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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith talked about how he goes about keeping his team grounded after a 5-0 start during his time with the Atlanta media Thursday

On the injury report:

“Had a couple of changes on the injury report from yesterday. We had three guys that were limited that went to full participation today. That was (WR) Kevin Cone, (WR) Drew Davis and (CB) Dunta Robinson. Then (LB) Stephen Nicholas was a limited participant today. (TE) Michael Palmer and (RB) Antone Smith were out for the entire practice. Then the guys that were limited yesterday were limited today.”

On the Raiders getting some people back in the secondary and how is CB Michael Huff doing at corner:

“Well, he started the year at safety, but he’s an athletic guy that’s played some corner in his career. I think more in college than in the NFL, but they had to make that move. He’s done a nice job. (CB Pat) Lee on the other side, the guy from Auburn, I think he was with Green Bay before he went to Oakland. Then you got (SS Tyvon) Branch at one of the safeties and (FS Matt) Giordano who we had here at the other safety. Then, (CB Joselio) Hanson at their nickel. They’ve had to shuffle. They’ve had some injuries early on. We don’t anticipate there being anybody coming back. They added (DE Andre) Carter, the defensive end, during their bye week that can rush the passer. They’ve added one piece through the bye week.”

On winning the field position battle when they have a good kicker and punter:

“I think they have the two guys that probably have the most Pro Bowls between them on one team in the kicker-punter combination. With (P Shane) Lechler he’s going to bomb the ball. He’s not a directional punter. He’s going to hit the ball and they’re going to run down and cover it. They’ve got some speed on their special teams. They’ve allowed them to do that. Then with (K Sebastion) Janikowski, it changes your thoughts in terms of a defensive play calls in terms of where the line to defend is in terms of a field goal. Most times your talking somewhere between the 35 and 40 yard line with most kickers. He can take it out upwards of the 50 yard line. He’s got a big leg, so that will change our thoughts in terms of how we defend that area of the field because it’s not just the 35, 37 yard line you’re defending. It’s an extra 10-12 yards.

On how long it will take DT Corey Peters to get back into football shape:

“It takes some time. You’ve got to work on that endurance of pushing the big bodies. It’s going to take some time. Corey’s been working hard. We’ve been trying with our athletic performance guys to simulate it as much as possible, but there is nothing like going out there and practicing and getting 30 or 40 snaps in a practice. It’s going to take some time, and we’re anxious to see where Corey is going to be when we can make that decision of when we want to start that 21 day period.”

On TE Tony Gonzalez changing his training regimen during the season:

“He’s having a great year. I think we stress the core and our strength training and stretching. We do movement prep prior to practice. Everybody is involved with it. Then we’ll do some movement prep after practice. Tony has changed his regimen a little bit since he’s been here. He’s done awfully well. That’s all I can say right now through the first five games. You have to look far and wide to find a tight end that’s playing better in the League right now.”

On keeping the team grounded after the great start:

“I think you’ve got to be very focused during the week. You have to have vocal points that you’re talking about. You discuss and we do that. We talk about with offensively, defensively, and the special teams. I think you have to be even keeled through the week and then you get there on Sunday, and you play with emotion and you play with passion. We’ve got a bunch of guys that have been through the situations that we’re in right now, and they can be a great teacher and great mentor. They can tell guys it’s just five games. It’s just a start. Focus on the next task at hand. We try and always give that message.”

On any given Sunday anyone can beat with the parity in the league:

 “Any given Sunday, anybody can beat anybody. You have to go out and play your best to enhance your chances of winning. Sometimes you don’t play your best and you’re able to get a victory. You’ve got to go out there and make sure you’re firing on all cylinders. That’s our goal each and every week in all three phases.”

On the changes working out extremely well:

“When you have success changes are going to come. Guys are going to have opportunities to go on. We were very fortunate to be in a hiring cycle that had two guys I knew available that I respect, not only as football coaches, but also as men too and as leaders. They’ve done a great job through the first five games.”


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