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What coach Arthur Smith had to say about the Falcons - AJC


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by DLed for the AJC

 

On where the team stand at safety: Moving Isaiah Oliver to safety? “We are in the beginning stages. As (general manager) Terry (Fontenot) and I are going through the roster, we are looking to add at any position. Ricardo Allen, he was a heck of player here. The circumstances of having to release him, we have all of the respect in the world for Rico. We are going to have to adapt. Isaiah is a guy that’s played inside, we feel good about him. But with a lot of our guys, we’re going to value versatility, but we are still in the early stages with how we are going to build this roster for 2021.”

On the roster evaluations for the offense: “I love the rapid-fire questions. We are still in the early stages. We feel good about some of the guys that have been here, that we have. There is a good young linemen up front that we are excited to work with. We are excited to work with some of the receivers of the outside as well. We are going to look to add at all times during the season. You never know when you can pick up players. Last year in Tennessee, we picked up Geoff Swaim, a tight end, in the middle of August, and he ended up being a big contributor down the stretch for us as we made that playoff run. We are going to always, it’s a constant evolution there. We feel good about some of the pieces that we have coming back. We are always continue to look to add value and depth.”

On scouting virtually for free agency and the draft: “The one thing that helps is that we’ve been through almost a calendar year now of the (virtual) world. There is a lot of lessons learned through our draft process last year and even in our spring installations and stuff that we had to deal with in Tennessee early in the season. We found different ways. It was really cool during the hiring process with the staff. I mean, in years past, you might have flown somebody in. I may have gone to see somebody somewhere, but it allowed us to talk to them a lot of different candidates. We just tried to find lessons learned from the mistakes we may have made last year. I know for me, coaching things, what they learned and what translated (virtually). I feel very good. We made some hires (of people) I never met in person until they showed up here. I felt good about it and the way we went about it and vetted them. It’s like everybody, you have to adapt to the current times.”

On his roster evaluations, any surprises: “Let’s go with Younghoe Koo. Let’s just hope he doesn’t kick as many field goals next year. He had a very productive season. There are a lot of guys. Systematically, we won’t change. Some of it, you’re seeing what is going to fit for us going forward, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Then offensively, like I said, there are some good pieces here. Calvin Ridley had a heck of a year. Matt (Ryan) is still … he threw it at a high level. You’re excited about Chris Lindstrom. I could go on and on. So, there are some good pieces. We are going to ask those guys every day and whoever we bring in, you’ve got to earn your job. I’ve got to earn my job today. That’s going to be the same thing that we ask those guys, whether your going into Year 14 or Year 2. We feel good. There are some pieces, and we’ll continue to add.”

On defensive coordinator Dean Pees: “Dean’s body of work kind of speaks for itself. But is Dean is also somebody that is not set in his ways. Dean is very flexible. He’s adaptable. I feel really good about the entire staff, but on the defensive side we got some really good experience over there. Combining that with some young guys, it’s a good mix. Dean and I have a shared vision. We’ll play to our strengths of our team. We’ll be multiple. It was really beneficial for me, being a first-time head coach and I’m still going to call the plays, is that you have somebody with that kind of experience that you can lean on, especially on that side of the ball.”

On his philosophy on how a team should be built: “Obviously, you love to have depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage. I think that helps. If there is one thing that is 100% in the NFL, you’re going to have injuries. It’s hard. It’s hard when you lose (guys) up front. If you don’t have enough guys that can affect the quarterback. Obviously, we all saw the Super Bowl and we saw Tampa (Bay) was able to get after (Chiefs quarterback Patrick) Mahomes. That helps. But again, year-to-year, it changes. Your strengths may be at the skill positions. That’s what I mean playing to your strengths. Certain years we may have a lot of depth at tight end. You have to find ways to … there may be certain games in the season … you back to that COVID game (Tennessee) had against Buffalo on a Tuesday night and we only had four wide receivers up. So, you’re going to lean heavier on the tight ends or maybe you have multiple running back spots … You always love to have depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage in a perfect world. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it definitely helps.”

On if his philosophy matches with Fontenot’s: “It’s year to year that you build. I know there are narratives you want to get out there and people want to frame something, this is (rebuilding). The challenge is, and that’s why I love it, every year things change. You never just run it back. It’s a constant team building. I’ve really enjoyed just working with Terry. We have our beliefs. But I also like to think that we are also really good listeners. We’ve hired really good staff. When you hire really good people, you let them do their jobs. We listen. We facilitate. The thing about what Terry said, the things you are doing Year One, you have to have as strong staff because we get pulled out of things. It’s very exciting. It’s been fun so far.”

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith comments on the status of rookies and the evaluation process going forward.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

On DT Marlon Davidson and C Matt Hennessy: “Both of those will be given a clean slate. They were rookies. I think it was a really challenging year for a lot of rookies. That class, it was probably hardest for them when you look around the league. Obviously, some teams had more success than other, it’s so early to give you stamp on what this guy is going to be in Year One as a rookie. Some of these guys improve.

We are certainly are excited about working with them. I think they both will have the opportunity like everybody else, they’ll have a clean slate and to come earn a job. Certainly, rookie year doesn’t make or break a career.”

On quarterbacks coach Charles London and making sure there are more minorities are in the pipeline to become head coaches: “Charles and I shared an office together in 2011 in Tennessee. It’s kind of like living in the dorm with somebody and you really get to know somebody. In coaching, you don’t really know somebody. You work with them, but when you share an office you feel like you really get to know him. Charles is a phenomenal coach. I think the biggest requirement for being a good coach is being a teacher. Charles is a heck of a teacher. I think looking at Charles in that role, it’s role where Charles wanted to expand and grow. That’s stifled a lot of growth around and I’m sensitive to it. Mike Vrabel game me a shot coming from the tight end. There had been precedent and guys have become coordinators, but there are a lot of people that think you only have to come through the quarterbacks room. I had never coached a quarterback and I was in the quarterback room as a coordinator. Same thing with Charles. Charles wants to grow. He’s a great team and he will. He’ll do a great job. There is a lot of experience on this staff. Certainly, the same thing working with Ryan Tannehill, you work with a veteran quarterback and you get Matt Ryan, you work with a veteran quarterback and you kind of feed off each other. When you are coming from the running back room, I think there are a lot of misconceptions. You are heavily involved in the protections. It carries over right to the quarterback room. That’s critical on third down. Blitz pick-up. You’ve involved in the run scheme obviously with the tracks and the ball handling. I’m real excited that Charles is a part of our staff. It’s a huge a help. You want to expand people. You never want to stifle people’s growth. I think the more you…you have to give somebody a shot. It’s a perfect situation for Charles and I couldn’t be more excited that he’s here with us.”

On if he wants a veteran backup quarterback behind Matt Ryan: “I think it goes back to Terry. There are just so many things at play. If this happens, we can add this guy here. As you go into the draft, you are looking to add everywhere. Obviously, we won’t in with just one quarterback into training camp. We’ll have multiple spots there…..We’ll look for help anywhere and we’ll look to add. A lot that played into the salary cap. Who’s available? Who you can sign? Who you can draft. It’s all in.”

After Tennessee’s situation with Isaiah Wilson last season, how many people do you want evaluating players on these virtual meetings: “I think you learn from every experience. Just because that happened, there are so many factors and variables. Whether if we were in (virtual) area or normal, there are things you can’t control. We are never going to be perfect and I don’t think anybody is. I’m not going to have the perfect play-call every time. Terry is not going to have the perfect draft pick. Certainly, you try to minimize risks in certain areas, but there are lessons learned in everything we do. In terms of how we adapted our teaching methods. You adopt to how you interview. That certainly helped me when we were interviewing coaches. But you learn from everything. There are always exceptions. I don’t really want to comment on something going on in Tennessee.”

How do you approach getting ready for OTA or minicamps: “You just have to have contingency plans. So, here’s the calendar if we have a perfect situation if we have the normal offseason. If we don’t, he’s Plan B and here is Plan C. That was the best lesson…everybody says that and then you actually had to apply that to last year. We felt we did for the most part in Nashville. We’ll do the same thing here. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

On the parallels from the 2011 lockout year to the current offseason: “There were a lot of things we learned from that year. The lockout year was very interesting. We were a new staff that year. It was a top heavy quarterback draft at the time. You had Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Chris Ponder. I think all went within the top 15, give or take if I remember correctly. There is a lot of parallels. You have to do your due diligence. You can look back from year to year, it’s the hardest position I think in professional sports to play at a high level for a long time. That’s why you are seeing (the quarterback movement) right now. Just look at the last 10 years of the first-round quarterbacks. It’s not easy. There are a lot of things that factor into it. Yeah, that was a unique year. Lessons learned there. I think we ended up going 9-7. We actually came up here to Atlanta and lost in a relatively close game at the end. I think we came back, but yeah there was a lot of lessons applied about when you have to install things and (with the) evaluations.”

 

 

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Interesting he brought up similarities of Top heavy QB draft from 2011 to this years and acknowledging duds that year and in last 10 years. 
 

On the parallels from the 2011 lockout year to the current offseason: “There were a lot of things we learned from that year. The lockout year was very interesting. We were a new staff that year. It was a top heavy quarterback draft at the time. You had Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Chris Ponder. I think all went within the top 15, give or take if I remember correctly. There is a lot of parallels. You have to do your due diligence. You can look back from year to year, it’s the hardest position I think in professional sports to play at a high level for a long time. That’s why you are seeing (the quarterback movement) right now. Just look at the last 10 years of the first-round quarterbacks. It’s not easy. There are a lot of things that factor into it. Yeah, that was a unique year. Lessons learned there. I think we ended up going 9-7. We actually came up here to Atlanta and lost in a relatively close game at the end. I think we came back, but yeah there was a lot of lessons applied about when you have to install things and (with the) evaluations.”

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Man that was a great read. I could listen to him talk for a long time. He really seems like he knows what he's talking. He's got actual philosophies and ideas, not just catchphrases and slogans. 

I usually go into reading interviews with coaches expecting to learn nothing due to coach speak, but he actually said real things.

I really liked what he said about making sure you're giving people a chance to grow and not stifling them. That's how you develop real coaching talent on your team.

The more I learn about Coach Arturo, the more I like him.

I did find it interesting that he mentioned Lindstrom but not McGary.

I love that he stressed the importance of depth on both lines.

I think we got a real one over here y'all.

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6 hours ago, falcons007 said:

IIRC ponder Ponder was the last QB to be picked at 12. All top 4 AB in that class went top 12. Can’t miss QB class. 

All of the QBs on this list went in the first round.  There are 39 QBs drafted in the first round since Matt Ryan entered the league.  Some of them are starters.  Some of them are backups.  And, some of them are out of the league.  Your tongue-in-cheek comment about can't miss QB class is correct.  There has never been a can't miss class at any position.

2020       Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love

2019       Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins,

2018       Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson

2017       Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson  

2016       Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch              

2015       Jameis Winston , Marcus Mariota

2014       Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater

2013       EJ Manuel

2012       Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden

2011       Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder

2010       Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow

2009       Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman

2008       Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco

 

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4 hours ago, NorthGaBoy said:

 

 

All of the QBs on this list went in the first round.  There are 39 QBs drafted in the first round since Matt Ryan entered the league.  Some of them are starters.  Some of them are backups.  And, some of them are out of the league.  Your tongue-in-cheek comment about can't miss QB class is correct.  There has never been a can't miss class at any position.

 

2020       Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love

 

2019       Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins,

 

2018       Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson

 

2017       Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson  

 

2016       Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch              

 

2015       Jameis Winston , Marcus Mariota

 

2014       Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater

 

2013       EJ Manuel

 

2012       Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden

 

2011       Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder

 

2010       Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow

 

2009       Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman

 

2008       Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco

 

 

 

 

I look at that list of QBs and am amazed that people have still wanted Ryan replaced every year since he was drafted. Since 2008 class only 2 years has more than half the round 1 QB class been successful. (2017, 2018...with Mayfiled still an unknown commodity though 2029 looked good)

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2 hours ago, 1989Fan said:

I look at that list of QBs and am amazed that people have still wanted Ryan replaced every year since he was drafted. Since 2008 class only 2 years has more than half the round 1 QB class been successful. (2017, 2018...with Mayfiled still an unknown commodity though 2029 looked good)

I heard a stat yesterday, that Ryan is the only QB selected in the first round from 2006-2016 who is still with the team that drafted him.

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