Atlanta Falcons: Smith wants more from run game

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

There wasn’t much to be unhappy about following the Falcons’ season-opening 40-24 victory over the Chiefs Sunday. However, coach Mike Smith wants to see better from the run game.

The Falcons finished with 84 yards on 23 carries. Michael Turner finished with 32 yards on 11 carries. Although the game plan against the Chiefs called for a significant number of passes, more will be expected this week against the Broncos.

“We’ve got to run it more effectively and more efficiently than we did [Sunday],” Smith said. “We have to sustain our blocks. We missed some blocks. We missed some cuts. I think it was a group effort. That is something that we want to make sure we address in the next couple of days because we want to be able to run the ball effectively. Going into the game plan this week, it wasn’t the main thing that we wanted to get accomplished.”

More touchdowns

Although the Falcons scored on their first eight possessions, four were field goals despite excellent field position.

Smith noted that the Falcons had drives that started on their side of the 50-yard line – at the 43-, 24-, 31- and 7-yard lines. Three of those drives resulted in three points.

“That’s something that we have to be much better at,” Smith said.

Fewer penalites

Another bright spot during Sunday’s victory was that the Falcons committed just two penalties. Matt Ryan was called for a false start in being too demonstrative in his pre-play calls. The Falcons were also called for holding during a punt return. The calls totaled just 12 yards.

During the preseason the Falcons committed 37 penalties, the fourth most in the NFL, totaling 327 yards.

“It’s very encouraging because as you guys know for the last four weeks I’ve been talking about 10 and 11 penalties [a game] and where is this coming from because we’ve been one of the least penalized team in the National Football League since we got here,” Smith said. “I really thought it was a clean game. … It was much better than we did in the preseason.”

No tackles for Dent

Akeem Dent got his first start at middle linebacker for the Falcons as he replaces Curtis Lofton. The second-year player from Georgia failed to record a tackle.

Not without reason.

The Falcons ran out of their base defense for only 11 plays, according to Smith. They ran their sub package – with three cornerbacks and two linebackers – for the majority of the game.

Linebackers Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon led the Falcons in tackles with 10 and seven respectively.

“I was just playing football man,” Nicholas said.

66 comments Add your comment

RaySkee

September 10th, 2012
5:24 pm

First? Congrats to the Falcons on the Victory! Let’s get the running game turned on!!!

Whadda Ya Know?

September 10th, 2012
5:30 pm

If he wants more out of the running game then he’d better stop running Turner as much as he did and run Rodgers and Smith more. Turner has no change of direction and is too big to get going quickly.

ignition

September 10th, 2012
5:31 pm

Geez no tackles…
With Brent going down we gonna have to put pressure on Peyton..

poppa falcon

September 10th, 2012
5:43 pm

Don’t mind running the ball, but if we can skulldrag an oppanent thru the AIR, I see NO REASON in stopping the pass game. Very surgical performance by Ryan. Even Sam Baker looked SOLID on the O-Line. Nice job in Ray Edwards for bringing pressure in the 2nd half that helped CREATE sacks and turnovers. All around TEAM effort.

Falcon James

September 10th, 2012
6:03 pm

Lets just face it, Turners performance on the 11 carries he had was pathetic. Rogers out performed him. I am OK with giving Turner the ball in the 4th quarter to let him run out the clock, but Rogers has to take the lead roll early in the game. He is more versatile, doesn’t fall down at the line, can move, and doesnt run into the pile every play.

One note about Grimes. He will be missed. Dunta need to step up or step out. He was sorry Sunday. Asante was not much better. Teams are going to tee off on us if these guys don’t play tighter and the line does not get more pressure.

SeenThisB4

September 10th, 2012
6:44 pm

Saints signed Bryce Harris from the falcan’t practice squad, what’s the story on him?

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

September 10th, 2012
6:54 pm

The story is taints pickin up our sloppy seconds cause their pro bowl linemen cant handle

SirReal

September 10th, 2012
7:02 pm

@Seen Obviously they know the scoop already if they signed him from us genius. He’s a solid player. Should add some depth for your Taints

I’m sorry. I went to bat this preseason for Turner and his performance was absolutely abyssmal yesterday. It’s like EVERY time faces a 3-4 defense he cant even run a nose. I’m really starting to believe he’s burned out at this point. We need fresher legs back there. I’ll give Thunder Chunky one more game to prove me wrong and if he doesn’t I’ll be ready to congratulate him for some GREAT years here for us and let him ride into the sunset. I’m ready to see more of Rogers and I’d like a REAL look at Antone Smith. Why let him make the team to constantly play special teams? He’s a RB!! This is what they mean by us not developing our players……

Great Falconi

September 10th, 2012
7:49 pm

The Falcons are better at passing than running. The run game will have to come off of the pass from now on. In other words, the Falcons are like most of the rest of the teams in the top half of the league. Throwing gets you points, so throw first.

to real

September 10th, 2012
8:01 pm

We have to much better and open up more holes for our backs to hit we much be able to run tha football I agree with coach smith

We got numba 11 now....duh

September 10th, 2012
8:04 pm

I saw we let the Ryan to Jones express mature more. Turner has been slow to the hole the last ur or so.

Michael M.

September 10th, 2012
8:17 pm

I want more touchdowns too , an occasional field goal is fine but the more they put on 7 points at a time the better………………….I want to see more of that kill the other team instinct…only reason why the little chiefs got 24 yesterday was Atlanta slacked off late in the fourth and gave up that touchdown.
That team knew it was beaten……………………..

I like Smitty’s attitude this year………………seems he is acting more like a Head Coach than last year and throwing the Mr. Nice Guy attitude out in File 13…………………..time to put a butt kickin on the Broncos next Monday night…………….they may be a little better than Kansas City anyway but we at home on this one and I am already picking the Falcons to upset their apple cart and send Manning and the Broncos back to Denver with a loss for their trip to our house !

Sure , Grimes may be gone for the year but Nolan and the defense should figure out ways to adjust before next Monday night arrives…………..and I got to say this………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Where in the world is the Saint’s trolls hiding…………………using other names ? ……………ha !

Michael M.

September 10th, 2012
8:20 pm

SeenThisB4
September 9th, 2012
9:15 am

Once more unto the brecha…

GEAUX SAINTS!

GO CHIEFS!

Haaaaaaa haaaaaaa haaa haaaa ha ha ha……………………………………………

Post-It

September 10th, 2012
8:44 pm

Let’s see Seen. Harris is a player that couldn’t make the team, much like Luke McCown for your Saints. You know, the one you had so much fun trashing us about.

SeenThisB4

September 10th, 2012
9:20 pm

Marcel Jones, our 7th round draftee, OT was placed on IR, that’s why the Saints had to look for a replacement. But picking up a falcan’t practice player is scraping the bottom barrel.

And don’t forget post, McCowan was cut, Harris was not.

ccccwwww

September 10th, 2012
9:28 pm

Seen , no flame attempt what really happened on Sunday to your team , did not get to watch it??

Michael M.

September 10th, 2012
9:30 pm

yawning here………………………..hi Seen

SeenThisB4

September 10th, 2012
9:36 pm

The defense decided not to show up. Perhaps next week, our interim coaches will offer our defensive players a financial extra to beat down Carolina’s QB.

falCANS

September 10th, 2012
10:05 pm

Run game is essential.keep.things balanced. We have some tough Defenses on the schedule. KEEP DAUNTE “burned again” ROBINSON AT THE NICKLE

just me

September 10th, 2012
11:11 pm

DOL – Any thoughts on the possiblity of ATL signing Bobby Rainey who was just released by the Ravens. He looked good in the return game this preseason and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He is from Griffin, GA. Always nice to have in state players on the team.

falcon 4 life

September 10th, 2012
11:17 pm

I’m ready to see Antone Smith also! Give him a couple bones a game and see what he does

just me

September 10th, 2012
11:45 pm

DOL – Do we know what Walls injury was? Any chance that they will resign him?

james

September 10th, 2012
11:52 pm

Why was Grimes on the field when we are winning by so much in the fourth quarter?

Hypnovision

September 10th, 2012
11:56 pm

Don’t forget about Snelling

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

PMC

September 11th, 2012
9:15 am

Nice to see Nicholas just playing football again.

[...] Still room for improvement in run game [...]

Falconfever

September 11th, 2012
10:48 am

Bring Back OVIE!!!

A SeenThisB4 sighting

September 11th, 2012
11:26 am

Hey Seen you got guts coming on here still talking your team up. I appreciate that! However your Aints in for a season that is going to be one of failure. Your defense got RAKED by a rookie! A rookie! Not only that, Sleazy had to throw the ball 50+ times…….in the first game? Looks like last year in the playoff flop of epic failure! Tell you what, I think teams are catching up to that offense and seeing that Sleazy will sling it around the field and does not have a running game. TROUBLE! HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE. Now as for my Falcons, we will continue to put out the trash and let you guys play trash man by picking up our leftovers…….and we will continue to confuse the league with this tandem of receivers we have. Be on the look out for Birds of Prey! Monday night will be the second showing of this Falcon Team……..get your popcorn ready!

sperry

September 11th, 2012
11:44 am

Wow, ATL fans are brutal… Turner didnt look good in week 1, but every NFL fan knew Falcons had to come out throwing. So much pressure on Ryan and the WRs, to finally produce to their potential. The chocking every year in the Playoffs… There was no way this game would be a running game. Turner didnt look very good, but i dont think he was ever suppose to be a part of the game plan week 1.

He’s probably not going to be at his best, he’s getting old, but he still has enough in him to be a top 12 back, and I think he’ll get back on his game. I do think that he might not be the best style back for the future, if the Falcons keep their high tempo attack, then yes they will need a more shifty, fast back. Instead of the bulldozer style.

falcons88

September 11th, 2012
12:05 pm

Give Antoine Smith an oppurtunity,he proves himself every preseason. He deserves than than the big cow on ice who will not hit the hole.

Hamp

September 11th, 2012
12:06 pm

I am a little worried about our Defense. You can’t count on winning shootouts every week. I think Nolan will get it figured out. He had I believe a top six defense in Miami with no names. If he can’t get it done with these corners our scouting dept needs to be fired/scraped and rebuilt. It is time for the players TD has been getting credit for to step up or he should get the credit for their failure also. I do think with the last coordinators we did not develop talent well maybe that will change with these cooridinatiors.

Hamp

September 11th, 2012
12:07 pm

Oh!! SEEN looks like I was right huh homie!

ed

September 11th, 2012
1:06 pm

40-24 with a trash touchdown or it would have been 40-17 is a shootout?????? I’ll take that shootout every week. The defense was much better in the second half.

elephanthead

September 11th, 2012
1:24 pm

It will be obvious in a game or two that Turner is done. He was a good pickup and had some good years, but he’s burned out. With a stud O-Line he might be OK for a year or two more, but we aren’t in that kind of shape. He is tooooo slow to the hole, which means our linemen have to sustain blocks for 1-2 seconds longer. He also looks more like a guy in one of those inflatable sumo wrestler suits – one bump and he’s going down.

jaz

September 11th, 2012
1:32 pm

The defensive key will be for the DL to attack like they did against the Giants last year, and try and Manning hurry. The DL will have an offense this time to give them support, which they didn’t have in the Giant’s game,when they finally gave out of gas, but they were great while they lasted. Dunta has to stay in the slot, he likes to hit, he is not a pure CB. Which makes me think of Walls, who is big and tall and fast and can hit, I wonder if they would bring him back a la Franks? Like said befoe, Turner is a waste of a down unless they want to burn some time in the 4th qtr. Antone Smith did look really good on the screens and Quizz needs some breaks if he is going to do all the runnning.
I would like to see a really good CB drop out of the sky to replace Brent, but I don’t see that happening. I think they want to keep the 1.3 mil for some dire emergency (like this isn’t?), and use Owens and Franks no matter what. That’s why an “explosive” pass rush is critical.

GTT

September 11th, 2012
1:50 pm

Shootout? Funny. Good one.

Gene

September 11th, 2012
2:04 pm

Smith needs to find a big, FAST running back if he wants to run effectively.

Falcon James

September 11th, 2012
2:06 pm

I have to think there was still an elephant in the locker room after the game. My guess, it was Dunta with Turner being a close second.

Augustabred

September 11th, 2012
2:08 pm

And Snelling got in before Smith even though he didn’t play one down during the preseason. I don’t get that. Smith just keeps performing when he’s given the opportunity but just never in real action. Sad!

Texas Pete

September 11th, 2012
2:53 pm

You’ve got to be kidding me! My grandmother could out run Michael Turner. Coach Smith is whinning because we’ve got such an anemic running game? When are we going to get a running back with some speed? Atlanta needs to draft a quality running back this year. We are loaded with quality receivers, but our offense is extremely predictable on the run. Michael Turner up the middle – two yards- kir–plunk!

Najeh Davenpoop

September 11th, 2012
2:53 pm

I feel bad for Grimes. One of my favorite Falcons. Hopefully for him he gets paid what he’s worth in the offseason despite his injury.

As for the run game, I thought the whole plan for this year was to run less?

Joey

September 11th, 2012
3:01 pm

Yeah, coach, that running game of Turner’s has been soooo successful since ‘08.

Please leave the game-planning to your OC, who did a fine job Sunday.

Esquire

September 11th, 2012
3:20 pm

Falcons moved up 2 spots in the Power Rankings – now #7.

Too bad the bayou bombers dropped down 10 spots…………….OUCH!! That’s gotta hurt!

Nativebird

September 11th, 2012
3:25 pm

Michael Turner is toast unfortunately. no cut back ability whatsoever, no quickness to the hole, no explosiveness. 5 foot Jacquizz is a better option for us in every way, running and catching.

warfalcon

September 11th, 2012
3:35 pm

B.Grimes is the victim of the greedy agent,he knows the Falcons were the only team to give him a chance,but agent convenced him to not sign a long term contact.so he is just like a hold out and if you have followed the NFL over the years the majority of hold outs each year gets hurt before the season ends.The more money the player gets the more the greedy agent gets.THE CURSE OF THE HOLD OUT.

Greg

September 11th, 2012
3:48 pm

Falcon James is right on it: 1. Dunta was pathetic trying to make tackles. He’s gotta stop relying on arm tackles They don’t work. Also, he dives at the guy he’s trying to tackle instead of using his legs to drive through him. They teach this stuff in high school. I think someone with a $57 million contract ought to be expected to tackle, or be sat down. 2. Asante was NEVER a good tackler. I always got the impression watching him play (and he was a great ball hawk, no doubt) that he just doesn’t like contact. All this has been known for a long time, and I’m not optimistic it can be changed. And Turner? He was never quick getting going, but he has looked terrible this year. Way too slow hitting the hole. And after his very first run on Sunday, in which he flashed a bit of his old self in gaining six yards up the middle, in his next 10 carries he gained 27 yards. Awful. I didn’t see him even come close to breaking a single tackle. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I’d rather see Snelling running the ball. He quicker and seems to runs harder, and he’s proven he is reliable catching the ball in the flat.

Esquire

September 11th, 2012
4:11 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

September 11th, 2012
2:53 pm
I feel bad for Grimes. One of my favorite Falcons. Hopefully for him he gets paid what he’s worth in the offseason despite his injury.
___________________________________________________

Unfortunately for Grimes this is why you don’t want the “franchise tag” (see Drew Brees). You sign a one year contract for good money, now he is left with no gurantees after this season. Tough for a small guy who relies on his speed to recover from Achille’s surgery to previous form. Chances are Brent will never see his 2011 salary of $2,610,000 again.

Mughelli (though no franchise tag) is a good example of why free agency isn’t always good. He had a 6 year $18mil contract with the Falcons then he got hurt in his last year. After a month with the Rams they released him and he’s looking for a job. Fullback has limited opportunities in the NFL anymore. By the way, Polite better not drop anymore passes, they could always bring Ovie back.

Grimes would have been smart to sign an Asante Samuel type deal, 3 years- $18.5mil. Samuel was scheduled to earn $21.5 million over two seasons but signed with the Falcons for less.

Mr. Dawg

September 11th, 2012
4:23 pm

The goal is to win the game in whatever fashion is required. Michael Turner has been a great contributor since he came to the Falcons and he deserves support. One of my main concerns coming into this season was whether or not he could keep it up. With that in mind, this was just one game and the Falcons game plan clearly focused on throwing the ball successfully and preventing KC from doing the same. As long as Turner doesn’t have to carry the load as he has done so many times the more the Falcons will be able to count on him late in the season. That wil be a welcome situation.

[...] Still room for improvement in run game [...]