What Falcons coach Arthur Smith had to say after loss to Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. --- Here’s what Falcons coach Arthur Smith had to say after the 37-17 loss to the Dolphins on Saturday:

On the state of affairs at QB with AJ McCarron going down with an injury: “Yeah, I really feel for AJ McCarron. Anytime that something like that happens, it’s non-contact. It’s tough when you know what these guys put into it. I feel for AJ. We’ll obviously get the MRI to confirm He’s heartbroken. He had bounced back. He was out there fighting for his team, trying to get the extra yards. I understand that injuries are a part of the game, but there is still a human element. So, I feel for AJ.”

On how serious of a knee injury: “We’ll just have to see the MRI.”

On if it was McCarron’s anterior cruciate ligament: “When something like happens and you’ve got to take him out, we are going to be very cautious. Until we get the final word. I normally don’t like to talk about injuries ... it didn’t look good.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

On being in the open QB market: “You’re always going to look to improve the team. So, we have to assess and see what the injury is. Until you get a MRI, we’ve seen things happen before. It was quick. But any time we are always looking to improve the roster. If it is long-term, we’ll continue to look there.”

On how Feleipe Franks played: “So he came in there and that is the job. He was the backup quarterback tonight. He has to be ready. He stepped in there and he did drive us down. He made a play on fourth down. One thing that Feleipe continues to show is that he can make plays. I thought he threw the ball better tonight at times. I’m still going to push him. He’s had a lot of growth and he’s going to continue to grow. The reason that I respect Feleipe is because he’s a tough-minded guy. You can push Feleipe. We want to continue to push our operation. He’s been thrown in to situations that you could never replicate in practice. These are very valuable reps for him and for all those guys out there.”

On the challenge operation: “That was from up in the box. That was really good teamwork. You were kind of waiting to see how the booth review was going to go. So, you’re waiting and waiting and they tell you in about 20 seconds if they don’t do it. We had really good communications upstairs. That’s was good teamwork. So I threw it. I waited, but I threw it and we won the challenge. I was happy with that.”

On getting comfortable as a head coach and calling plays: “We’ve got a great staff and you’ve got to trust people to do their job. It’s nice for me. You talk about the young guys getting reps, it’s good for me getting reps in that role. It feels great. Tonight I did feel a little more comfortable. When I did have to turn my back and I wanted to say something to the quarterback, I knew that we have communications upstairs and a guy on the sideline that ... that’s a good thing about the headsets. I thought that communications was clean tonight. Yes, the (exhibition) season games help me as well.”

On the second-team defense getting gashed by the Dolphins’ first-team offense: “That’s life in the NFL. There are a lot of ways to do it and that’s the fun part about coaching and the decisions that we make as an organization. Because we are going to rely on those guys at some point. That’s been my experience. When you have a chance to develop players, that’s invaluable. Everybody has got a different situation. Those are guys that are going to play on Sunday. There is not a better experience in the world ... it’s unfortunate. We have to be a little bit cleaner. We have to get off the field on third downs. We need to operate better in the red zone. I was happy at times because those guys stood up.”

On how valuable was it for rookies Jaylen Mayfield and Drew Dahlman to start: “It was huge. That’s why we decided to play the young guys. We thought we had a very productive week. I can’t give enough credit to Miami and their staff. It was a very clean two days. Which is easier said than done. That’s a credit to their staff. I was very pleased with both teams. We got a lot of good work out there. We got something like 95 competitive reps both days, Wednesday and Thursday. Then those guys took another step today.”

On what he learned about his team: “You want to see if they are going to push through (tough times.) We don’t want to be frontrunners. We want to be a team that can stand up in tough situations because that’s the nature of the beast in the NFL. It’s unfortunate that we got down too many possessions. We want guys that are going to continue to swing and be able to close games. These games are going to come down in the regular season more times than not to one possession. We have to control those situations.”

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