Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with Falcons coach Mike Smith

Falcons Dolphins Football

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is blocked from making a catch by Dolphins defensive back Nolan Carroll. AP

MIAMI — Falcons coach Mike Smith was pleased with the overall effort of the team after they snapped a seven-game exhibition season losing streak with a 23-6 victory over the Dolphins on Friday night at Sun Life Stadium.

Here are some of the excerpts from his post-game chat:

OPENING STATEMENT: “I was really pleased with some of the things that we did tonight. The effort was good in all three phrases. I felt that we improved defensively, especially on third down. That was one of the things that we didn’t do very well in the last ball game. Offensively, I felt that we left some points out there. Not necessarily in the red zone all the time. Sometimes it was pre-red zone; just before you get into the red zone. I thought our special teams units played well. We had an opportunity to return a kickoff. I was very impressed with what Jacquizz Rodgers did. There are lots of things that we have to get fixed between now and next week as we go through the finish of the preseason. The toughest thing is getting the roster in place over the next 14 days and we’ll be doing that going to 75 and then to 53.

ON MIAMI ROOKIE QB RYAN TANNEHILL: He’s very athletic. I thought he did a nice job. It looked like he had a very good command of the offense. He moved well within it. He took off and ran it a couple of times. He had a nice 15-yard scramble on third down. He looked like he had a very good understanding of their offense. You could see that he was getting them into plays and out of plays based on the defensive looks.

SHORT YARDAGE OFFENSE: To me that was not a true short yardage (situation). It was a fourth down-and-2. It wasn’t a fourth-and-1. We were right on the edge in terms of whether if we wanted to attempt a field goal in terms of the mark that we set in pre-game. There is a swirling win in this stadium. We felt like we had a chance to get the fourth down. We didn’t convert it and at that point in time we probably left some points potentially on the field and not on the scoreboard.

ON MATT RYAN’S RED HOT EXHIBITION SEASON: I think Matt had a very productive preseason. Again, the preseason is working on things. You do game plan somewhat in this third preseason game. There were still some things we wanted to work on and in turn, that fit into what we were doing game-plan wise. I think Matt maybe was somewhere over 72, maybe somewhere closer to 75 percent in his completions here in the preseason. Matt did a nice job. I think he has a really good understanding of what we are trying to get done with our new staff.

ON SECOND ROUND PICK PETER KONZ WITH THE FIRST TEAM OFFENSE: It was very important. We said all along that we were going to have open competition. There was going to be evaluations across the board at every position and I think that we’ve done that through the first three games. We still have another game that will allow us to continue that evaluation. But we made sure that – when we’ve been able to do it – we’ve been rotating guys in there. Probably along the offensive line, that is the toughest one to do. But we were able to do it because of the length of time the No. 1 team was out on the field. So we got an opportunity to see him out there with the first team.

ON JULIO JONES: I think Julio continues to mature from year one to year two. He has a better understanding of what being an NFL player is.

ON AKEEM DENT: I thought Akeem did some nice things. I think you’ll see that we actually gave him some work in our (nickel) package. The majority of his time was spent on first and second down, but we wanted to give him some extra work. He was out there in our sub package in the third quarter.

ON THE PASS RUSH: They did a nice job in terms of their game plan with their quarterback and what they wanted to get accomplished. We didn’t fit the run a little bit. They wanted to run the ball a little bit and we didn’t fit it. The quarterback scrambled on us on a rush-lane integrity issue. But I thought they had a very good game plan in terms of allowing their quarterback to get into a rhythm. He made some throws and he made some plays. I think the guy is going to be a good quarterback. He’s going to be a very good quarterback.

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24 comments Add your comment

Still Rick

August 25th, 2012
12:47 am

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SINCE66

August 25th, 2012
6:26 am

I think both sides of the ball need quite a bit of work. Is ther any wat to get across to these tv stations
and networks that we tune in to watch the ballgame and not a bunch of bull malarky? Why can’t these
blockheads see this? Enough of this junk, we want to watch the game no matter how many rookies are in the game.

The Real Rick

August 25th, 2012
6:31 am

Like some of what I saw….hated some of what I saw….turner may of only had a few running yards but he caught 3 for over 36….

David

August 25th, 2012
7:15 am

Dunta will be toast all year !

Me Too

August 25th, 2012
7:32 am

Give me a BREAK, the Falcons should be scoring touchdowns. It Turner, Turner, Turner.

FAILCANTS fans should be very worried

August 25th, 2012
7:40 am

Saints and Panthers will crush you…..welcome to 3rd or 4th place in the NFC South…fact….your team is really bad….poor coaching….execution…..delusional if you think you have a chance agains an ELITE team like the Saints….you don’t….explains why we have a ring and you DON’T and WON’T…

Trolling, trolling, trolling…..

Geemack

August 25th, 2012
7:53 am

I would really like to see Ryan spread the ball around and stop targeting his main target.

PapaK

August 25th, 2012
8:07 am

The Falcons offense didn’t look their best but they did win against an inferior team. What is the impression of the left tackle Holmes. Anyone.

SeenThisBFalcon

August 25th, 2012
8:21 am

Wasn’t too impressed but its also preseason!

RB GA FALCON

August 25th, 2012
8:58 am

this only a test,this is only a test,because it is preseason they will not show all there plans and i believe mr michael turner will punish defenders late in the 3erd and 4th quarters. be ready and RISE UP ATL!!!!!

Falcon James

August 25th, 2012
9:38 am

The Dolfin fielded a good defense and they certainly impacted our drives. Our Offense looked good. Even Turner seemed to run with some power. I think we saw Ryans limit on the deep pass which only means that Ryan will through the ball a little sooner. Julio had no problem out running the best DB Miami had. Good Game.

BK

August 25th, 2012
9:42 am

L E T S G O F A L C O N S ! ! ! ! WE WILL GO 10- 6 THIS SEASON I PREDICT…

Mikey

August 25th, 2012
9:43 am

Holmes looked good. He was working against backups but he did his job and quite well at that. Note one pass play where he took his man out and jumped to the left quickly to take out someone else rushing around the end. He is big, strong and moves. He has an appreciation of the QB’s blind side for certain. I liked what little we saw of him last night. Certainly very good for his first time on the NFL field. Nice to see him in action.

I second the terrible TV coverage (again). It tore me up not to be able to see the team in action while dope after dope rambled on and on. Let the dopes get their own TV show and see if anyone tunes in. When we turn on the TV to watch our Falcons, we seroiusly want to see our FALCONS! It is fine to have questions for Mr. Blank but work them into the telecast as color comentary and don’t lose sight of the fact that there is a game in progress. We want to evaluate new talent as best we can and we certainly missed a lot of plays while this crap drove us nuts. If these guys actually did some preparation, they could even comment themselves on Atlanta/Miami draft choices and free agents that are fighting for a job with replays of their performance. I’m not certain they were even aware that quarterbacks changed let alone position players. This team might be ready to do the job in two weeks and decisions regarding cuts should be easier this year than they typically are… GO FALCONS!

Falcon James

August 25th, 2012
10:07 am

I will third the TV announcers. Did anybody else notice that they had Arthur Blank muted. I guess they figure nobody was interested in what he have to say. Next week, maybe they mute the announcers mic.

old qb

August 25th, 2012
10:17 am

Domonique Davis will definitely beat out Wilson–already has. Anybody notice that Tim Toone has some excellent speed, moves, and hands. Reminds me a bit of Wes Welker. And why does everyone include Kerry Meier as the fourth receiver as if it’s a given. The guy is always out injured not a good sign if you want to make the team.
Antone Smith looks good when he’s on the field.
Akeem Dent doesn’t have a clue when he’s in pass coverage–and if he does he can’t stick with his man. Going to be a problem when the season starts.
Samuel doesn’t look good so far and can’t tackle–Rex Ryan was right.
William Moore could be all-pro this year.
Somebody sign Grimes to a long time contract–he’s the only legitimate corner we’ve got.
Our running game doesn’t scare anyone. Our offensive line still can’t move anyone out of the way to open ahole.
With the schedule the Falcons are a 9-7 team this year.And someone get some announcers that can tell us who the hell is on the field.

Gritz

August 25th, 2012
12:58 pm

I truly love Smitty but I never learn a thing from his pressers. He seems incapable of providing true criticism or honest, open evaluation to the press.

“What did you think of Hitler Coach Smith?”

“Well, I thought he did some nice things. I’ll have to look at the History Channel films to truly gauge what he did.”

SavDawg

August 25th, 2012
1:36 pm

I thought our OL did not perform well on most (at least alot) of obivous passing downs.
It seems MR was hurrying most of his throws.
Guys this was not a top tier team and with a rookie QB. I think we are not as good as I had hoped we would be w/ the new cood’s. Can we beat any teams with winning records. Will this year be like the last??

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 25th, 2012
4:07 pm

Those TV announcers were awful!!!! When they kept talking about Bosher kicking field goals instead of Bryant I was ready to turn down the TV volume and start listening to the radio play-by-play announcers.

forthNone

August 25th, 2012
4:43 pm

Dominique Davis, is our number two quarterback, if he’s not he should be. He should be seriously considered as the future number one. If Matt doesn’t get it done this year, there should be some serious competition for the starting job in next years camp. This guy can play he knows the game and has a better handle of the offense than both Redman and Wilson combined. I would love to see what he could do with the first team offense, we won’t because people would see just how good he is. Ryan still can’t throw the deep ball with strength.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter, Smith said: You do game plan somewhat in this third preseason game. There were still some things [...]