What Feleipe Franks had to say after the loss

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Backup quarterback discusses the 37-17 loss to Miami Saturday in an exhibition game.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Here’s what Falcons quarterback Feleipe Franks had to say after the 37-17 loss to the Dolphins on Saturday:

(How tough was it? That’s the job of a backup quarterback. The quarterback goes down, you’ve got to go right in. How tough was that for you today?) – “Yeah, it was obviously an unexpected situation, and I tried to take advantage of it. It’s good. I’m grateful to get those extra reps right there, and I just try to take it as a learning experience and keep growing to become the best quarterback I can become. Right there, just kind of like you said, just always need to be ready, especially in the backup position. It was good. We put a couple of good drives together there towards the middle of the game, end of game, but really just not hurting ourselves, and it starts with me. We’ll do a better job of that, cleaning those mistakes up for next week and continue to get better and stack good days on top of good days.”

(How would you assess your overall play today?) – “You know what, I have to go back and look at the film. It’s hard for me to sit there and think back on it right now. I’ve got to go back and look at the film. I thought that offensively, collectively, I thought there was good plays. Obviously, I put us in a bad situation when I threw an interception, but there were bad plays and really just learn from those, learn from the good and the bad, and stack it up going into next week.”

(And just two games, but the job of a backup quarterback is, hey, can you get us through a game? Do you feel you could get them through a game if something happened?) – “I do. I have full confidence in myself. I feel like I’m starting to gain confidence in the group around me and just continue to go out there and put my head down and work. That’s all it’s about. Just learn from your mistakes. Kind of use everything as a learning experiment, and that’s pretty much my mindset on anything. I do feel like I have the ability to do that.”

(The pass on the 3-yard line, did you feel like you had a touchdown there?) – “I’ve got to go back and look at it. I thought that line on that play did a good job of getting protection. I tried to get the ball out of my hands real quick. It was a bang-bang play. I couldn’t even see it. I’ll have to look at it. Overall, I thought it was a good call offensively. I thought we executed … obviously not the way we wanted to. But I have to go back and look at it.”

(On the safety, did somebody flash to make you hold that a little bit? Looked like you were going to – what was happening there on that play?) – “It was a developing play, and maybe I held onto it too long. I could have got the ball out of my hands. That’s something that I just got to continue to work on. I’ve got to continue to – and a lot of that comes with reps, mental reps, whatever kind of reps you want to think about, not just physically, but mentally too, just getting those reps in my head so I can go out there and execute and get the ball out of my hand. If something’s not open, check it down or throw it away in that case.”

(Did you feel more comfortable this week over last week just in terms of running the operation, clean huddle, getting guys moving?) – “I did. Last week I felt pretty comfortable as well, and this week I felt like I took a step comfortability-wise, just running the offense, putting some touchdown drives together, but it’s all about consistency when you want to win games. I think, like I said, we’ll keep stacking and learn from what we did good, learn from what we did bad going into next week, and continue to work hard and clean up some of the stuff that I’ve got to clean up, listen to the coaches, and just continue to get better. I think that’s really my main focus. Like you said, execution of the offense, in and out of huddles, and the other stuff will come. So it will be good.”

(Being able to get that big run early -- you looked like you were in big trouble and found your way out of it. Did that kind of get you kind of juiced up and right into the flow of the game there?) - “You know what, man, I got juiced up pretty quick when I needed to go in. Obviously, as the job as backup quarterback, you want to stay ready whenever your name is called. I don’t know if that was the play that got me juiced up, but I think throughout that series the guys built confidence into me, and the O-line giving me time, running backs and receivers making plays for me, and I try to do my part as well. It takes all 11, so it was good.”

(Head Coach Arthur Smith was saying that he’s seen real growth from you during your time as a Falcon. Is that how it feels to you, that you’ve been able to develop and really get a lot better during what is essentially a pretty short stretch of time?) - “Yeah, and I’ll be honest, I’m overly critical on myself. I’m hard on myself. I try to be perfect in everything that I do. Practicing, game, studying, anything I’m doing. So when it’s not perfect, like when I throw a pick, I’m pissed; but at the same time, man, just continue to learn. Short term memory, go out there and play again. After the pick, we went out there, and the O-line did a good job of putting a drive together, and we went and scored a touchdown. I do feel like I’m coming along. I’m getting more and more comfortable in the offense. Obviously, a long way to go, and they’re doing a great job of coaching me. So just trying to do my part, listen, continue to be like a sponge and soak it all up and go out there and perform when my name is called.”

(Having those two scoring drives at the end of the game, you were close early on, but to be able to cash it in twice, was that a good thing for you and for the entire offense?) “Yeah, I think collectively for the whole offense, just to go in there and punch it in a couple times, get some scores under our belt, it’s definitely – because we’re all pretty confident. It’s a confidence booster for the guys up front, for the running backs getting the run game going, that’s going to open up the passing game even more. Just collectively as a group, I thought it was a good job putting drives together, settling down, and going out there and just playing and executing the ball. Coming out of the huddle with a good base and go out there and execute. That was a good job offensively on those two drives.”

(Having QB Matt Ryan as a resource in the room, how valuable has that been to your progress?) – “It’s been super valuable. There’s not even enough I could say, sitting here, on how not even just in the physically going out there and throwing the football, because he’s helped me out a bunch right there as well, but just mentally on the sideline throughout the game and in practice, and they push me, man. They push me mentally to just be the very best situationally in everything I do as a quarterback because that’s what it takes to play quarterback at this level. I want to do that and do everything it takes, and Matt’s done a great job of helping me, accepting me. I’m grateful for that, him accepting me into the quarterback room and helping me out the way he has. He has helped me tremendously.”

(Did Head Coach Arthur Smith or QB Matt Ryan have any advice to you when it became clear it was going to be your game the rest of the way?) – “It was a short span of time. It was almost just more kind of go out there and play, just what you practiced to do. When I came on the sidelines, just kind of coach up on what you need to change, fix going forward. It wasn’t like a big motivation speech or anything like that, but it was more just – and I felt prepared. I worked hard enough to get to this point. Obviously, there’s things to clean up, but go out there and operate the offense and get a couple touchdown drives going and get things going. I felt good about it, though.”

(You guys are professionals. They’re professionals, right? To be within a finger-tip of leading a touchdown drive against basically the No. 1 defense of a very good defense, does that give you an added bit of confidence in addition to everything you guys were able to do in terms of points?) – “It does, and Miami, hat’s off to them because obviously they have a really good defense and make it hard. Our guys did a great job of going up and facing the battle. It was fun to watch for me, kind of as the quarterback watching the O-line push people off the ball and running backs running the ball hard and receivers trying to get open and get open. It makes things fun for me, and it builds my confidence as a quarterback. It’s good, especially when you go against a good team like Miami. Obviously things here and there I wish we could have done differently, but like I said, there’s a lot to learn from, a lot to improve on, and a lot to be happy and grateful for as well.”

(How do you compare maybe where you were around the draft going undrafted, I’m not sure if there were feelings of disappointment, to now 2 1/2 quarters in a preseason game and having what hopefully QB AJ McCarron will be back competing with you for the backup job, but having a real opportunity to win that job?) – “Draft day was, one, a little disappointing, but at the same time, I’m a super optimistic person. I look at it as a way to humble myself and continue to grind and get better, one. Two, to answer your question, it’s just – you never want to – try to figure out how to answer this. I never want to just look too far ahead. I just try to take it day by day. A.’s a great guy to sit here and battle. He makes me better. Iron sharpens iron. He does a great job of pushing me every day, so does Matt (Ryan). So really just excited to get to the next week. We’ve got Cleveland coming up. That will be a fun game. My brother plays for Cleveland. So that will be even more fun. But it will be good. It will be good. Like I said, a lot to learn from, a lot to build from. I’m excited for it.”

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