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PRESS CONFERENCE: Falcons – Dolphins Postgame Q&A

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Antone Smith running hard for the Falcons. (Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images Sport)

Antone Smith running hard for the Falcons. (Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images Sport)

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:

“Whenever you play a game, and this is a typical opening preseason game, there were some good plays that were very encouraging. There were a lot of plays that you really liked as a coach, as a player, and as a fan. Then there were some things that we definitely need to work on. I felt like we had tremendous effort throughout the entire ball game. I like the way our first team offense came back and answered the opening drive that the Dolphins were able to put together. I believe it was 15 official plays, maybe 18 snaps, nine minute drive that ended in a touchdown. We had three other opportunities there in the red zone where we did not finish the drive. Those are things that we will definitely be addressing and talking about. Defensively, there were some very positive things that took place out there. We have a lot to things to work on as we go through this journey of the preseason, but I really liked the way the guys worked. I’m looking forward to watching this tape, truly evaluating it, getting on to the Houston Texans. We have a combined practice with those folks before we play them, so we’re going to get a lot of good work against another good football team.”

On the first team defense and the first drive:

“Well when I say there are some things that aren’t as good as we liked, I would say that that would be one of them. I think that we ended up getting into too many third and shorts. We had an explosive play, with a crossing route, and we just missed the pickup there. We were in a coverage that we should be able to stop that. We’ll see it, and we’ll be better in that area. But I really liked the way the defense came back out, some of the younger guys that we need to see and play, played there in the second, third and fourth quarter.”

On whether or not it was encouraging getting the stop on third and short on the second drive:

“Very encouraging. Very encouraging. We want to try and stay out of those third and shorts if we can. We like to be in third and long, but the guys stayed on scheduled in terms of the amount of time we wanted them to play. We had a plan. I think it went fairly well in terms of the play time. We’ll have a different rotation in week two, where guys will have expanded roles. I think that there’s going to be some guys by their play on the field, will have some expanded play time as well.”

On Antone Smith:

“Antone had some very explosive plays. Antone’s a guy that can do some things when we get the ball in his hands. I would imagine we would want to make sure to help him get some touches, put him in an advantageous situation, but I was very impressed with him. I was impressed with Devonta Freeman, in terms of how he ran the ball for the most part. We did some positive things. They’ll be some plays that we’ll be talking about, but first and foremost it’s really always about your first impression. Individually and collectively, I thought the first impression was good. We want to be a physical football team. I think that we showed that in the game tonight. I don’t know how smart we were, but we will get those things corrected, but I did like the ways those guys played.”

On Jake Matthews:

“I thought Jake handled it extremely well. We wanted to extend the playing time of the offensive line of all the groups. You guys will get the play count. I’m sure I’ll be reading about it the paper. We had a plan to play them between 20 and 25 snaps. We extended their play time, we wanted them to play together as a unit, and I thought that Jake did some very good things. I continue to say that Jake’s on a very fast track to becoming a very good player in the NFL.”

On the backup quarterbacks:

“Well, I think it’s been very similar to what’s been going on through the first 10 -11 days of training camp that we’ve been in pads. It’s been very competitive. There’ll be days when you come off the field in your mind and you’ll say, who’s number two? Who’s number three? It changes. That’s a great problem to have. Both those guys are competing. I thought that both of them made some plays out there. I think some of them were very encouraging. I think that there’s – we talk about competition in the offensive line, competition in the defensive line – let’s not forget that competition is across the board at every position.”

On the defense’s ability to stop the run:

“Well, that run game that we saw is not the traditional NFL run game. There were some read option plays that we saw tonight. That’s not something that we game plan for. We’ll have a completely different setup, but I did like the physicality, standing on the sideline, the way that the team played tonight.”

QUARTERBACK MATT RYAN

On the first drive of the game:

“I think, it was a good start for us offensively. When you start off a year, it is nice to have a long drive and go down and score some points. I thought we did everything we wanted to do. We wanted to come out and run the football. We did a great job of that. We had 25 yards rushing, in the first drive. We also threw the football effectively. The thing I was probably most proud of was overcoming the penalty. We had an explosive play that got called back. We were still able to battle through it and put points on the board.”

On everyone’s performance after not having an exact game plan:

“That’s a case for both sides. There’s not a whole lot of game plan going on, in this particular game. I always think that it’s a good test of how well you know your offense. When you go out there and certain plays just come in. You have to know what to do and where to line up. I thought we were sharp.”

On run offense on both sides of the line:

“Both sides we ran effectively, particularly, behind a rookie guy. Being his first time out there, I thought Jake did a really nice job for us.”

On pass protection this game:

“Our pass protection was really good tonight. It’s a good front seven. Miami has a really good front seven. We know that from having played them last year. Our guys stepped up to the challenge. They did a great job.”

On if there is anything new with this game that you have not seen in the past:

“Having played as long as I have, there’s very few things you haven’t seen, at some point or another. There were two things that I was really excited about tonight. One was RB Devonta Freeman. He played extremely well, watching from the sideline. Then, there was RB Antone Smith. Both of those plays got called back but he showed the explosiveness that he has and the speed that he can change a game on any given play. It was fun to watch.”

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE JONATHAN BABINEAUX

On only playing a few series during the preseason:

“We’re just out there trying to get better as a team and individually. It’s been awhile since we competed with another team on the field at a high level. Every week we need come out with a goal to improve.”

On his focus for first preseason game:

“The fact of the matter is that in the preseason we just don’t do a lot of game planning. We just go out there and play and that’s what we did, especially in the first series. We made a few mistakes as a unit in terms of executing, but luckily we made the necessary adjustments in the second half.”

Can you talk a little bit about the second team and how they performed:

“There were a lot of young players that stepped up tonight and made plays for the team. It creates great competition for the defense this year. We have a lot of youth on defense and we’re expecting them to help us win ball games.”

WIDE RECEIVER HARRY DOUGLAS

On what he took from this first game:

“I think we did a great job. Overall, we did a good job of going down there playing 17 or 18 plays and scoring a touchdown. Even though we’re having setbacks, we went down there and had a great opening statement.”

On whether this game was about making a statement:

“We just want to come out here and be the football team that we know we are. I think we did a great job of executing that tonight.”

On whether any of the young guys blew him away:

“I think the guys did a great job playing a lot of plays and not getting tired. That goes to show that they’re practicing hard and doing things right.”

QUARTERBACK TJ YATES

On how he is progressing in the offense:

“It has been about two, two and a half weeks with the offense, so it is just really a good time to go for it.  There were kinds of things that were kind of off such as the depth of the route and the tendency to gauge who you are throwing to.  It was good overall.  It was a place to start to build on, but I am learning every day and we are going to practice and we are just going to install something new for me, so I am trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can.  I am trying to ask Matt as many questions as I can because he is really good about it as far as helping me along.”

RUNNING BACK ANTONE SMITH

How did you feel about your long touchdown run being called back:

“I mean, it is frustrating, but we know it is the first preseason game for a lot of people out there, so a lot of stuff is changing, so we expect a lot of penalties.”

How much confidence did the explosive plays give you:

“I don’t see it as confidence personally because no matter what I got to try to hold the ball and want the guys to have confidence in me.”

What did you take away from this game:

“It is a start.  I mean, it is a first impression.  That is the biggest thing from the first game.  It was my first impression, so I think my first impression was very good.”

OFFENSIVE TACKLE JAKE MATTHEWS

On the first series of the game:

“I had pretty good protection.  We had a good first drive that led to a touchdown.  I just held my spot on the line.  Honestly, that is what we needed on the first drive.  I thought we picked up blitzes also.  You know, pretty good overall.”

On his first upcoming road trip:

“Hopefully, we can play well away from home, but it will be good.  It will be another challenge.  I am excited for it and ready for it.”

 

SAFTEY WILLIAM MOORE

Thoughts on tonight’s game:

“We are trying to mold our team that we are going to war with this season. It is pretty hard now, because you have all these guys on the team trying to compete.”

 

Where  do you see improvement that can be made as a team and as an individual:

“Communication. Most of the explosives we had on our defense came from good communication, so we need to do more of that. This is our first preseason game, and we had to get adjusted to the crowd and things that go on in the game. Also, our 2nd defensive side, communication from a team standpoint, and finishing.”

Focus for next game:

“Continue to get better. In the middle of getting better, we are doing fundamental things right now. That is what the preseason is for, to get better.”

 

RB DEVONTA FREEMAN

Grading his performance:

I felt like I did an ok job. But I have a lot of work to do with everything and every phase, pass block and runs. Overall, I just have a lot of work to do.”

Improvements:

“As a team I feel like we can improve on everything, especially me period. Playbook, my field, making guys miss. Everyone should be more consistent and I need to be more consistent.

Things to work on for next game:

“Preparation through the week first. Now that I have this first game under my belt,  I need to take more notes playbook-wise.

CORNERBACK DESMOND TRUFANT

On the game tonight:

“I think we did pretty good defensively besides the first drive. The young guys were out there flying around, so we just have to continue to work on it.”

On the first time seeing NFL action this season:

“It was really impressive. It was good and exciting and as veterans, we just have to continue to keep that going.”

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