The Dan Quinn era is long gone in Atlanta, but it was for the best. Quinn was known to be close to his players which is great for relationship building, but sometimes getting too friendly can lead to players getting too comfortable.
Smith was mic’d up at the Falcons joint practice with the Dolphins on Thursday and he made it very clear that he means business.
The Falcoholic’s Evan Birchfield highlighted the best moment via Twitter when Smith went off on his players for celebrating:
“Next play. We got two *bleep* yards. Congratulations. Get back in the huddle. We got two yards and you’re throwing a party. That’s your *bleep* expectation.”
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Smith Is Enjoy Joint Practice
Aside from having to pipe down the kids partying too early on the field, Smith seems to be thoroughly enjoying the joint practices.
“This is really good work for us,” Smith said via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “(Thursday), we’ll see how we come back and respond. I thought it was a very productive day in all three phases (offense, defense and special teams).”
From the tape we’ve seen trending, the Falcons’ offense (more specifically Russell Gage and Calvin Ridley) has been dominating up against their stars in practice. But Smith can confirm that the rushing attack is looking good too in Miami.
“It’s always hard to judge the runs,” Smith said. “You are trying to judge until he really gets thudded or tagged off there. Those can really be deceiving.
“You want to go back and look at the tape and see how we blocked in our combinations. It was good. It was hot. That’s why we wanted to come down here.”
The Falcons lost their first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans 23-3. Most of their first-teamers, including 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts, were held out of the game to prevent injury and give the backups a chance to shine. It’s unclear as to whether or not Smith plans to hold most of the starters out again but don’t be surprised if he does.
The Falcons have one more joint practice then kick off against the Dolphins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Fans Want to See Kyle Pitts in Action But it Might Have to Wait
Every Falcons fan wanted to see tight end, Kyle Pitts, in action last weekend, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and for good reason, according to Smith.
“Like I said earlier in the week, we feel like he’s right on schedule,” Smith told reporters following the Falcons 23-3 loss to Tennessee. “Wanted him to go through the routine of getting to the stadium, going through the warmups. Like I said, this week is going to be big for him, going down to Miami. It’s a very aggressive and very talented secondary. But like I said, Kyle is right on schedule. If we felt he was behind, we probably would have put him out there.”
A preseason game is a time where either rookies get a shot at stealing the spotlight or veterans fight for a starting job that might be open. It seems that Pitts has nothing left to prove, thus Smith is comfortable with his progress and would rather sideline him than risk an injury before the regular season.