Bird Talk: England (and Jags) Await Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons hope to get back on the winning track as they head for the U.K. to meet the Jacksonville Jaguars. But first, there was a press conference this morning at Flowery Branch, where the discussion was mainly about the dissapointing loss to the Detroit Lions last Sunday, and what they have been doing to beat the Jaguars in England.

Off the bat, Coach Smith was asked if there would be changes after the Lions loss.

“There’s always going to be you know, questions but it’s our job whether you win or lose to be objective.” said Smith. “It becomes a pattern and you know things have to change but that’s in anything whether you’re scheming what you’re doing what you’re asking guys to do. Sometimes on Mondays it feels like the world ends…. but we got a chance to go on our third game and go three and one against a really good Jacksonville team.”

How does the team adjust to the effect of flying halfway around the world?

“You know I would argue that it worked pretty well for us last time and but there’s also a lot of goes into it.  The way we prepared, the focus in embracing the opportunity to go do this, I think that’s a big part of it but there’s an adjustment and there’s a way you try to tweak the schedule when you get over there. It will be cool to be the only game on like breakfast at Wembley.”

About former Falcon now Jaguar Calvin Riddley
“You know always appreciated the time I got to spend with Calvin. It’s good to see him back out there. He’s a good player.”
On the reported restructuring of Jake Mathews’ contract (see below)
“There’s all kind of accounting tricks that there’s reasons why you do it, just to make sure you know things happen during the season. When you restructure those things and sometimes they mean things sometimes they don’t. It’s just kind of being safe with him and none of them are ever the same.”
Is stopping the run getting any eaiser for the Falcons?
“There’s so many different things and variables that can happen when it’s everything on the table. I guess having someone to be young quarterback especially when it comes to the past. If it’s like he’s dropping back. I think they’re all different schemes. Like if you have issues, if you’re going to get into the play action which is pretty common for a second down, I think that’s where the games change a lot.”
Thoughts on Toy Story? (The Sunday game is a Toy Story themed presentation on Disney+)
I think it was a good movie when they made it [it was] okay. Our kids like it. We did a little promo for it. It’ll be fascinating to see what it looks like.”
-Smith confirmed that Troy Andersen is on IR and he will have surgery on his pectorials. Smith did not state when he will return.
-WSB TV’s Alison Mastrangelo asked if Smith still has confidence in Younghoe Koo despite going 2 for 3 in his field goal kicks last Sunday. He said the kicker the team had in practice Tuesday was “standard operating proceedure” and he has full confidence in Koo.

-Smith on the Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence: “Extremely athletic, can extend plays.”

QB Ridder Speaks
Desmond Ridder took the podium after coach Smith to give his persepctive. He said that the team has been scrutinzing their performance in last Sunday’s game, what could have been improved and done better. He said that both teams were coming off loses and would be competing for a win in this international game.
Ridder said he needed to show “calmness” in the pocket, and he needed to get better at moving in and out of the pocket and getting the ball out of his hands to avoid getting sacked. He said that the Lions had more “juice” and “energy” than the Falcons did last Sunday, and the Falcons needed to show more intensity to win games. He is excited to head to London for his first international game and that his family is already in the U.K. awaiting his arrival.

Ridder on Swift/Kelce

The question had to come up at some point. What did Ridder think of the pairing of Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce and pop superstar Taylor Swift?

His answer: “Big for the Bearcats,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s great for Travis. You know hopefully it all works out for him. Hopefully he doesn’ t end up in a song here in a couple of years.”

Jake Mathews Contract Changes

The Falcons have more salary cap money to play with today and they have left tackle Jake Mathews to thank. He agreed to a reworking of his contract that would free up $7.1 million in salary cap space. A portion of his base salary. $9.5 million will be converted to a signing bonus, according to Spotrac. Various media is already speculating what this restructuring of his contract means, including, possibly, roster moves. Stay tuned!

Falcons Comings and Goings
Speaking of roster moves, the Falcons made some moves on their roster as the team prepares to pack and head off to London this week:
Andre Smith has been signed to the active roster. The inside linebacker will be taking over for the injured Troy Andersen.
Isaiah Prince has been released from the roster.

Chris Blair has been signed to the practice squad.

How to Watch Falcons in London
If you’re confused as to how to watch the upcoming Falcons vs. Jaguars International game in London, this should clear it all up:

On the radio, the game will be available locally on WZGC FM, 929 The Game.

Happy Birthdays

Arthur M. Blank, Owner and Founder, AMB Sports (Falcons parent company)

Note: interviews translated and edited for clarity.