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Transcript: Mike Smith, Julio Jones Interviews

Posted Jul 30, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith and wide receiver Julio Jones spoke to the media after the sixth day of Russell Athletic Training Camp on Tuesday.

Head coach Mike Smith
On the importance of the players getting a day off:

“I think that it’s a great time for these guys to get a break. We’ve gone through three padded days in a row and they’ve worked hard. Of course, the Collective Bargaining Agreement says we have to give them the day off, but I do want everyone to know that they would’ve gotten a day off anyways. We’ve been in line with that a while before the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I thought they worked extremely hard. We did situations today, like we did yesterday. We did some goal line and short yardage so we did some of our specialty plays in our specialty packages.”
 
On what the coaches will be doing during the day off:
“Coaches will be here tomorrow. We’ll start a little bit later than we normally do. We’ll be here at about 8 o’clock. We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of catching up on some film, because everything these guys do out here is on film so we’ll have a little evaluation meeting in terms of what these guys have done, pluses and minuses on what these guys have done through the first six days. It’s just a non-practice day for the coaches; we’ll be in meetings tomorrow.”
 
On what the next step is for WR Julio Jones to get even better:
“Julio has had, in my mind, two really good seasons. We anticipate that there will be a maturation process where he’ll continue to grow. When you’re at the level he is at, who knows how high the ceiling is? It’s his third year and he and Matt [Ryan] have been together. We’ve got a lot of weapons and again a lot of it is going to depend on how teams try and defend us, and that can change week to week. I think that is a fun thing for not only Julio, but it’s a fun thing for our offensive guys and our offensive staff.”
 
On if he looks at WR Julio Jones for signs of complacency:
“He’s one of the hardest working guys on our football team. When we were doing our due diligence in evaluating him in the draft process we heard nothing but great things. Obviously, the move that we made to acquire Julio tells us what we think about him on all levels.”
 
On what he has observed from LB Brian Banks:
“He’s retaining a lot more. Again, this is really his third time of hearing it so he’s getting more comfortable. Brian is working his tail off. He’s a very resilient man. We all know what his story is all about and he’s a very resilient guy. If anybody can do it and hang in there, I think Brian is the guy that can do it.”
On what the toughest part of LB Brian Banks transition will be:
“I think how fast the game is played and how complicated it can be formationally. He’s playing a position in our defense where he has to make a lot of calls but I think he’s done a very nice job with it up to this point.”
 
On if the Falcons look to fill the lower WR slots on the depth chart with undrafted college free agents:
“No, I don’t believe that’s the way we look at it and say this is what we’re trying to do. We’ve been very fortunate with our depth at wide receiver and we’ve had some guys that have been able to step in. One, two and three are usually pretty set. Four and five, and if you carry six, those are the guys that are going to come out and compete. We’ve had some guys that have come in here that have been undrafted that have won the job. I think that says a lot about, not only our draft philosophy and what we do, but it also says that our scouts do a great job in evaluating free agents. We’ve had a number of free agents in the five years that we’ve been here that have contributed and helped us win football games. I think there are some real battles, I really do. Four and five, I think there are at least four guys that have a legitimate shot for that. It could possibly be more.”
 
On what has impressed him during the first six days of camp:
“What the players have retained from when they left, especially the young guys. We’ve been able to install, in six days, probably about 85% of our offense. Now have we mastered it? Heck no, but in terms of the knowledge base that these guys came back with I’ve been very impressed with it. I think they understand what it means to be a professional football player. There is no 20-hour rule like the last four years in college football but that’s probably the thing that I’ve been most impressed with. They came back in very good condition and I think it’s obvious the way that we practice, you see the tempo. I’m very pleased with that as well.”
 
On injury updates:
“We had two guys that didn’t practice. FB Bradie Ewing did not practice and neither did RB Antone Smith. Guys, we don’t have to talk about that. We’ll talk about who practiced and who didn’t practice, but through training camp we’re not going to talk about what the specific injury is. I will give you a time frame, we’re looking at probably five to 10 days for both of those guys getting back with us.”


Wide receiver Julio Jones
On how things have gone the first week of training camp:
“Everything’s going great.  Today, Trufant stepped up and made a couple plays on me.  He’s done well over there.  It’s been going pretty good, no crazy injuries.  A lot of injuries going on in the League and fortunately enough we haven’t had any.”
 
On Matt Ryan saying he is ready to take the next step:
“I don’t know what Matt is talking about ‘next step’.  As far as my game, I know I can improve on every level, running routes, get open, just knowing the material and everything.  We’ve got so many good players on this team; everybody just plays their role.”
 
On feeling more comfortable on the field:
“Oh yes, no question.  Just getting out there and knowing the play.  As soon as they say it, I know what I have to do.  I can read the defense a little better now, and everything is coming to me so much faster.”
 
On dealing with the fame and attention:
“That stuff comes with it, just trying to be a great player.  I don’t go out there and try for Pro Bowl, I’m thinking Super Bowl.  The commercials and stuff with the sponsors and everything that I have, allow me to make commercials and reach out to the fans and show them Julio Jones off the field. ”
 
On being just business on the field:
“When I go out there and put the helmet on, it’s time to go to work.  I really don’t care who is in front of me, I just go to work.  That’s what I think is helping the young guys out as well.  Just going out there and playing Julio.  Just going out there and being me and not bringing it down a level.  I’m raising the bar for them and bring their play up to my level. ”
 
On picking up the habit of being all business when practicing:
“Well I did.  I’ve been doing that since I was 12 years old.  I’ve been very successful in football, from pop warner, high school, college, even now.  You can be as talented as you want to be but you just have to have that work ethic.  Nobody’s going to put the work in like you.”
 
On what he expects from himself in year 3:
“Stay healthy first of all.  Stay healthy and go out there and be a great teammate.  Just make plays when my number’s called.”
 
On pressure from national attention:
“No pressure on me at all.  I’m going to continue to do what I’ve been doing.  As long as I come out here and get the work in now, everything else comes easy for me.  You have to put the time and effort in.”
 
On setting goals this year:
“No, no goals for myself.  It’s all about the team.  I’ve always been like that.  People always say ‘you don’t have any personal goals?’ No, I don’t have any personal goals.  I don’t want to sell myself short.”
 
On the changes to his diet:
“It’s working great.  I stopped eating beef and pork.  I’m heavier at the same time.  I think I put more muscle on.”
 
On his weight:
“I’m at 229 right now.”
 
On where he wants his weight to be during the season:
“I mean I run around great.  I don’t get tired.  Who knows what weight I play at.”
 
On where he is mentally now compared to his rookie season:
“I’m there now.  Like no question.  Just as far as knowing the offense and knowing where I need to be at, knowing all the positions now.  The first year they kind of had me at X.  Last year they moved me from X to Z.  Now I can play inside, backfield, everywhere now; I know everything now.  I’m good to go.  It just takes a lot of studying; you just have to put the work in.”


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