The Atlanta Falcons took care of the Kansas City Chiefs in their opener, but now they’re in for another tough test with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos coming to town for Monday Night Football. Falcons head coach Mike Smith knows his team will have its hands full with Manning, but he also knows he has a pretty good quarterback on his sideline, too.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith joined Mayhem in the AM on 790 The Zone in Atlanta to discuss the new coaching setup Atlanta has during games, the maturation of Matt Ryan and how hard it is to defend Peyton Manning.
On adjusting to a new setup with an altered coaching staff early on:
“As far as communication with the coaching staff, there were a couple of snafus that we have to get better at. But for the most part it went very smooth. The way that we set up our sideline was different. Both coordinators are in the box, so there’s some communication differences that we’ve gotta get used to in terms of — especially on the defensive side of the ball — in terms of talking to the defense. Where in the past, the defensive coordinator’s been on the sideline, and when somebody needed to talk to the whole unit he was the guy that did it. So we’ve got a little different setup, but I thought it went very well in terms of the coaching staff and I thought the guys handled the adjustments very well.”
On if he sees a difference in Matt Ryan:
“Not really. Matt’s such a competitive guy. He gets himself prepared each and every week the same way. I haven’t noticed a change. Matt is going through a maturation process as a leader and maybe it’s more evident to some of the people outside the locker room, but inside the locker room Matt is the same guy that he’s been since Day 1.”
On preparing to face Peyton Manning:
“I think that Peyton Manning has got such a good grasp of how people are trying to defend him. And when you prepare for Peyton you’ve gotta make sure that you don’t give him any pre-snap keys in terms of what coverage you’re going to be in. Because if you do, he’s gonna find the right place to go with the football — whether it’s a running play, getting into the right running play, or throwing the ball in the right area when you’ve got zone or man coverage. The thing that makes it tough is that when they get into their no-huddle it’s not an either/or check with me, he’s got the whole playbook available to him, and when he has that much latitude at the line of scrimmage it really makes it difficult for the defenses.”