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'No Victims' & 'No Soft Souls,' Says Falcons Coach Arthur Smith

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was clear about the mindset his team needs ahead of the clash with the Buccaneers.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was on the wrong side of a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles to mark his head coaching debut.

Smith bristled at the idea that a coach could feel sorry for himself after a loss.

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"You lose it, yeah you feel bad," said Smith. "Everybody in this profession [feels bad after a loss], but you understand what you signed up for as part of your job. Are you a front runner? No. So we've got to correct things. Nobody's a victim here. We've got to improve."

"There's people I talk to, but I don't need consultation. 'Oh, console me.' Get the hell out of here. It's big boys; this is professional football. I've gotta job to do; that's what I signed up for. And the players, same thing. No soft souls here."

Once it was established that Smith isn't going to let himself or his team feel sorry for themselves, the subject turned to the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta's opponent on Sunday.

"They've got good players man, a good staff," said Smith with a shake of his head. "Bruce Arians and those guys do a helluva job. They've got good players too.

"They've got all 22 starters. I know that there's injuries every week. That's a very good veteran team. They've won, I believe nine in a row including last year."

Smith pointed to Tampa's run to the Super Bowl as a reference for a team turning things around. The Buccaneers lost three of four to drop to 7-5 after 12 games in 2020, and they haven't lost since.

"You talk about a tale of two seasons," said Smith. "Look at them last year. They drew a line in the sand, and they continued to improve and everybody saw what they did."

Smith is always hesitant to single out individual players on his team or opponents, but Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is no ordinary player.

"It's everybody," said Smith. "But the one thing I do know about Tom Brady is, he's probably the best, or one of the best I've ever seen with situational football. You make mistakes; he's going to expose you. You make errors with substitution; he's going to expose you."

"That's why to me, one of the many reasons that makes Tom Brady who he is. He plays the situations just as good or better than anybody I've seen."

The Falcons have their work cut out for them trying to stop Brady and the Buccaneers offense. They had little success stopping second year quarterback Jalen Hurts of the Eagles.

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Hurts had 261 yards and three touchdowns passing last week and compiled a lofty 126.4 quarterback rating. Hurts has less career starts (5) than Brady has Super Bowl rings (7).

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Smith made it clear that if anyone on the Falcons is feeling sorry for themselves, that person is in the wrong business, but they'll have to improve dramatically to stay on the field with Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday.