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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


** Q. How did practice go today in preparation for Tampa Bay?A. "We got to work inside today because the weather didn't cooperate, but I thought the guys worked hard and were focused.

Q. Talk about Tampa Bay's specials teams.A. They're one of the stronger special teams units in the League. Rich Bisaccia does a real good job. It was a special teams play that won the ballgame for them last week in New Orleans. They've always been a group on special teams that can run and hit, and it's no different this year. I think that's where we're really going to have to win our matchups."

Q. Is Michael Spurlock a pretty good returner?A. "Yeah, he's a guy that runs very well and there's not a whole lot of wiggle with it. He hits it and gets it. He gets north and south and gets positive yards."

Q. How are you health wise?A. "Basically the same guys that didn't participate yesterday; Tony Gonzalez didn't participate, nor did Curtis Lofton, or Charlie Peprah. Really the only guy that came and got some limited participation was Matt Bryant. We wanted to test his hamstring that was injured in the ball game last week."

Q. What is your kicking situation?A. "We wanted to get Matt (Bryant) and see how he kicked today. We thought that we would make an evaluation in the morning in terms of where we're at. We wanted to see if there was any residual effect. He had a hamstring injury in the ballgame, and had a family issue with the death of his father. Today's the first time that we've really had an opportunity to see him and really put our hands on him as far as the training staff is concerned."

Q. Can you talk about Coy Wire's contribution on special teams?A. "With your backup linebackers, you want to make sure that they're guys that can contribute on special teams, and Coy's done a very good job. Anytime he's been asked to play on defense, he's stepped up. He's been very, very consistent. I really think he's one of the leaders. He and Antoine Harris are probably the two guys over the last two years that have lead by example on special teams."

Q. Talk about Josh Freeman.A. "I've seen him mature over the last five weeks. Like a lot of young quarterbacks, he'd like to have some throws back, but he's really made some spectacular throws as well. He's a big strong guy that can throw the ball deep down the field and he's got a couple of weapons including Kellen Winslow and Antonio Bryant. I think he's improved every week he's gone out there since the last time that we played him."

Q. Can you talk about Robert James also?A. "We brought him up off our practice squad because of some of the injuries and the natural first opportunity for him to play will be on special teams this week. With the loss of some of the guys we've had over the last couple of weeks, Charlie Peprah has not been able to practice, so we brought Robert up to give us some depth on special teams."

Q. Can you talk about Brent Grimes and Chris Owens?A."Both of those guys have done a really nice job over the last few weeks. Chris, I think, is learning every snap that he's out there. I think he does a real good job at having a short memory and that's one of the things that all corners in this League have to do. Brent, over the last two games, has had three interceptions. He's been very, very productive. We're pleased with the way these guys have progressed over the past few weeks."

Q. Does Brent Grimes seem to be more comfortable on the right side?A. "Brent does, he really does. He's had more production there on the right side, I will say that. I don't know if he feels more comfortable, I haven't really talked to him about it, but he looks more comfortable and he's had more production on that side."


SCOUTING REPORT:The Falcons have a date with history against Bucs * FALCONCAST:J. Mike and Matt preview the Falcons-Bucs game * MULTIMEDIA:Video interviews and highlight videos from Falcons-Bucs * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:More on the Falcons from the Managing Editor * GAMEDAY LIVE:More pregame coverage and ingame features from * GAME CENTER:Stats and more in the Game Center * WHAT TO WATCH:Some key aspects of the game to keep your eye on * NOTES AND NUMBERS:Interesting facts and numbers for Falcons-Bucs * EXPERT'S TAKE:Thoughts on the NFL playoff picture from Clark Judge * TRANSACTIONS:Falcons place Dahl and Houston on injured reserve * TRANSCRIPTS:Smith Monday | Wednesday | Thursday * QUOTABLE:Falcons talk about Bucs in Wednesday open locker room

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