Thursday, December 25, 2008. (AP) -- Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith says it's too early for his team to reflect on defying expectations and making the playoffs.
The first-year head coach wants his players satisfied only with improving each week and taking steps toward winning Atlanta's first Super Bowl.
The Falcons still have a chance to earn the NFC's No. 2 seed with a victory Sunday over St. Louis and a loss by Carolina at New Orleans. Atlanta would then have a bye and host a game in the NFC's divisional round on Jan. 10 or 11.
Smith has carefully addressed potentially harmful issues that would affect the team. He spoke out harshly when defensive leader and starting safety Lawyer Milloy was arrested in September for DUI. Adam Jennings made too many mistakes at punt returner and was released.
Grady Jackson was among a short list of NFL players who tested positive for a diuretic earlier this year. But Smith kept the massive nose tackle on the field and declined to discuss possible scenarios until the league and the courts reached a final decision.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)