By Matthew Asher
The Falcons are in an unusual place this week. For the first time in the regular season, Atlanta didn’t leave their game the winner. While that may simply mean the undefeated monkey is finally off Atlanta’s back, it also means those oh-so-fun questions reporters ask you about handling defeat for the first time.
Fortunately for the Falcons, Smitty was able to handle that question easily. Those who have listened to Smith over this season knew what his response would be, and they were not disappointed.
“It’s week-to-week in terms of your preparation,” Smitty said. “Whether you win or you lose, you’re going to learn from it. You’re going to put it behind you as quickly as possible, and you’re going to move forward. Your focus has to go onto the next game and that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Smitty is right that a team can’t worry about previous or future opponents and must simply focus on the task at hand. For Atlanta, that means avoiding a two-game losing streak when the Arizona Cardinals come to the Georgia Dome with weekend. But it won’t be an easy task.
As far as the physicality of last Sunday’s loss to New Orleans, more Falcons were either absent from practice on Wednesday or forced to participate in a limited role.
“It was a very physical game, so we wanted to give these guys some rest,” Smitty said. “They’ve got some bumps and bruises. That’s why we had a much longer list today.”
Seven Falcons were limited in practice: John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Stephen Nicholas, Michael Turner and Vance Walker. Fortunately Smitty expects most of them to be able to participate fully tomorrow.
But two of the main injuries, Jones and Weatherspoon, may still not be ready for the Arizona game. Jones is listed on the injury report with a bad ankle. Smitty wants to give Julio as much rest as possible in case he is asked to suit up Sunday saying, “We want to keep Julio off his feet and Julio will be evaluated tomorrow and determine how much work he’ll do.”
Spoon sat out last week’s game also because of an ankle injury. While Spoon was able to get some exercise in Wednesday, Smitty isn’t stating if Spoon will be ready to suit up just yet. “Sean was working with our AP (Athletic Performance) guys today and he moved around,” Smith said. “We’ll ramp that up tomorrow and see how he feels in the morning and we’ll determine what his workload will be for tomorrow.”
What happens tomorrow? Smitty didn’t give a concrete answer on that question either. “I can’t speak to that,” Smitty said. “I know he had a good workout, and I had an opportunity to speak with him and he was excited about what he was able to get accomplished [Wednesday],” Smitty did say he would not give Spoon a field test before making his decision.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.