Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan have a healthy respect for Tom Brady

FLOWY BRANCH, Georgia – At his press conference on Wednesday, Arthur Smith was asked how best to slow Tom Brady down.

The Falcons head coach didn’t need a beat to think about the matter. He knew immediately that he was not going to bite the hook.

“It’s a tough question to answer,” Smith said. “1.: I’m not going to sit here and talk about our plan this week, and, 2.: That’s a little loaded question. I’m not going to fall into the trap.”

There’s a good reason Smith didn’t get into the metal jaws regarding the Tampa Bay quarterback, universally identified with a goat emoji.

“There’s a graveyard of guys who’ve been arrogant about Tom Brady,” Smith said. “No one did it better than him. We give him all the respect in the world. There’s a reason he’s won seven Super Bowls. If you make mistakes he’s going to make you pay. We have to be better. and we have a hell of a challenge at 4 o’clock on Sunday. “

That’s when the Falcons take on their NFC South rival at Raymond James Stadium. It’s a tough challenge made much more difficult by the man under center, a 44-year-old who remains the elite even at an advanced age in football.

We’ve all seen him find unique ways to win high and relatively low stakes matches. Smith has identified exactly what makes him so difficult every time, a trait of Brady that you might not think of.

“One thing I know about Tom Brady is history will probably say he’s the best, or one of the best in situational football,” said Smith. “Make a mistake and he’s going to expose you. Make mistakes with the substitution, he’s going to expose you. That’s why to me, that’s one of the many reasons that make Tom Brady what he is. plays situations just as well or better than anyone I’ve seen. We know it’s a challenge. There’s a reason they won the Super Bowl. “

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