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Falcons coach Mike Smith not ready to stake claim to NFC South

Mike Smith AP

With the Bucs rebuilding, the Panthers building, and the Saints potentially disintegrating, many think the Falcons could easily capture the NFC South title.

Falcons coach Mike Smith isn’t among the many.

During a conference call held in connection with the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe (which will be televised, by the way, by NBC), Smith said that the division is wide open.

“I know that the NFC South has been one the most competitive divisions for a number of years,” Smith said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “Most certainly before I got to the Falcons, there was the worst-to-first story for three or four years.  It’s very competitive.”

Making it more competitive is the presence of a quartet of top-notch quarterbacks.

“In the division, we have three outstanding quarterbacks that have proven themselves and then there is the young one in Josh Freeman that is going to be a great quarterback as well,” Smith said.  “It’s a fun division and I don’t think the offseason is any different.  We all will prepare and get ready to go play.”

Smith realizes that, whether the Falcons get to the postseason by winning the division or via the wild-card route, they won’t be taken seriously until they win a playoff game.

“I think ultimately we are both going to be judged on success in the postseason,” Smith said. “There have been a lot of teams and a lot of players that have broken through and gotten that first win.  That’s why we are doing everything in our power to figure out how to get that done. . . .  We know that we’re doing it the right way.  We just have to figure out how to play better at the end of the season.”

At the end, middle, and start of the season, Smith has high hopes for second-year skill-position players Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers.  “They were at a big disadvantage in my opinion last year in terms of coming in on the 25th of July and not really having an opportunity to spend time with the coaching staff and understand the actual sequencing of what a work week should be like,” Smith said.  “Julio had a very good year for us last year and so did Jacquizz.  I think they’ll be integral parts of the success we have this year.”

The Falcons likely will have success.  But it won’t really be success until they win a playoff game.  The last postseason win came eight years ago, when Mike Vick and company thrashed the Rams, 47-17.

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10 Responses to “Falcons coach Mike Smith not ready to stake claim to NFC South”
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: Jul 11, 2012 5:32 PM

    I wouldn’t have said this before the start of last season, but I think Cam has this division on lockdown for years to come.

  2. kevo126 says: Jul 11, 2012 5:51 PM

    without the saints super bowl run, this is one of the worst divisions in football.

    how many playoff wins do the falcons, bucs, and panthers have over the last few years?

  3. goodolebaghead says: Jul 11, 2012 5:56 PM

    Not if Drew finally signs that contract.

  4. willymucus2007 says: Jul 11, 2012 6:05 PM

    Love how he said there are three proven QBs and then there josh freemon hahaha buc fans have a long time to wait till there relivent again. Now it’s time for super man and the panthers to go to work

  5. jjbadd says: Jul 11, 2012 6:09 PM

    I’m a die hard Broncos fan since the Elway days..and I’m from S. Carolina. I’ve liked football since before the Panthers existed, so they are my 2nd favorite, and I hope Cam & company gives me something to pull for in the NFC! What would I do if Peyton & the Broncos went to the SuperBowl, along with Cam & the Panthers? It would be the ultimate for me!

  6. cornersss says: Jul 11, 2012 7:00 PM

    They had the division last year, and had the same hype as you are regurtiating for the 2012 season.

    I see more of the same. Great regular season, then bomb the playoffs again.

  7. avanderlay says: Jul 11, 2012 9:18 PM

    6 wins make newton a more proven QB than Freeman? I think not. Good bulletin board material there Mike.

  8. gammynomnom says: Jul 11, 2012 11:20 PM

    You can’t blame the guy. I mean the Falcons have gone 40+ years without winning anything, why have high hopes now?

    The screen game has to have Matt Ryan excited though. More short passes from Noodle arm after they spent 5 picks on a WR so they could be ” more explosive”.

    Gawd the Falcons are a bag of retarded suck.

  9. benchwarmer69 says: Jul 12, 2012 4:25 AM

    So, in otherwords, he’s worried about the Bucs with Freeman and the Panthers with Cam.

    Smart.

  10. damayan5 says: Jul 12, 2012 5:23 AM

    Wait what?!
    3 proven QB’s and the young one: Freeman? Is Cam Newton proven? Sure he had one good year, but so did Freeman a year or two back.

    In reality tho, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman are pretty average QB’s. Drew Brees is great.
    Cam Newton is the new hot thing but history tells us teams will figure him out with more and more gamefilm available.

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