By Matthew Asher

Atlanta may have started out the season 0-1 but that doesn’t mean the team is going to sulk over it. Mike Smith had his traditional Monday press conference, spending a lot of time talking about Sunday’s loss to New Orleans and what needs fixing before this week’s game against St. Louis.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 08:   Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons points out coverage against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Matt Ryan (Credit, Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Even though Atlanta came out on the losing end, Smitty didn’t think the team played exceptionally poor. He commented that after watching the game tape he was glad to see that the Falcons did have chances to come out on top.

“There were a number of things that we felt leaving the field that we didn’t do well, and when you really watch the tape, we did some good things,” Smitty told reporters. “I thought that we tackled very well on defense. We didn’t have a whole lot of missed tackles. We had some great effort throughout the game; lack of effort was not an issue.” He continued to laud his team by saying, “I thought the entire team played hard and I thought it really showed up on special teams the way we ran covering kicks.”

Smitty had nothing but praise for his special teams unit saying, “I thought that we won the special teams segment, they have a very good return game, and I thought that we shut them down.”

Other than Julio Jones’ fumble, the big topic regarding the offense was of the 38 times Matt Ryan dropped back to pass, he was under pressure for 24 of them. Smitty talked about the offense as a whole and not just the offensive line and the lack of pass protection. “Whether it was five-man pressures, six-man pressures, four-man rushes, three-man rushes, we have got to do a better job in protecting our quarterback. It is everybody on the offense that is going to be a part of that, not just the offensive line.”

Questions were asked about the depth chart regarding the offensive line, but Smitty does not see a reason to switch around the assignment just yet. “I am absolutely confident that we have the right guys,” Smitty said. “I think we will see a large improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, in not only our offensive line but our football team.”

Like a true professional, Smitty did give credit to the Saints when it was due. “Hats off to the New Orleans Saints, they made more plays than we did in that ballgame. I told our team prior to playing; the team who made fewer mistakes was going to be the team that won.  We made more mistakes than they did, that starts with not just the players but the coaches as well.”

For more Falcons news and updates, visit Falcons Central.

Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on


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