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Mike Smith isn’t complacent despite high-flying Falcons’ 4-0 liftoff
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons are an imperfect 4-0.
Smith also critiqued himself. He says he was too emotional when he grabbed assistant coach Ray Hamilton as the Falcons had only 10 defensive players on the field in the closing seconds after Matt Bryant’s 40-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining gave the Falcons the lead.
“We were trying to get 11 guys on the field,” Smith said. “We only had 10 guys out there on the field. One thing I’m not going to do, I’m not going to have our team at a disadvantage before the snap. We were trying to make sure we handled that situation.”
“There was something that happened, and it was in the heat of the battle,” he said. “I’ve had a conversation with coach Hamilton.
“I try to be 100 percent. I wasn’t 100 percent yesterday. I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to be better.”
Smith said his next move was calculated and even rehearsed.
Smith said his called timeout was a planned maneuver because the NFL doesn’t penalize a team for calling too many timeouts. As an official came over to remind Smith he was out of timeouts, the Falcons had the time needed to get the 11th defensive player on the field.
“There’s a lot of pressure out there, but that’s what we signed up for,” Smith said. “I thought our guys handled it very well. We’ve got some things that we’ve got to do better. I’ve got some things I’ve got to do better in terms of managing the end of the game. It’s something we’re all going to learn from in terms of what we’ve got to improve on.”
The Falcons play Sunday at Washington.
Despite the imperfections, Atlanta leads second-place Carolina and Tampa Bay by three games in the NFC South.
“I’m aware of it, but I don’t pay attention to it,” Smith said when asked about the big lead in the division. “This early in the season, you’ve got to concern yourself with your team. You don’t even think about what is going on with the other teams until you’re getting ready to play them.
“We’ve started out fast, and it’s just a start.”
The seven sacks allowed are the most obvious concern. Ryan was sacked only four times in the team’s first three games.
“We gave up way too many sacks, but they weren’t all on the offensive line, I can assure you of that,” Smith said. “It was an effort that everybody was a part of.”
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