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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


Opening Statement:
"Before we get started, I just want to say that I received a letter from New York from the NFL office this morning. There has been a fine. I want everybody to know that I've moved on from it. I moved on from it back on Sunday night when that play was over. I'm ready to get prepared for the Carolina Panthers. I just want to reiterate that I'm going to make sure I always have my players' backs and I'm going to take care of them."

Q. What did you learn from the experience?
A. "Everyday is a learning experience. I think you're a lifelong learner. You have to handle situations differently when you learn from it."

Q. What are you learning about the Carolina Panthers?
A. "They are a very good running football team. They're running the ball extremely well. They have two outstanding running backs, and that offensive line that they have is a very good group. You can never discount Steve Smith, who is their wide receiver. He's been to some Pro Bowls and he's a highly competitive guy."

Q. In terms of the fine, do you think things were handled fairly?
A."I don't want to speak on it. Like I said, I've received a letter and I accept what the League office has said, and I've moved on."

Q. Coach John Fox said they've improved on not turning the ball over as much. Have you seen that?
A. "Most definitely. They are taking care of the football a lot better. They're not throwing as many interceptions as they were early on, they're running the ball very effectively, and they're controlling the clock. That's a formula that we believe in over here in Atlanta as well."

Q. Have they done something different to resist the passing attack?A. "I think that they're running the ball very effectively. They're the third ranked running team in the NFL. I don't think they've really changed anything in what they're trying to do in their passing game. It's just a matter of them running the ball more effectively."

Q. Steve Smith's numbers seem to be down quite a bit from years past.
A. "I think that's a big part of the equation. They have run the ball more in 2009 than they have in years past."

Q. I understand you're taking a bus up there.
A. "We will get there quicker by taking a bus. The drive from Flowery Branch down to the airport instead of having to unload, load the plane, go through TSA, fly over there, get off the bus, unload the plane, and get to the hotel, we actually will get there quicker by just leaving here from Flowery Branch. Our support staff has done it for years and we leave at the same time, but they always beat us to the hotel, and they always beat us back. We felt that in order to take the wear and tear off of our bodies; we should get there the quickest way possible."
Q. Do you remember the last time you took a bus to a football game?
A. "In Baltimore we bused to Philly, we've taken trains to New York, and I think it's something that when you're in close proximity in the League, that's really the mode of operation. You're on buses or a train if you're up there in the Northeast."

Q. Can you talk about Vance Walker's development?
A. "Vance has really developed throughout the entire time he's been here. I think he's gotten better. We made a decision, which was a very difficult decision when we went to our 53-man roster, that he was not going to be member of the 53-man roster, but he continued to work harder on the practice squad. When we had the injury to Peria (Jerry), it gave us an opportunity to bring him up. The last two games that he's had a chance to play, he's played well for us. We think he'll continue to advance. It's nice to see a young guy step in the role so quickly."

Q. Some fans have started collecting fine money on your behalf. How do you feel about that support?
A. "That's very nice to hear, but as I said before, I put this thing behind me. It's been the last thing on my mind since Sunday afternoon. My whole focus has been on getting prepared and getting this team ready to play against the Carolina Panthers."

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