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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