Atlanta Falcons radio analyst and former quarterback Dave Archer sat down with new head coach Arthur Smith via video chat and asked him about the roster breakdown, building relationships and more.
Archer: Have you had a chance to talk to your team?
Smith: We’ve communicated with several of the players. It’s hard when you take over because there’s so much change. As we’re going through the roster we’ve reached out to several guys. The position coaches, they reach out to all the guys that are in their room. We’re just right in the beginning stages of building those relationships.
Archer: What’s been the most challenging thing to evaluate the players?
Smith: The biggest thing is we’re putting a lot of fresh set of eyes on them. The coaches coming in, we had two holdovers Dave Brock (receivers) and Danny Breyer (offensive assistant) which helps. A lot of times you’re watching the film and you don’t have all the facts.
When you go back and you self scout, you go back and watch the games and you knew what happened. A guy may have missed an assignment or you may have game planned, it’s nice to have a guy like Dave, because he can give you all the facts.
Otherwise you’re just looking at it and you don’t know the background, the injuries, what was going on during the week. So that helps a lot, because you’re trying to be as objective as possible. There are issues that come up and you might not know the whole story.
Archer: You do want to have a baseline idea of the guys are going to be physically tough. They’re going to be in shape, and you’ve talked about situational awareness. Are you seeing a lot of those attributes that you’re going to be able to work with and move this team forward?
Smith: Sure. I think we’re excited about some of the pieces we had up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They invested pretty heavy on the offensive line the last couple of years. Jake Matthews has been here for a while; really excited about working with Jake. Chris Lindstrom, I think has the potential to be a really good young guard. Kaleb McGary at right tackle, Matt Hennessy, there are some pieces here up front that are exciting to work with. I think those guys fit that mold. We’ll stylistically be a little bit different.
On the defensive side of the ball, Grady Jarrett is a great piece to have. Dean [Pees] will be adaptable. Traditionally you go by comparisons. It doesn’t have to look the exact same as Haloti Ngata who Dean had in Baltimore; that’s not fair to either guy. Grady Jarrett has success being Grady Jarrett. We’re excited about a lot of guys we’ve got that have been here.