A day after making the most controversial decision of his tenure, Atlanta coach Mike Smith faced the media again and said he was still comfortable with his choice to go for it on fourth and inches in Sunday’s overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints.
“Yes I am and I don’t really want to rehash it,’’ Smith said Monday afternoon. “I think I did a pretty good job last night talking about the reasoning behind it. But what I can tell you guys is the decisions that we make on Sunday, they’re not done haphazardly. We put a lot of effort and time into all the different situations that occur. They stopped the play that we called and, unfortunately, we didn’t execute it the way we wanted to and didn’t get the job done.”
But that didn’t stop Smith from having to rehash the play in which running back Michael Turner was stuffed and fell well short of a first down. The Saints quickly turned around and kicked the game-winning field goal. Smith fielded several more questions about the play, including one on if the Saints anticipated the snap and where the play was going.
“No, I don’t think that they jumped the snap,’’ Smith said. “They didn’t jump the snap. We did not execute on that play. We had a similar situation earlier in the game, a fourth down and one, and we were able to convert it for a five-yard gain. We just did not execute the play properly on that play and I don’t really want to get into any more details than that.”
Smith said he knows he’s open to criticism from fans and doesn’t view that as a negative.
“I’ll say this: We have passionate football fans here in Atlanta and win, lose or draw, regardless of what the outcome is, someone has an opinion and that’s great for your fan base,’’ Smith said. “That’s what you want to have happen and I’ll just leave it at that.”