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The aftermath: Coach Smith elated with top seed, bye week


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The aftermath: Coach Smith elated with top seed, bye week

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Falcons coach Mike Smith addressed the media after beating the Carolina Panthers 31-10 on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

(Aside: Also, I’d like to publicly thank Coach Smith for always extending the first question of the press conference to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Coach Smith covered a lot of ground, winning the NFC South, the team’s quick start, his chat with John Fox and what the bye week will mean for the health of the team.

OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, it was a fun day for the Falcons and the Atlanta Falcons’ fans. I want to say, first and foremost, that I’m really excited for our football team, Mr. (Arthur) Blank, Thomas (Dimitroff), Rich (McKay) and all of the fans here in Atlanta. To go through the 17 weeks and be the division champs here in the South and have a home game for the playoffs, is going to be very beneficial for us. I told the team two weeks ago that we had to recalibrate our goals. We’d set our goals early on and there were a lot of things we talked about and we recalibrated those goals two weeks ago once we had gotten into the playoffs. The next goal was to make sure that we were going to be able to play home games here in the Georgia Dome in the playoffs. We got that accomplished today. I’m excited about moving on. I know that our players are. But we are going to be very business like in how we approach it. We’ll take a couple of days off. Get some guys healed up and we’ll have to prepare for a number of different (scenarios) in terms of who we are going to be playing.

With that, I’ll opening it up for questions:

FAST START TODAY: “It was very important. I thought we did a good job with regards to our no-huddle. We wanted to get out there and jump into it. I thought Matt (Ryan) operated it extremely well. We had some opportunities to maybe put some more points on the board and we let them off the hook so to speak. I really felt that it was good to see us start in our no-huddle offense. Then I thought the punt return by Eric Weems was a very big play in the ball game. It was great run.”

GOING FOR IT FOURTH DOWN: “I felt very good about the way our defense was playing. If we didn’t make it, I felt we’d be able to keep them backed up and I thought that they weren’t going to be able to flip the field position on us. Really, all of those decisions are really based on not only do we have good play. We felt we had a good play, but we just didn’t execute it. We felt like the way that we had been playing defensively that we were going to be able to keep the field position in our favor.”

ON BEING RELEVANT AND WINNING THE NFC SOUTH: “We are very relevant. We’ve worked very hard to attain this position. Not only the players, but the coaching staff, the support staff and the whole entire organization. As I told the guys, we’ve started our fifth quarter. We want to make sure that we play very efficient and effective ball throughout the fifth quarter of the season. That’s going to be the way that we approach this when we get back together here later in the week.”

ON THE RESERVES GETTING SOME ACTION: “It was very helpful for us because there is still a lot of football to be played in this season. To get those guys some game time snaps was very important. I thought that they handled it very well. It was nice to see some of the guys that have not had an opportunity to get out there and play, be able to participate in offensive and defensive snaps.

ON MATT BRYANT’S FIELD GOAL: “Matt has had a great year. I don’t know that there is a kicker that’s had a better season than him. He’s been making kicks when they counted. Pressure kicks. In my mind he’s a Pro Bowl kicker, there is no doubt about that. Matt has been very consistent for us.”

BOUNCING BACK FROM THE LOSS TO NEW ORLEANS: “We have a 24 hour rule. I can assure you that within 24 hours, it was out. We knew what we had to do. We turned the page. We learned from the game. We learn every time we come out and play. It wasn’t a good experience. But we turned the page as quickly as possible. They knew what was on the line in this ball game.”

THOUGHTS ON THE BYE WEEK: “We want that rest. Seventeen weeks for the guys in that room, for with what they have to do and prepare their bodies each and every week. Even though the injury report might not look very big, there are a lot of guys playing with a lot of pain and injuries that might not keep them out of games or keep them out of practice, but they’ve got a lot of bumps and bruises. I can assure you it’s going to help us as a football team. The other great thing about when you have a bye week is that you know where you’ll be playing and it will be right here in the Georgia Dome. We are very excited about that.”

WILL YOU GAME PLAN FOR 4 TEAMS?: “Guys, we have all ready been breaking those teams down. We’ve got a pretty good idea about how things will go and how things may go. You’ve got to have contingency plans. We have been working on that all through this week and will continue to work on all through next week. As soon as we know who are next opponent is, we’ll start to install our game plan. We will basically work on the Atlanta Falcons when we practice this week.”

ON POSSIBLY SEEING A FAMILIAR TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS: “Familiarity is always good. But they are going to know about us as well. But there is a good chance, a really good chance, that we’re going to play somebody that we’ve already played once before. That will be a fun next month. That’s how we are looking at it as a coaching staff and as an organization.”

WHAT DID HE SAY TO JOHN FOX: “John really spoke to me more than I spoke to him. I did speak to him before the game. It’s tough. John’s been a very good and successful coach in this league. He’s won a lot of football games. Unfortunately, he did not win as many as they needed to. To me, John is one of the top coaches in the NFL. To be in one place for nine years, speaks volumes for his whole entire body of work.”

ON THE GATORADE TOSSERS (Babineaux and Weatherspoon): “I was thinking about bringing them in for practice, but I thought better of it.”

ON FALCONS HISTORY: “I can’t really speak in terms of the history of it. (Mr. Blank says, “It’s big!” Laughs fill the room.) I know it’s big today. I know it’s going to be big in two weeks and for the rest of the playoffs. Again, I can’t say enough about the way these men prepared each and every week. They’ve come out and played the game of football, in my mind, the way it’s supposed to be played. For the post part, week in and week out, they played very effectively. . . For 13 times this year . . . we were the best team that day. We’re very proud of that as a football team and as an organization.”

ON THE DEFENSE: “They are playing very confidently right now, especially over the last couple of weeks.”

ON RODDY WHITE: “I don’t think there is a receiver that’s having a better year than Roddy White. We knew that he had got the receptions mark. Then we were tracking to see if he was going to make the yards. We wanted to make sure that he got it and we wanted to get him out of there as quick as possible. . . As soon as he got that final catch he was going to be sitting over there on that sideline next to myself, (wide receivers) coach (Terry) Robiskie and the rest of the coaching staff.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Thanks for posting.

One possible scenario on TV had us playing the Saint's in the playoffs, the Eagles for the NFC, and the Steelers for the SuperBowl.

And they pointed out that at least we've seen all those teams before

Edited by rounz
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Thanks for posting.

One possible scenario on TV had us playing the Saint's in the playoffs, the Eagles for the NFC, and the Steelers for the SuperBowl.

And they pointed out that at least we've seen all those teams before

Actually we've lost to all these teams already. That was the point of the scenario during the game.

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