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Mike Smith To Ramp Up Bye-Week Practices For Playoffs


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Atlanta Falcons: Smith to ramp up bye-week practices

6:30 am January 1, 2013

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Phase one of coach Mike Smith’s plan to keep the Falcons rolling into the playoffs backfired badly.

The Falcons still can get the next part right.

The idea was that the Falcons would go all out to win against the Buccaneers on Sunday even though they already had the NFC’s No. 1 seed wrapped up. So the Falcons played their starters from start to finish and still suffered a 22-17 loss to NFC also-ran Tampa Bay in the Georgia Dome.

Instead of being buoyed by victory, the Falcons were cut down by a bad loss. Rather than maintain momentum, the Falcons saw it halted—and they couldn’t shrug it off to sending out their backups.

The Falcons won’t be able to do anything about it until opening the playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 13 against either Minnesota, Seattle or Washington at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome. But Smith has a plan to keep his players and coaches sharp until then.

The Falcons had a bye week in the 2010 playoffs before the Packers pounded them 48-21 on their way to the Super Bowl title. Smith said the lessons learned from the bye-week preparation that season prompted him to come up with a new plan this time.

“We are not going to do anything like we did last time,” Smith said.

The Falcons will practice more frequently — holding four practices — this week. They also will spend less time in practice emulating the schemes run by their potential playoff foes and do more “Falcons on Falcons” work.

The idea is that the different schedule and practice strategies will keep the Falcons primed when they have neither an opponent on which to focus nor a game to get ready for next weekend. Falcons players from the 2010 team said they relaxed back then.

“We probably thought back then like we arrived,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said. “We thought we were better than we were. We didn’t approach the week like we should have, looking back on it. Hopefully we learn from that mistake and will be ready to roll.”

It starts with more work days this time around.

After the Falcons defeated the Panthers in the final regular-season game of 2010, players didn’t have to report to Flowery Branch for practice until Thursday, four days after the game. They then then had the next weekend off.

“The work load is going to be different in terms of the number of days that we work and when we work,” Smith said on Monday. “We did not spend a whole lot of time on the field during our bye week (in 2010). We used it to rest. This year we’re going to spend more time out on the field. We’ll be out on the field four days this week. They won’t be long practices, but we’ll be out on the field.”

With the bye week after the sixth game, breaks after Thursday and Saturday games, Smith believes the team is well rested. With the extra work, Smith plans to sharpen up on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling, which he found lacking in the loss to Tampa Bay.

The Falcons will face the lowest seed to advance from the wild card run. They could see Minnesota if they upset Green Bay. If Green Bay wins, they’d face the winner of the Seattle at Washington game.

The coaches will start preparing for all three teams this week.

Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who wasn’t with the team in 2010, said it will be “weird” to practice without knowing the next opponent.

“I’ve never been in that situation before and I don’t care for it,” he said. “I like to focus on one team. It’s hard when you have as many as four teams you are preparing for. The flip side is there’s no pressure. I look at it as it’s bonus work.”

Ultimately it’s going to be up to the players to make sure they stay ready. The Falcons have said all season they are a different squad after recent playoff failures and this is another way to prove it.

“We just got kind of lax in that week off [in the 2010 playoffs],” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said. “We lost a little bit of our momentum in 2010. It’s something that we’ve learned from. Now we just have to be mature enough to do what you have to do in that week off to make sure you can be at 100 percent that following week.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-blog/2013/01/01/atlanta-falcons-smith-to-ramp-up-bye-week-practices/?cxntfid=blogs_atlanta_falcons_blog

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So In 2010, They get a week off and the next week, we get HIT by the winter storm.... So our players missed tons of practice in 2010..

Rest banged up players and keep others on the practice field (Don't have to be long practice day)

Most people forget about the huge storm that hit the week when the falcons needed to be focused. It totally disrupted them and they went in the game way over confident. I actually think the starters losing the game on Sunday will give them a more focused practice. They needed to be reminded that if they don't show up ready to play they will lose. But if they are ready...they will rise up and beat anyone!

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Focus on blocking and tackling are the key. You don't have to know your opponent to work on the basics. If we do well in those areas, we will win.

Vince Lombardi would completely agree with you. A famous direct quote of his:

"Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist, but football is only two things-blocking and tackling."

From an article:

"I remember reading once about Lombardi and those great Packer teams. The article described how consumed Lombardi was with practicing the football basics. His teams spent almost all of their practice time working on and perfecting their blocking and tackling skills. They would do endless number of drills from sunrise to late at night practicing these key skills. Lombardi knew that if his teams didn't excel in these areas they would never enjoy the level of success that they did because he didn't necessarily have any more talented players than the rest of the teams in the league."

In pursuing the Lombardi Trophy, it appears that Smith and the Falcons are taking a page out of Vince Lombardi's training manual.

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Guest Negatorris

Most people forget about the huge storm that hit the week when the falcons needed to be focused. It totally disrupted them and they went in the game way over confident. I actually think the starters losing the game on Sunday will give them a more focused practice. They needed to be reminded that if they don't show up ready to play they will lose. But if they are ready...they will rise up and beat anyone!

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how about focusing on being able to run the ball more? It would take a heck of a lot of pressure off of ryan if our o-line does as poorly protecting ryan and giving him time to throw like sunday. And for the love of all that is holy, practice geting the ball to rodgers more too.

Edited by diehardfalconsfan
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I'm glad to hear the team is going to be working on the fundamentals. That's exactly what they need from a preparation standpoint. But however much time they spend on the field these next two weeks, it's how well they prepare between the ears that will be the biggest factor in their play-off performance. Last week that was sadly lacking and it showed from the get-go.

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i wish they somehow the clean up their timing issue between qb/wr's it was blatantly obvious we were out of sync v/s Bucs

also, they HAVE to find a way to involve Quizz / Turner / Snelling more in running game ....especially in short yardage situations. There's NO effin reason we should not be able to pound the ball in to opponents gutt with Turner / Quizz

Run D - misfits & poor tackling HAS to be rectified big time.....most big plays have come because of that.

I have utmost faith in our coaching staff & players ...there will be NO repeat here this time!

Rise Up!

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Most people forget about the huge storm that hit the week when the falcons needed to be focused. It totally disrupted them and they went in the game way over confident. I actually think the starters losing the game on Sunday will give them a more focused practice. They needed to be reminded that if they don't show up ready to play they will lose. But if they are ready...they will rise up and beat anyone!

It was really strange, The snow just seemed to go where Green Bay went that year. If I remember right there was a report about Abraham getting stuck on the side of the road on the way to practice one day that week and Kroy B. either went and picked him up or got his vehicle unstuck with his truck.

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I'd rather they be sharp than rested. Rest did them absolutely no good in 2010 as #1 seed.

This is why I'm confused bout all the hate Smitty got for playing this last game the way he did. Look how easily some forget. Back when we got sauteed by A Rodgers and the Pack all you heard was the players got too much rest and got rusty, now its being played the other way around and folks still trip. Bizarre indeed...blink.png

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This is why I'm confused bout all the hate Smitty got for playing this last game the way he did. Look how easily some forget. Back when we got sauteed by A Rodgers and the Pack all you heard was the players got too much rest and got rusty, now its being played the other way around and folks still trip. Bizarre indeed...blink.png

starters should not have been on the turf in 4th qtr.....no effin reason!

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One mistake is to confuse what the 'players' practice with what the 'coaches' prepare such as review of other teams. Smith stated yesterday that they, as a coaching staff and/or group by group of coaches, would study one opponent for one day and another the day after and Washington last; since we played them already.

Atlanta is doing everything they can.

Anyone still stuck on 'playing the starters or not' in ANY form or fashion vs. the Bucs? Are stuck in 'prevent injury' mode out of fear still. Atlanta didn't need to win to keep momentum. It was a free game by all rights. Momentum isn't a W/L record. It's a mentality and psychological aspect.

Fact is, some fans are more affected by the admitted 'meaningless game' more out of fear as well, just as the fear out of 'risk' of injury drives the anger and 'confusion' over players being in the game/staying in the game.

Do yourself a favor and forget the Tampa game ever happened. Remember, it didn't matter anyway.

I guess the momentum of fear, anger, and negativity was great to build on as a fanbase. smile.png

+1 to that cause. lol

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Well, any of those 3 teams have strong running, so you work on run fits and tackling and it applies to any of those 3

This sounds good but one has to stop completely different elements from one team to another. That's why the coaches are using an individual day for each team.

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