Falcons aren’t feeling sorry for themselves

Photo by AtlantaFalcons.com

For the third straight Monday this season the Falcons had an open locker room for the media to talk with the players. The team makes the players available following their meetings after a loss.

As you would expect, the players and head coach Mike Smith are disappointed in their 2-4 start to 2014. They fully realize that things need to improve on the field or else changes could be made. This was very evident after the 2013 season had concluded with the Falcons finishing 4-12.

The mood in Mike Smith’s press conference and the locker room availability could be categorized as ‘frustrated, but not discouraged.’

When a team loses, the head coach has to answer for the high-lows for the organization. Smith isn’t hiding from that fact.

“I’m ultimately held responsible and it’s a shared responsibility,” Smith said. “We’ve got to continue to work. We’ve got to continue to put together the best plan and then our players have to go out there and execute it. I think if we put the best plan together and they go out there and execute it, then we’re going to win lots of football games. I believe that.”

Smith does have experience winning in this league as the head coach. Prior to last season, he hadn’t won less than nine games in a season. He’s won 13 games in two seasons, 2010 and 2012.

The Falcons head coach knows what good football is and he also knows that his veteran players could help with that “shared responsibility.”

“Of course you want to rely on guys that have experience,” Smith said. “It’s important for them to talk to the young players about their experiences, because they’re the guys that are on the field playing the game.”

So often in the game of football you hear the saying, “you’ve got to learn how to win.” Players like wide receiver Roddy White have been around for the great days inside the Falcons locker room. He doesn’t believe experience winning games is their problem.

“The feeling right now is that we need to execute and do what we’re supposed to do,” White said. “I don’t think every player in this room is playing up to their potential. That’s the biggest thing we’re going through right now.”

White and other Falcons receivers had some costly dropped passes in their 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. That is contributing to what Roddy talked about on Monday. His example is a lot like you hear in baseball. “You’re not going to hit a home run, when you’re trying to hit one.”

“It helps just making sure that everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” White said. “I feel like right now we’re pressing. If it’s not one play, it’s the next play. Everybody is pressing and trying just to make the play that’s going to win the game. We’re not making any plays.”

Notice there that Roddy is being critical of the first six games the team has put on the field and not calling out individual efforts. He’s not pointing fingers and that is something that veteran safety Dwight Lowery is not a huge fan of. He might be in his first season with the Falcons. But, he also knows that calling out individuals when times are lean is a sports cardinal sin.

“That’s what losers do and we’re not here to be losers,” Lowery said. “We’re here to win, everybody is committed. These times need to bring a team closer, because we’re starting to go through the middle stretch of the season that really makes or breaks your year in my opinion.”

The fact still remains that the Falcons are 2-4 at the moment and still have 10 games left in the 2014 regular season. Whether it is injuries, bad play, or losing streaks Lowery knows that the season has to go on.

“They’re not going to cancel it,” Lowery said. “Baltimore doesn’t care, we play the Lions the week after and they don’t care. Nobody cares. The only people that are going to have a 100% commitment to this team are the people that are in this building and obviously the fans.”

The truth of the matter is that the Falcons first chance to show the game plan and execution on the field is coming together is this Sunday in Baltimore against the Ravens. The Ravens are ninth in the league in terms of total offense, averaging about 390 yards per game. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the passing game is averaging 257 yards per game. They’ve run for 132.8 yards per game. That has them 12th in the NFL for passing offense and ninth for running the ball.

Needless to say the Falcons defense needs to improve quickly, if they’re going to end this losing streak at three straight.



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