"Today was the first practice in pads and I thought our guys went hard. It's probably the toughest practice we'll have. These padded practices are long, and there's a lot of hitting going on. I thought our guys handled it really well today."
Q. Could you talk about Vic Beasley Jr.'s play so far in camp and how he's looking.
A. "John showed up in very good shape. The last couple of weeks prior to the opening of camp he was here with us working with our strength and conditioning staff. John knows the rigors of a preseason and has been doing this a long time. I'm pleased with the way he has started this camp."
Q. Do you have an update on the Julio Jones situation?
A. "No there really isn't one. There is really nothing of substance I can add to what I said the other day."
Q. Do you have an injury update?
A. "Antoine Harris worked today with our training staff. We're hoping he will come off PUP here very soon. Were going to accelerate his rehabilitation work and hopefully he'll be getting back. We've got some guys we are holding out. You'll see them in and out of practices. Von Hutchins is on a one-a-day routine. Tony Gonzalez is on a one-a-day routine. You'll see Todd McClure, Brian Finneran, and Mike Peterson, as we go through training camp, they'll take some days off. They will take some periods off because they are in our over thirty club."
Q. Did you get what you wanted out of the hitting today? Is it where you thought it might be?
A. "I thought they worked very hard. We'll get up there and watch the tape and really make a true evaluation of it. It really was a very spirited first practice in pads. They should be. The big key for us is where we're at mentally on Wednesday when we've had our third day of padded practices."
Q. How big of a difference is there in year two from your first camp a year ago?
A. "There's a number of guys who know how we do business and know how we operate, but we do have a lot of new faces as well. There's a learning curve for those guys, but I think they will learn from the guys who have been here before who know how we sequence things and how we try to pace things through our training camp."
Q. Will there be any difference in this scrimmage on Friday from last year's scrimmage? How did you happen to pick Brookwood? Is there a relationship to Jason Elam?
A. "The format will be the same. The only thing we will do a little bit differently our special teams work. Last year we wanted to make sure our punt returners could catch the ball in the night because our first preseason game was at night. This season we are going to do the field goal to field goal block to let Jason get a kick in back at his old high school. We look at the facilities. We have a group of people that check out the different high schools, and we want to move these scrimmages around every year. Hopefully we can get all over the metro Atlanta area. It's a great time for the communities but it's really a good time for our players. These guys really aren't too far removed from being high school players and they really enjoyed it last year. The fans have an opportunity to see our guys up close and personal in a different environment than watching them play football in the dome."
Q. Did you know Coach Dave Hunter?
A. "I'm familiar with Dave Hunter. I've known Dave for a long time. As a college coach I recruited this metro Atlanta area and Dave is one of the many coaches I know here in Atlanta."
Q. Brian Finneran looked like he had a nice day out there making some catches. Can you compare where he is this year to where he was last year at this point?
A. "Brian is lightyears ahead of where he was last year. Brian is coming off of two consecutive years last year not being able to play and I think that's one of the best stories. It may be one of the most overlooked stories of the NFL last year. To miss two complete seasons, statistically you don't usually come back from those. Brian has worked very hard on his rehab and his conditioning and we're very glad that he was able to come back. He's a stabilizing force as a wide receiver and on our offense."
Q. When do you plan to do goal line?
A. "Goal line will come at the end of the week. We will not do it live the first time we introduce it. We will do it more in a controlled atmosphere. We will get to the goal line, but with our sequencing it will be at the end of the week."
Q. You talk a lot about cross training your guys. As far as Chauncy Davis right now, is he battling for a starter's job as much as Jamaal Anderson is?
A. "That is accurate to say. We made a commitment to Chauncy in the offseason. We think you've got to have rotational players. You've got to have guys that are cross-trained and that's what we did with Jamaal last year. We'd like to expand Chauncy's role as well and continue to have competition. The defensive line position, more than any, probably has the most rotation in this League."
Q. Can you talk about the battle at the safety position with William Moore, Thomas DeCoud, and Von Hutchins out there getting some reps?
A. "I think the defensive side of the ball has more position battles and more competition. I think the safety position is one where there is a good battle. We've moved Von in getting him more reps. Von is a very valuable guy for us because he can play corner, he can play nickel, and we're working him at safety. He could be a utility player if he doesn't win the starting position. William Moore is just learning our system, but he has the skill set we are looking for the safety position. Thomas DeCoud is coming back from his rookie year last year where he had the opportunity to compete and play on special teams. Of course, Erik Coleman is a returning starter. We are going to put a good eye on all players and the best 53 guys are going to be the guys who make our roster."
Q. At corner you've got Willliam Middleton, what do you like there?
A. "William has very good size and very good speed. The thing he doesn't have is experience. We're not concerned with his big game experience. He played at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, but he has the skill set we are looking for as far as a defensive back. Of course William is a local guy from metro Atlanta so that's another piece of the puzzle. It would be great for Will to make this football team."
Q. Troy Bergeron played arena football here and was great. This is his first camp with a legit chance to make a team. Do you see him making special teams and bidding for a backup receiver spot?
A. "If he makes our football team as a backup wide receiver, he has to contribute on special teams when we have a 53-player roster and go to 45 on game day. Backups are going to have to play. It would be very important that Bergeron gets in with Keith Armstrong and understands he's probably going to play more snaps on special teams if he makes the team than he would on offense. I think we are set as far as our number one punt returner and number one kick returner go at this point in time. I mentiond the other day that we're going to have to find backups and Troy is one we would look at because he has very good speed."
TRANSCRIPT:Head Coach Mike Smith talks about the first day in pads * NOTEBOOK:Finneran happy to be in camp without injury * VIDEO:Head Coach Mike Smith | Christopher Owens | Mike Peterson | Chris Houston * BLOGS:J. Michael Moore's blog posts from Aug. 3, 2009 * PHOTOS:Images from Day No. 3 at camp (Flickr)