughout the season. When you are a base player, you are playing about 45 percent of the snaps. No regrets whatsoever and I can’t tell you about the other injury stuff because I haven’t had the opportunity to have the follow-up meeting with the physician and the trainer.

ON HARRY DOUGLAS: Harry had an issue with his ribs from the work against the Tennessee Titans and we felt it was in our best interest to hold him out.

ON JULIO’S BIG DAY: Julio continues to progress like he did last year. I think he made some real strong catches. That was a great catch there in the end zone. He went over 100 yards in the short time that he was playing out there. I thought Roddy [White] did a nice job as well. I thought Matt [Ryan] threw the ball well.

ON THE PASS PROTECTION: Before I watch the film, it seemed like the pocket was clean for the most part when he was in there. Matt was 9 out of 13 for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. They did a nice job and there were some pressure schemes. Baltimore is a very aggressive defense. There were some pressure schemes and I thought that our guys handled it well.

ON THE PASSING GAME: We’re going through this preseason and this offseason trying to continue to find what our guys do well. Tonight with the installation those were some of the things we wanted to look at. There was no game-planning done on this game at all. We are just going right along with what our installation. There will be no game-planning for the game next Thursday. The first time that we’ll game-plan for our opponent will be the third and fourth preseason games.

ON FIRST DOWN PLAYS: I think it’s going to be very important for any offensive team to get ahead of the chains. You get ahead of the chains by making big plays on first down. Sometimes, it’s often overlooked that the third down efficiency for an offense is the most important thing. But if you can make first downs on first down or first downs on second down and never get to third down, it’s usually a pretty darn good thing. That’s something that I thought we did very well tonight.

ON THE BACKUP QUARTERBACK  BATTLE: I think it’s wide open. I think you saw after our first quarterback left, we had everybody else got an opportunity to do it. It will play itself out over the next three weeks. I don’t think anybody has an advantage, who’s up on the other one. We’re going to let these guys put a body of work out there and we’re going to evaluate it at the end of the preseason.

ON THE CHALLENGE: It was a bad challenge by Coach Smith. It didn’t get reversed, so it was a bad challenge.

ON THE REPLACEMENT REFS: It was like any other preseason game in my mind. Everybody was out there for the first time playing games. We’ve got a lot of things that we have to correct, starting with us as a coaching staff.

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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

117 comments Add your comment

ATFF

August 10th, 2012
12:49 am

Keep working at it. it will come

Falcons 62 - Saints 7

August 10th, 2012
12:56 am

Blake

August 10th, 2012
12:57 am

Same ole’ excuses!

ATFF

August 10th, 2012
1:13 am

@Blake After re-reading the article I cant find an excuse anywhere. Happy Trolling!

ATLER

August 10th, 2012
4:59 am

Dominique Davis was the best QB on the field Thursday night. Put him in with the first and second unit and see what he can do.

Really?

August 10th, 2012
7:11 am

@ATLER a.k.a. Dominique Davis’s Mom — be objective even though it’s your son

[...] the Falcons starting middle LB is a “base” player and a key contributor on special teams. No regrets from Coach Smith. Probably. Hopefully Akeem is OK; he played really [...]

Whadda Ya Know?

August 10th, 2012
7:39 am

I don’t know that I’d call any of our other QBs backups at this point. Redman and JPW has been in this system long enough to perform at a higher level than they did. Neither deserves to be an NFL backup. Davis is basically a developmental QB at this point and should be kept as the 3rd QB. Bring in a veteran QB in place of Redman…send JPW home.

yeahsure

August 10th, 2012
7:54 am

1. The Scab Refs need practice. PLENTY of practice. 4 preseason games are not enough.
2. The backup QB situation needs to be addressed. Surely, they plan to pick someone up. JPW does not belong in this league. They are wasting valuable snaps with him on the team.
3. I hope this game lights a fire into the 2nd/3rd stringers. They cannot keep getting blown out like this.

[...] Q&A with Falcons coach Mike Smith after the loss to the Ravens [...]

FALCLOWNS...it don't matter

August 10th, 2012
8:09 am

You will continue this pattern of failure…fact….Saints own the NFC South…at least we’re smart enough to not take preseason games seriously…..Falclowns are exactly that…CLOWNS….

Same old, same old...

August 10th, 2012
8:13 am

…first play of the game – Turner up the middle; second play of the game, Turner off tackle. Gee, and we got a new OC for this?

Bradley may give this effort an “A”, yet I am glad that Smitty was watching the same game as me – those guys really sucked – just hope Smitty has some idea as to how to right this ship – looked exactly like the playoff loss last year when the second / third teamers were in there – no one had a clue, unlike the Raven second and third teamers – and that, folks, goes back to coaching and personnel decisions – are you listening TD?

Same old, same old...

August 10th, 2012
8:14 am

the Ravens have a coach and a personnel guy who knows what he is doing – Atlanta has nothing…

atlswag

August 10th, 2012
8:23 am

1st team offense and defense looked good, defense was awesome i think, offense was good but redaonze int needs to be corrected plus matt ryan needs to stop staring down the dam WR as soon as he gets the ball!!

atlswag

August 10th, 2012
8:24 am

o and jpw needs to find another job, football isnt for him in the nfl. Davis looked real good with 2nd & 3rd stringers

The Reader

August 10th, 2012
8:28 am

Here we go again! Words, words, words, but no results. This is the way it is going to be: After preseason games TD, and MS ” will not be worried” (as last year). At the end of December reality show begins, with multiple firing on 2nd Mondy of February 2013.

SeenThis B4

August 10th, 2012
8:30 am

I haven’t watched your game yet, but I’ve read the reports, the big outcome seems to be Dent’s head injury…on a related topic, Lofton had another outstanding game.

Saints’ first team defense seems to be coming together, the first team looked good, the back ups not so much….seems to be the same for you guys. First team offense mailed it in last night.

I hear that y’all ran a screen with Julio that led to a score? LOL! Haven’t seen that yet either, but sounds more like a sweep than a screen, close enough I guess, but I’ll see.

Referees still stunk up the place, so nothing’s changed there, and that has nothing to do with them being replacements.

The Reader

August 10th, 2012
8:30 am

BTW – MS smiling again! Same smile as the one after losing to NYG in 1st playoff game.” Again, Mr. MS: What i it to smile about???”

ATLSWAG

August 10th, 2012
8:43 am

@SeenThisB4…You must be an undercover Falcons fan since I see you always commenting on our blogs..tell me if im wrong please

Cejay

August 10th, 2012
8:52 am

Seen, I notice you didn’t talk about your teams first offense…….oohhhh yeah….they didn’t score any point….well, unless you count the field goal kicker….lol…….fail. “da man” did complete ONE pass.lol

Whadda Ya Know?

August 10th, 2012
8:54 am

CHILDREN constantly go on another team’s blog and criticize them. Grown men don’t waste their time going to the opponent’s blog. All you little Aints trolls need to worry about your own team and stop hating on the Falcons. We WILL prevail against the Drews.

Falcondawg

August 10th, 2012
9:07 am

It blows my ming how negative everyone is being about this one game. I was at the game and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Falcons had VERY few drives ever as clean and smooth as the first one last night, especially in the passing game. Neither team had a guy that will see the field playing in the second half. I honestly beleive if that had been a real gam we would have put at leat 35 points, ON THE RAVENS!

SeenThis B4

August 10th, 2012
9:11 am

@Cejay: What’s wrong, can’t you read? I said that our first team offense mailed it in.

PMC

August 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Well said Coach.

PMC

August 10th, 2012
9:18 am

They were under 4 YPC last night for each back. Holes were not opened in the running game. Thought Baker and Reynolds looked much improved at times last night.

Someone got Redman killed.

Speaking of which, for Davis first effort he looked pretty good. JPW might need to go ahead and pack, and we should probably think about signing Rex Grossman or someone of that ilk to backup. I’m not very confident we could win games with Rojohombre.

[...] “He’s a core special teams player,” Smith said. “He’s our base linebacker. He’s going to have to play some special teams throughout the season. When you are a base player, you are playing about 45 percent of the snaps. No regrets whatsoever.” [...]

D man

August 10th, 2012
9:22 am

First team offense and defense =A+
The rest of the team = no comment…

MyThoughts

August 10th, 2012
9:23 am

Who were worse the replacement referees or the announcers ?????

D man

August 10th, 2012
9:24 am

How long will it be before teams put their best cover guy on Julio instaed of Roddy? If Julio keeps having quarters like he did last night it won’t be long. Then Roddy will get more passes again. I love our receiving corp.

Stupid

August 10th, 2012
9:25 am

Would someone please explain Smitty’s quote “Everybody was out there for the first time playing games. Who was playing games? He is still making the same excuse that the coaching staff has things they need to correct. Not to optimistic.

Flacons never learn

August 10th, 2012
9:27 am

Hear is what I thing about alst nites game

Flacons still sux for the most part.

2 many truenovers. What is wrong with Rayan? He threw strait 2 a Raven palyer.
JPW look like a high shcooler out there.
Redmond was no beter
The new guy gave up an INT 2.

Perrier Jerry is still a bust
Abrerham is 2 old and need 2 retrie
the DBs lo0k loss all the time.
2 many 3 and outs

This team will be lucky 2 finish 4 – 12

JSS

August 10th, 2012
9:30 am

That must be helluva of concussion Whaddya has!

That’s crazy simpleton blogging!

Never ever put the name Rex Grossman in polite company… Rex is a QB room cancer and is just never going to get it (mentally)… Waste of salary cap space!

Lex Apostata

August 10th, 2012
9:34 am

The Atlanta first-string was better than the Baltimore first-string . . . the guys Baltimore is going to cut are better than the guys Atlanta is going to cut.

Whadda Ya Know?

August 10th, 2012
9:40 am

JSS…concussion? Rex Grossman? Sounds like you’re the one with the concussion. WTF u talkin about? Crawl back under whatever rock you came from.

Falcon Fan

August 10th, 2012
9:42 am

Don’t know if D. Davis was the best qb out there, but he definitely was the second best behind Ryan. I think he deserves a shot at second string. Redmond hasn’t shown me anything in years and for that matter, neither has JPW. I would run Davis out there behind Ryan and see what he can do with guys that can actually catch passes.

GT = WIDE RECEIVER U

August 10th, 2012
9:43 am

The most important stat of the night…..1st team O vs 1st team D….Falcons win that battle EASILY 14-0.

If this were regular season, Falcons don’t back off like they did last night…..final score probably 38-10.

Falcon Fan

August 10th, 2012
9:47 am

@Seen it was a wr screen to Julio Jones that led to getting into the red zone. Very nice play and something I don’t remember seeing the Falcons run. I must admit I was surprised. Ryan looked very sharp with the exception of that pick, but hey he’s not the only one who threw one last night. All in all the Falcons first string dominated the Ravens and most of the other guys won’t see the field at all in the regular season. Same with you guys I’m sure.

Paddy

August 10th, 2012
9:47 am

Blake……..Coach Smith was very honest in his view of the game. I did not see him issue any excuses. You must have been referrng to another team or another coach. Maybe you didn’t read the article, who knows?

Falcon Fan

August 10th, 2012
9:49 am

I was about to break my TV when the ref kept calling us Arizona. Seriously the NFL needs to fix this dispute with the refs quick because I don’t think this replacement crew can cut it.

PMC

August 10th, 2012
9:51 am

JSS, I apologise for uttering that name in polite company.

Cejay

August 10th, 2012
9:53 am

@Seen
I saw your one sentence, I was looking for your normal loooong diatribe…….but I guess there wasn’t much to say

BTW
di·a·tribe/ˈdīəˌtrīb/Noun: A forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something.

SeenThisBFalcon

August 10th, 2012
10:03 am

First teamers looked great…..@SeenThisB4 ya the Ain’ts didn’t do to much yesterday..Dree Breezy was close to being put out for the season…

Surg

August 10th, 2012
10:13 am

Hate the helmet to helmet Akeem Dent suffered last night, other than that, the first team performed excellent. Chris Redman and JPW will be cut of they play like did last night again. Davis looked really good at 3rd. Defense looked ok but the second and third team have to work on tackling…good showing by the WR’s, we have a lot of depth there…

SirReal

August 10th, 2012
10:14 am

I dont know if anyone else saw but Baker got ABUSED yet again last night….

suggs

August 10th, 2012
10:17 am

@Flacons never learn. I think you should work on your New Orleans public school education before enlightning us on the Falcons. Perhaps you and SeenThisB4 can trade emails on the subject.

Poor falxants

August 10th, 2012
10:17 am

Go win a super bowl then and only then can you poor suffering failcants fans can talk. It’s amazing how a team that has never one anything it’s fans continue to trash talk. Obviously you haven’t read, your team is one of about 6 never to win a super bowl.

Flacons never learn

August 10th, 2012
10:18 am

Anoter thing if I see Tippytoes Turner take the ball and just fall forward for 1 yard Im goin 2 scream!

suggs

August 10th, 2012
10:18 am

Apologies. “enlightening”

Flacons never learn

August 10th, 2012
10:19 am

@ suggs

Shut up!

U suggs! LOLOLOLO!!!!

Cejay

August 10th, 2012
10:26 am

…and the aints didn’t even score a touch down last nite……and you’re trashing us….what a joke you are !!!lol