Falcons Postgame Quotes (Week 13)

Head Arthur Smith

On the struggle moving the ball today…

Yeah, obviously we want to score 100 points, we want to score every drive. That’s a good defense, they threw everything they had at us and there’s a lot of things going on. At the end of the day, the positive side, when we needed to make some plays, we did. What it the game came down to be a low scoring game, some of those redzone – the one that (Bud) Dupree as good of a catch I’ve seen in a while, flooded over to Kyle (Pitts) and Desmond (Ridder) made a heck of a throw to Kyle to keep that drive alive. The end of the half, if you don’t take advantage of those situations, it’s going to sound boring but if you find a way to win, things get ugly, guys are coming in and out, storm, continues to be the second time he has to come in there and thought he played well offensively. Injuries especially on the defensive side, Clark Phillips, obviously Mike Hughes couldn’t go, Clark’s got to roll, and the AJ (Terrell Jr.) got concussed, Clark went in there and played outside corner. That’s a credit to Clark and the way he prepared all year. And there were other guys, Tre Flowers stepped in there that drive when Jess (Jessie Bates III) goes out, and it was all day. Andre (Smith Jr) going in there with (Nate) Landman. Guys playing multiple spots on punt, when Bradley Pinion, didn’t play that much, but you have to find a way to win and thankfully we did.

On what they saw from the review upstairs…

On the communication, you have to have it calm upstairs because there was emotions on the sideline. You know what you see live, it’s as quick as a bullet, you thought, ‘All right, you thought it was incomplete,’ and then you get another look upstairs, you ask and you get it confirmed, ‘Hey, it’s worth it.’ And I thought the situation, the way the game was being played, I thought why not. Thought it was too big of a moment in the game and I was pretty sure what I saw and then obviously confirmed upstairs.

On the win giving them some room in the division…

You know, those things, we have to focus on ourselves. It’s the way it goes, right, you guys have covered this League a long time. You have to find a way to win, you’re in-playoff chase, you’re trying to win a division, sometimes the game can get ugly in the elements and turn on you, whatever happens you adjust. At the end of the day, you just have to find the way to win. We’ll go back to work in Atlanta, and we’ll focus on us, we have to correct things that didn’t work this week that may have worked a week ago or whatever, and that’s what we’ll do. A lot of practice and we’re thankful to get that win.

On injury updates…

Yeah, so some of those, we’re optimistic in the grand scheme of things, but until we obviously get the MRIs, you don’t know. It doesn’t mean you don’t know about the next week, but we just have to see on the imaging about Nate, Caleb. With AJ obviously with the concussion and the protocol there. Jeff (Okudah), it was late, but think he’s OK, but we’ll have to see. We’ll know more tomorrow.

On Kyle Pitts…

He was involved, we just have to continue to work through it. I give Kyle a lot of credit, he really works extremely hard, and I’ve been saying it. Some people kind of look at you like –you guys talk to Kyle and that’s why I enjoy coaching him. You want to get to the point where they can’t, they concentrated a lot on Drake today. There was some optimism there and then Kyle took advantage of it. Credit to Des, tried to take some shots as low as they were playing. Didn’t hit as many as we wanted to, some we got moved off the spot, but there were some critical third downs in a low scoring game that Kyle was picked on more.

On if the weather was an advantage for their play style…

We thought so, but we knew what we were going to get. They were going to throw everything they could at us. They had turned the ball over, that was the biggest thing, that the game became a field position game and obviously we were trying to inaudible but not being reckless because the way the defense was playing. Sometimes, people may think you get too conservative, but all you care about is winning that game. Those guys, I mean the energy was great, we came up here and we said we’re going to bring our own energy. Those guys on the sideline were fantastic and they found a way.

On OLB Arnold Ebiketie’s progression over the last few weeks…

Just another guy that keeps working extremely hard to develop. He’s coming a long way, that’s why we drafted him. I think his confidence is building too, you see the efficiency of the rush. I think between Jerry Gray and Frank Bush deserve a lot of credit. In Frank’s room, all year and in the grand scheme of things, AK taking a step in year two, very, very positive for AK.

On the defense having not given up a touchdown in two games and how they’ve changed their mindset coming out of the bye week…

It’s just the way you continue to work, there’s some things schematically we did today that change week to week. Whatever our third down plan is, you’re trying to take away, where you’re giving help to, mixing and matching. A lot of it’s being in tune. They made some plays, they hit a flea flicker, just blowing up and making them kick goals. That’s the thing everyone wants – this is the NFL, people are going to make plans but don’t give up, turn those into disasters and let them get momentum. That’s a credit to mindset, but a lot of things we’ve been trying to work on week to week, certainly coming out of the bye, and we’ll continue to try to do that.

On if there’s things they’ve seen that would make them better defensively in the redzone…

Certainly, and some of it too is the other side has a say sometimes. Guys make great plays, and so yeah you want to change up a call. Sometimes it’s winning on a rush, maybe it’s the same coverage call but a guy ended up winning on the pass rush. Or, a little more discipline, don’t get moved off the spot on a play extension, don’t get baited into something, being disciplined down there. Little things add up. Same things offensively, you feel like hey you got a great call. They have some pretty good players up front. You get moved off the spot, you don’t make it, or they make a play in the air, and we continue to work. These guys, they have such a really positive mindset. They enjoy the practice, getting into the meetings, that’s why it’s such a fun group to coach.

On the development of CB Clark Phillips III and how he played today…

Yeah, because his number was called. You just never know, but it’s really all the DBs. The practices, how competitive it is and Clark, his mindset, why we liked him so much when we drafted him. These are moments, he didn’t play a lot, he’s played a little bit but not a lot, but he’s kept working, he’s kept – Jerry and Steve (Jackson) have done a good job. And Clark, credit to him, he competes and that’s why we love him. His role changed not only twice today but going in whether it’s (Mike) Hughes or him. He’s got a slot role, then AJ goes out, he has an outside role. NCB and S more, then we played Richie (Grant) a little bit at an inside spot too, so that was cool to see.

On seeing how QB Desmond Ritter performed versus the Jets defense…

Yeah, that’s what I mean about the other side has a say. We want to score 100 points, trust me, that’s our intent. But the reality of the NFL sometimes, they put a lot of capital up front, draft, everything, they have good players upfront and it was Matt Bergeron’s biggest challenges, draw cup and hey you got Quinnen Williams this week. I mean, that’s the NFL right. Caleb goes out, Storm goes in there, so you want to maybe change some of your protections, not leave him because they’re going to try to adjust over there. That’s the game you’re playing, play to play and series to series. Yeah, it’s an aggressive front, two styles, aggressive styles and thankfully we did enough to win.

QB Desmond Ridder

On the offense’s performance in the rain today…

Yeah, I mean obviously we prepared all week for a rain game. Obviously, starting off first play, you’ve got to narrow down to me and (Atlanta Falcons OL) Drew (Dalman), but that’s all on me. Got to be able to get the ball out. Got a big play there, but there were times later on in the game where (Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson) CP had one where he put it on the ground, but he did a great job of batting it out of bounds. But, just between all of us, got to be better at ball security. We know it’s going to be a crappy day and when weather comes, but we’ve got to be able to push the ball down the field. We’ve got to be able to run the ball. We’ve got to be able to get first downs and we’ve got to be able to get points.

On what it takes to start a good drive…

It’s obviously tough. You obviously want to have a positive play on that first play just to get the drive going and then see that first first down. We talked about momentum all year. We talked about how to get the offense going and that’s what it is. It’s staying in a rhythm and staying in the motion in which, let’s get positive plays, first downs, first play, positive yards, let’s just get positive yards at the end of the day.

On if the New York Jets defense’s focus on Atlanta Falcons WR Drake London opened up opportunities for Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts…

Yeah, I mean like I said we always have weapons all over the field, so you can’t just hone in on one guy or else someone else is going to become open.

On the touchdown pass to Atlanta Falcons TE MyCole Pruitt (Pru)…

Yeah, they ended up being in the cover three, almost in matches, they carried that seam with Pru, it was going to go to Kyle, but Kyle had his guy way off and so I saw Pru kind of had a step on three, and so I just gave him a ball to go get. Like we say all the time, you can find 85 and he’ll do well for you.

On the team’s two game winning streak…

Yeah, I think at the end of the day, we’re just ready to go back to work and get better. We haven’t stacked three wins in a row this year. We’ve stacked two twice now. So, we’ve got to be able to keep our head, come back home, and be able to go out and get a third win.

On today’s game production…

Yeah, like I said, there’s a couple ball placement things from my end that could have been better. The one late there to Kyle, left it a little inside. You put it outside, he goes and get it. You put the little one to (Atlanta Falcons WR) Drake (London) on their sideline, a little more inside. He’s able to toe touch and get it. And then you know, obviously in the run game, we just got to be able to get things going and get first downs. Like I said, right there towards the end, if we’re going to keep the ball on the ground, we’ve got to be able to move it, got to be able to get those first downs, keep the clock running and then we’ll be able to be good with everything. But, like I said, at the end of the day, we came out here with a win, with a great team win, and we’re going to go back to work and just keep continuing to get better.

On if the offense was successful given the weather…

Yeah, I mean we didn’t really let the weather affect us. Like I said, there’s obviously passes I could have done better, could have put better ball placement in, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what we do. We’re not going to let weather or anyone else affect what we’re doing. At the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to go out there and execute.

On stopping runs after last week…

I mean, yeah. Obviously, after last week, if you’re a defensive coordinator and you’re not trying to stop the run after last week, then probably got something going on. But obviously, they did a great job of fielding the box up, stopping the run but again, we have to adjust for that extra hitter. Be able to make that one guy miss.

OLB Bud Dupree

On the transformation of the defense in the last few weeks…

Shoutout to Ryan Nielsen, man, putting us in situations to be able to play ball. He made adjustments as the season goes on, and hats off to him for being a great corrector.

On what the biggest adjustment have been as of late…

Just calls. Calls and bringing the juice to this. He’s one of those guys who’s always deciding he’s going to be one way, just going to be one way all week. Each and every day he’s going to be the same person, he’s going to get on you if you mess up, correct you, he’s going to do it all. So, just being able to get everyone on the same page as him with his enthusiasm, his passion, and it matches the play.

On the importance of winning in ugly environments…

Very important. Each and every one of these games is a playoff game for us, we want to be able to continue to roll each and every week and keep making the arrow keep going up, you don’t want to be one of those teams that it’s getting late in the season and the arrow starts going down, you always want to be one of those teams where the arrow pointed up, it’s great we got to show that. We just got to build on it next week, another home game, continue to go out there man and play with a different gear.

RB Bijan Robinson

On getting a win in the poor conditions…

Yeah, it was just one of those games. Like you said, the weather was all messed up a little bit and it was constantly raining. We wanted to get some drives going and there was stuff that happened, but that weather was a big factor for us, but that’s why we just have to finish as much as we can, get as many first downs as we can, and try to score if we have an opportunity. It was definitely good to see Pruitt score, get in the end zone and have him get that touchdown. That dude works hard, just as much as all of us, so it was cool to see him get in there.

On if the Jets played them differently…

Probably. They had the nine in the box, they had the safeties down low, but for us, we don’t really care who’s in the box or who’s loading, because we know we have to execute. And obviously, we’re past this now, we have to find the situation and roll with it and go as hard as we can so we can pop out some awesome runs, awesome plays for our whole offense. But if that was their game plan, we have to keep on doing whatever they game plan. We have to understand that it’s about us and we have to go out there and do as best as we can.

On the safety…

Yeah, that was a good play by them. It was a blitz off the edge, and I was trying to see if there were any cutback lanes. There weren’t many, so it was some play. It was a play that they did good on, that they schemed up well, and my hats off to that play.

TE Kyle Pitts

On what was working for the tight ends as a unit…

Just going out there and making the most of it, playing hard and the ball comes your way, make the most of it, proceed with the opportunity. It would have been such a dog fight. When it comes our way, just be who we are.

On winning the game playing the way they did…

It’s like you said, a win is a win. It’s obviously each week things will get better on, we’ll go back and watch the tape and who we have next week coming up.

On the overall offensive performance in the fourth quarter…

It’s the NFL, it’s not going to be a touchdown or a deep play every drive or every play. Bad look just trying to not have turnovers and play our ball.

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