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