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Falcons Post Game Press Conference: Smith, Ryan, Gonzalez Answer Questions

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)

Game_Onair_RobH_640x480_091613 Rob Hamilton
Rob Hamilton has spent the last 22 years in Broadcast Media across the...
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HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH

Opening Statement:
“I felt like our guys fought as a football team tonight, but in the end we didn’t make enough plays to get the outcome that we wanted. You get what you earn in the NFL, and we’ve earned a 1-3 record the first quarter of the season. That is what we are; we are a 1-3 football team. We’ve had opportunities, and we haven’t made the most of those opportunities. We, as a coaching staff, and as a team, have to learn from those mistakes we have made in the first four games and move on and get them corrected. It’s a long season, it’s just the end of the first quarter, and we will learn from the mistakes we have made and move on.”

On the mistakes being new, or mistakes from all of the previous games:
“Well, our red zone efficiency was not what we needed it to be, again, in this ballgame. We’re just not executing like we need to in the red zone. We are moving the ball well between the 20s, but we’re not ending with touchdowns. We’ve got to score touchdowns in this League. It’s an offensive League and you’ve got to score touchdowns.”

On going for the touchdown on fourth and two:
“The concept was, we felt like we had a good play. We had an idea of what they were going to be in, and we didn’t execute. We had an opportunity, we just didn’t execute.”

On Matt Ryan’s game today being off:
“When you’re a football team there are a lot of factors in a play. There are 11 guys that have to do their job. There are a number of plays where we did not execute it, and our players did not do the things they needed to do on those specific plays. Until I watch the tape, I’m not going to point to any one player, or any one side of the ball in terms of the outcome of the game. We’ve got to be better in the red zone that is obvious.”

On the execution of the plays being a mental issue:
“No, I don’t believe it is a mental thing. I wish I could give you a concrete answer. I can’t at this point in time. It’s poor execution. We’ve got to look at everything we do down there, not only from the execution point but schematically as well. As I said last week, I’m responsible for the way the team plays. We are 1-3, we’ve earned it.”

On kicking it deep at 2:55 with two timeouts:
“There was, but we felt the way they lined up the first time, the way we have our onside kick setup, that we have the numbers as an advantage, in any situation if they line up a certain way, and we felt very confident, we just didn’t complete it. It ended up working out for us, we got the ball back. Those are all considerations, but the way they lined up on the first onside kick, gave us a little insight on what we were going to do on the second.”

On the instant replay being broken:
“They came over and said that the system was down and they would let me know when it was back up. Obviously, it came back up because later in the game there was a challenge on the spot.”

On the Falcons defense:
“We’ve got to make sure when we are playing zone defense that we play with good eyes and good vision. We had a really tough drive there on the third and 21, the conversion on third and 21, added to that with the penalty, and then we had an explosive run which was a misfit, and I think that really was the worst sequence with our defense.”

On being disappointed with how some of the last plays turned out:
“Well, I thought Tony Gonzalez had a career day, 12 catches for almost 150 yards. Tony was battling his tail off. They were trying to stop him, putting a lot of resources, sometimes two players on him, and he was still able to get open.”

On the last play, 4th down pass to Roddy White:
“Until I watch the tape guys, I’m not going to comment on one specific play. We didn’t execute it there on fourth down. We had our opportunities on first, second and third down to make plays as well.”

QUARTERBACK MATT RYAN

On the team’s lack of success in the red zone:
“Not our best effort in the red zone tonight. We had chances, we really did. We just didn’t make the plays. I guess, we’re all trying to find out what the reason is that we haven’t been as successful as we’d like to be down there. The only way I know how to fix it is to get back to work, evaluate what we’re doing, and to try and improve and bust our
tails this week to try and get it better next week.”

On starting the season 1-3:
“I think we all understand where we’re at. Obviously, it’s not where we want to be and we certainly would like to be sitting in a different position, but we are where we are. We know we’ve got a long haul in front of us. There are 12 more games to go and a lot can happen during that time, but our mindset has to be on next week. We’ve got to try and find a way to get back to work this week to improve and to find a way to win next week and then keep that mindset week in and week out just being detailed and focused on that one opponent and claw ourselves back into where we want to be. It’s a long haul in front of us. We still have a long way to go.”

On the incompletion to WR Roddy White on the fourth down attempt in the second quarter:
“I just missed the throw. It was a bad throw. Roddy ran a good route and I made a poor throw.”

On the final offensive play of the night:
“Just one of those situations at the end of the game where you’re trying to make a play and give your guy a chance. Roddy has made a ton of plays for us, and for me specifically since I’ve been here. It was a bang-bang play we just didn’t make it. We didn’t make the play when we needed to. I have to try and give them a better opportunity to make a play
on that ball.”

On if the play was designed for Roddy or if it was personal preference:
“Just depending on, obviously, what kind of coverage they played and depending on where he’s at in the progression. With the look we had we felt like we had a decent look at it, we just didn’t make the play.”

On TE Tony Gonzalez facing double coverage late in the game:
“They had, specifically on the fourth down, two guys on him off the line of scrimmage. obviously that makes it difficult for him to get a release. Credit to them, they did a really good job at trying to disrupt some of our guys off the ball. I though Tony still played a tremendous game. He battled all night and played really well.”

On failing to win close games this year as opposed to last year:
“We just haven’t made the plays. In the past we’ve made the plays. Tonight, specifically, we had the opportunity across the board, not really even in the last couple of series in the game, for sixty minutes offensively we just didn’t get the job done. We certainly moved the ball really well. We had six opportunities in the red zone and to come away with one touchdown is not winning football.”

On the ineffectiveness of the run game tonight:
“Just week-to-week. New England has some stout guys in their front seven. Their linebackers are really good down hill on the run. In the second half, how the game kind of shook out, we had to throw the ball for the majority of the second half. It’s just how the game shakes out some times. Obviously you would love to do both and go out there and be effective doing both but we weren’t as good as we needed to be in the run game. Sometimes the game dictates what you need to do.”

On the mindset of the team when facing a 17-point deficit late in the game:
“I’ve played football long enough to know that it’s never over. As long as there is time on the clock, with the guys that we have in our locker room and on our football team, we always have a chance. Nobody blinked. We didn’t get the outcome that we wanted but nobody blinked. We went out there and kept playing ball. We made some plays and got ourselves back into the football game. The defense came up with the stop on fourth and one and we had a chance. We didn’t know how we were going to do it. You certainly don’t know how it’s going to shake out but you have to believe that you can do it. You just have to keep your head down and keep playing. I thought that the guys, for the most part, did a great job of that. They fought through some adversity there in the fourth quarter. We rallied, but ultimately fell short.”

On if he is surprised when the team doesn’t come away with a touchdown in late situations:
“Yeah, because I think as players you have to expect that when you get down there, you’re going to make the play that you need to make. I think that’s the mindset that we all have. So when you don’t come away with that, yeah. I don’t know if surprise is the word, but it’s certainly not the outcome that you expect. I think everybody has that positive mindset where we feel like we can make the play when we need to, we just haven’t done it.”

FALCONS TIGHT END TONY GONZALEZ

On the tough loss:
“Yeah. We had our shot. I’m really happy and proud of the guys, the way we all stepped up and made the plays. But we just came up a little short right at the end, and that’s something that we can’t have. I’m proud of the way we played at the end. You look up and see everybody leaving the dome, and you think to yourself, it’s over, but it’s not over. It’s never over, and I love the way we fought. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t come out on top.”

On what kept them from getting into a rhythm:
“I don’t know. It’s such a roller coaster, us on offense now. It’s something that we have to figure out though cause we can’t have that. Against good teams like that, a Hall of Fame quarterback like Tom (Brady), we have to be able to put up points. And we should. We have the players, and we have the system to get it done. We’ve done it before in the past. It’s just right now we’re not clicking for some reason throughout the whole game. We start out good, but for whatever reason in the second half we’re not. And it’s all of us, collectively. It’s no one person that we’re going to point the finger at. I’ll tell you what, it’s got to get figured out. Like I said before, we’ve been here before as far as knowing we can move the ball on offense. The season’s long, and it’s only four games into it. We’re going to get it done. We’re going to turn this thing around. That’s what I believe. I know that’s what the team believes, and it’s everybody looking in the mirror right now, and we’re going to get this turned around. I guarantee it.”

WIDE RECEIVER HARRY DOUGLAS

On his role for the team and the future of the season:
“We got to work hard, and keep working harder. It’s not going to change anything I do; I’m going to keep grinding regardless. I work hard at everything that I do, and this team will work hard at everything we do. So we are going to get it together, we just have to believe we are going to get it together. And I think each member of this team thinks we are going to be alright. I don’t think there is one person on this roster that thinks we are out of anything.”

On losing back to back games:
“We have to score in the red zone. We can’t make every game a ‘get down to our last series and try to win’. We had a chance to win the game early on and in the middle of the game and different areas of the football game. We can’t try to win towards the end of the game. It’s great if you come out with a victory, but this is the third loss.”

On margin of error in the red zone:
“You always want to score touchdowns. Points in general are good, but touchdowns are great. And it puts you in a situation at the end of the game where you’re going to be smiling and you’re going to be happy. We have a great field goal kicker, Matt Bryant, who does an exceptional job, but we got to score touchdowns; and that’s all 11 guys focusing on what they have to do to get it done.”

FALCONS RUNNING BACK JACQUIZZ RODGERS

On if run game being slowed down was the reason more passing plays were called:
“That was part of the reason, but you have to run what play is called. They did a great job of keeping everything in the box and stopping the run.”

On it being hard to get in a flow offensively:
“Oh yes, in the beginning. We have to find a way to convert on third downs, and in the red zone; that’ll help us out.”

On getting in the red zone and settling for field goals:
“It’s something we have to work on, and go in next week and fix, so we can turn things around.”

SAFETY THOMAS DECOUD

Opening Statement:
“It was a tough game, they’re a great football team and they made more plays than us. We just have to go back to the drawing board and make sure, even though it’s cliché, that we don’t make the same mistakes that we’ve made the last couple of weeks and go out and get a W.”

The deep completion to Kenbrell Thompkins:
“It was one of those plays that was kind of iffy. But we have to make those kinds of plays.”

Won many games last year by a touchdown, this year seems reversed. Why:
“I don’t have an answer to that question off the top of my head. I wish I had an answer to that question but we have to go back to the film room and make sure that we go through it with a fine toothed comb and find the mistakes and make sure they’re corrected.“

Any panic in the locker room:
“No, not at all. Like I said before we’re a veteran team. We’ve had some injuries and some young guys stepping in and playing very well for us. We have a veteran team that has the leadership and the skill to get the ship righted”.

Did it feel like if it was more than one thing:
“We need to get in the film room and see where the real breakdowns were and what was going on, but you know, hey, they’re a great football team that made more plays than us today.”

LINEBACKER STEPHEN NICHOLAS

Opening statement:
“It’s a tough loss and we just didn’t make enough plays to win the game. We have to give the New England Patriots credit because they’re a good ball club and they showed it tonight. We can definitely learn a lot from this game and figure out how to get better as a ball club as we prepare for the New York Jets next week.”

On Patriots QB Tom Brady:
“He is a good quarterback and we knew that going into the game. He made big plays for his team throughout the game. Again, we just didn’t make enough plays on the defensive side of the ball. We had opportunities but the fact of the matter is we weren’t as good as we needed to be.”

WIDE RECEIVER JULIO JONES

Opening statement:
“I feel like we got better from this game against the Patriots. It stings right now but I feel we had a chance to win the game but just came up a little short. We will make it a point to keep practicing and find ways to improve because it’s a long season.”

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