Opening Statement:"It was the second day of padded practice, and I thought it was pretty intense out there. We got a chance to work in the red zone, and as I told our guys after practice, this week is all about situational football. We've got to expose our guys to every situation possible. As the week goes on, our other offensive packages will be exposed to everything together before our first scrimmage this Friday night at Brookwood High School."
Q. How is the wide receiver group holding up without Roddy White?A. "Well we're down a pair of legs with nine wide receivers. They are working extremely hard and I don't think there have been any pulls. We haven't had anybody miss any snaps so I think that is very positive. The coaching staff has to make adjustments and prepare our guys for keeping a good rep count."
Q. When does the hold out of Roddy White reach the point of no return?
A. "I really can't give you anything of substance about that. All I can say is that the guy you are talking about is one of our best 53 players, and as a coach you want to get all of your best players here and hopefully he will be here soon. It's not the ideal situation. In regards to what's going on, all I can say is that we wish Roddy were here with us."
Q. Tell us how you feel about Mike Peterson as a leader for the team, especially for the younger players.
A. "I think Mike can mentor those young players because he has played in our system, he has played for (Defensive Coordinator) Brian VanGorder and he's familiar with me and what we try to get done. So he can mentor the young guys like Curtis Lofton, Stephen Nicholas, Coy Wire, and the guys that are in that line backing group."
Q. Are the preseason practices important to finding depth in your offensive line?
A. "Yes. This preseason and training camp is what it's all about. Our number one goal is to get to the opening game as healthy and fresh as possible. It's also putting the best 53 guys out there. There are a lot of guys that are competing for jobs. There are not a lot of guys that have roster spots that are basically in cement. There's a few, but we're telling these guys that we're going to play the best guys. This is an opportunity now that we're actually playing football to be evaluated. It's tough to evaluate a guy when you're not playing the game of football, tackling, and finishing blocks. The scrimmage this weekend on Friday will be the first opportunity to see the guys play full speed, and of course we'll get four evaluations. The first two on the road for the preseason and then back at home for the rest."
Q. Talk to us about the culture you try to implement in the team. Where are you in that process?
A. "Well, we're ahead of where we were last year, because of the familiarity with one another. We're a group of men and when we come together on the practice field, we're going to work hard. At the same time we want to have a communicative culture. We want guys to feel like they are part of the process, and not only the players, but everybody in the organization. I think when you set that tone and you have that culture in place, then everyone feels like part of the process. I think we're ahead of last year because these guys are familiar with me and what we're trying to get done as a coaching staff."
Q. How important is the bond that the rookies and the younger guys make during this point of camp?
A. "Well I think it's very important because they need a support system. They're support system has gone away from what they're used to in an athletic and competitive situation. Those guys are going through the same things at different levels. There is a difference between a first round draft pick and a free agent, but they're all seeing things for the first time and it's new for them. I think it's very important. A lot of the time, the bonds that you make as a rookie stay with you for a long time and I think it's important. Our philosophy and the culture here is that we're not a group that is going to haze the rookies. In this day in time, rookies come in and are implemented into the system right away. There are certain things that your rookie status is about, but you are a member of the team and we know that a lot of these rookies are going to contribute and help us to be successful this season."
TRANSCRIPT:Head Coach Mike Smith talks after the morning workout * FEATURE:DeCoud, Moore just two in the mix at safety * RELEASE:Falcons sign wide receiver Dicky Lyons * VIDEO:Head Coach Mike Smith | Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl * NFL NETWORK:Rich Eisen talks with * BLOGS:J. Michael Moore's blog posts from Aug. 4, 2009 * PHOTOS:Images from Day No. 4 at camp (Flickr)