Falcons coach Smith sees good and bad

ATLANTA -- Here is how Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith assessed Friday's 16-10 preseason win over the Miami Dolphins:


  • Smith was pleased with the final score, of course. "It's always good to come out with a win whenever you play games," he said. "This was a difficult opening preseason game. There was some good play that were very encouraging."

  • Smith liked how quarterback Matt Ryan and the first-team offense marched down the field on a 15-play, 77-yard drive on the Falcons' first possession, ending with Jacquizz Rodgers' 2-yard touchdown run. "Like the way our first-team offense came back and answered the opening drive that the Dolphins were able to put together," Smith said. "I believe it was maybe 15 official plays, maybe 18 snaps. A nine-minute drive that ended in a touchdown."

  • Smith saw a strong effort from his entire crew the entire night. "I really liked the way the guys worked," he said. "I'm looking forward to watching this tape and truly evaluating it; getting on to the Houston Texans. We have a combined practice with those folks before we play them. So we're going to get a lot of good work against another good football team."

  • The defense came up with the Dolphins facing third-and-2 near the beginning of the second quarter. Kroy Biermann and Malliciah Goodman were credited with the stop. "Very encouraging," Smith said. "We want to try and stay out of those third-and-shorts, if we can."


  • Smith wasn't happy with how the first-team defense allowed the Dolphins to move down the field with ease to start the game, leading to a touchdown. "Well when I say there are some things that aren't as good as we liked, I would say that would be one of them," Smith said. "I think that we ended up getting into too many third-and-shorts. We had an explosive play (36-yard pass play from Ryan Tannehill to Rishard Matthews), with a crossing route, and we just missed the pickup there. We were in a coverage that we should be able to stop that. We'll see it, and we'll be better in that area."

  • The Falcons were 1-for-4 in the red zone on the night. "We had three other opportunities there in the red zone where we did not finish the drive," Smith said. "Those are things that we definitely will be addressing and talking about."

  • The Falcons were stout against the run, allowing just 52 rushing yards on 21 attempts. "Well, that run game that we saw is not the traditional NFL run game," Smith said. "There were some read-option plays that we saw tonight. That's not something that we game plan for. We'll have a completely different setup, but I did like that physicality."