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Falcons' Smith demands stronger lines

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith wants his team to make major improvements on the line of scrimmage.

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If not, Smith fears the Falcons could bottom out for the second straight season.

Assessing his team's 4-12 record last year, Smith says the Falcons were most hurt by a lack of strength and size on both sides of the line.

The offense ranked last in rushing, and quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times.

The defense ranked last in third-down efficiency, second-worst against the run and third-fewest in sacks.

Smith reiterated Tuesday that he's to blame ''because I'm the head coach.'' But he added that he likes how the team filled major needs in free agency by signing guard Jon Asamoah and defensive linemen Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai.

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