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Transcript: Mike Smith Post Practice Interview

Posted Jan 4, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the Atlanta media after the Falcons' Friday morning practice during their bye week as they continue to prepare for next week's divisional round game.

On DT Vance Walker this season:

“He’s done a very nice job for us in the rotation. He’s probably been our most productive defensive tackle in terms of pass rush this year statistically. He’s a very good anchor point. Has a good understanding of what we’re trying to do and understands his role and that’s to be in the rotation.”

On quantifying his success in the defense:

“As a defensive tackle you have to really watch the film. You don’t necessarily look at the stat sheet. They do a lot of dirty work in not only our scheme, but everyone’s scheme in terms of getting on multiple blockers on most plays.”

On it being good to get CB Dunta Robinson back today:

“It was very good to get Dunta back. Dunta has been cleared to start practice again. It was good to have him back. It was a great turnaround from Sunday to Friday.”

On having to change the way he plays or risk losing playing time with the protocols:

“We address it all the time, not just with Dunta. There is a certain strike zone that you try and hit when you’re tackling. You want to keep the head out of it.”

On talking to guys not making the Pro Bowl that had a Pro Bowl type year:

“The Pro Bowl, every year there are guys that are deserving that make it and there are guys that don’t make it. I think every team has guys that fit into that category. After the voting comes out and they pick the team I let guys know what my opinion is and how I felt they played and how they stacked up. That’s just one man’s opinion.”

On how he’ll spend his weekend:

“Tomorrow we’ll practice. Watch the games tomorrow night and then Sunday we’ll be back in here as a coaching staff waiting to find out exactly who we’re playing. It’s possible that we’ll know late Saturday evening. That game could determine who we’re going to play. If not, it’s going to be late Sunday night. We’ll be in here on Sunday working on our preparation for the week.”

On the hardest thing about this Bye:

“You get out of a routine. That’s probably the con to it. The pro is you get to rest guys. We’ve been able to rest a number of guys this week in terms of their work load. Some of them have not even come out on the practice field. Some have taken a day off and been out here. We’ve been able to get guys rested. Much like the preseason, like I said yesterday, you want to have guys as fresh as possible. That’s our number one goal now that we’ve found out when we’re playing.”

On sensing QB Matt Ryan’s poise for this next playoff opportunity:

“Matt’s had a great regular season for us this year. He’s gotten the individual accolades. He’s led our team through some tough ballgames and been able to pull them out. I think those experiences will help us in the postseason.”

On CB Chris Owens' status:

“Chris has been working on the side. Again, we don’t have to talk about injuries. He’s been working on the side and we’ll have to wait and see where he is. Probably of the guys he’s not as far long as the other guys that we’ve been talking about. I do want to mention one thing. I know some of you have asked about CB Asante Samuel and whether he’s injured or not. Asante’s mother passed away earlier this week, so he’s been with his family there in South Florida. That’s the reason he has not been with us this week.”

 On RB Jacquizz Rodgers production this year:

“He’s done a very good job for us. His all-purpose yards, when you throw in his kickoff returns, he’s a guy that helps us on special teams, he’s a guy that can run the football and catch it. Sometimes some of the passes that we throw are really run plays as we talk about how we’re going to attack people.”