Skip to main content

Transcript: Coach Mike Smith post-practice interview


You had some veterans resting today, was the intensity the same as it was yesterday?

"I think that we were pretty intense this morning. I think the biggest thing that I wanted to see, and we wanted to see as a staff, was how they bounce back after yesterday afternoon's practice in pads and then turning around and coming back to morning practice in pads. That was kind of the emphasis for holding some of the older players out. We didn't want to get wear and tear on them. I thought it was a pretty good practice. I really did. I thought the intensity level was good and the heat was not as unbearable as it was yesterday."

Is LB Sean Weatherspoon on schedule from where you thought he would be, or would you say he is a little bit ahead?

"I don't think you can really make that evaluation until you play a game. Right now, even though we are simulating football he's got (Linebackers Coach) Glen Pires and (Defensive Coordinator) Brian VanGorder coaching the heck out of him. Sometimes they even stand right behind him helping him. Really the true evaluation will come when he gets out there on the field and plays in a game where there are no coaches. I think that is really going to be the tell-tail sign. I am pleased with what he has done up to this point."

What do you think of the potential this year for WR Michael Jenkins in the red zone and the reliability you are going to be able to give to the offense?

"Michael creates a lot of mismatches. It really becomes apparent in the red zone because you've got to throw the ball up high on the top shelf. Michael is going to have a height advantage anytime he's going up against corners in this League. There are not many 6'5 corners, so it will be a big advantage for us. We have to make sure that Michael and QB Matt [Ryan] continue to work on their timing because if people try to take away our other two guys then he is going to be the guy to get some one on ones."

What do you think of QB John Parker Wilson and the two-minute drill?

"He did a nice job. The two-minute drill is where we really want to get the younger guys because in the preseason at the end of the game, John Parker is going to be the quarterback that is running the two-minute offense. Most the receivers that played today will be playing at the end of the ballgame or at the end of the first half, especially early in the preseason. This will be the third time that we have done it live. Our first team has done it twice, so we really wanted to give the young guys an opportunity to see how they handle it."

How did the other corners look with CB Dunta [Robinson] still missing practice with his hamstring?

"I think that it has been good for CB Christopher Owens and I think it has been good for CB Dominique Franks. Those two young guys need to get all the reps they can get. CB Chevis Jackson is competing as well. We are hoping that we add another guy into the mix here next week with DB Brian Williams. On our injury report, DT Peria Jerry increased his work load as did WR Harry Douglas. Peria got involved in some pass rush drills and some team periods. He did get his first exposure. We are going to monitor him very closely as he increases his work load."

Does the team get into a trouble spot with Robinson being out?

"We really don't have any concern about the long term. It is really a matter of the tight hamstring. He is definitely not going to participate this week. We will get him back into practice but he probably won't participate in the first preseason game. We've got four of them. It is just a matter of when he feels healthy. He has been running on the side but we definitely don't want to stress that. We are going to manage it, but we don't anticipate any long term effects as long as we allow this to heal."

Is it tight to where if he exerts too much pressure it could turn into a pulled hamstring?

"Yeah. I think anytime you are dealing with soft tissue it could be a precursor when there is tightness in there. We want to make sure that he is ready to go. We will bring him along. Just like we have managed the three guys that are post-op. We will bring him back in very, very slowly and make sure he is ready to go. We know what Dunta Robinson can do. He is our starting corner. I don't know if he is our left corner or right corner, or match corner. He is our starting corner and we just need to make sure that he is ready to go. Same thing with RB Jerious Norwood. We know what Jerious is capable of doing and we want to manage those guys. What it does if you want to put it on the flip side, is it gives us a good evaluation of the guys that are really competing for the job opposite of Dunta".

How do you feel about rookie S Shann Schillinger?

"I think Shann has done a very good job. In our defense, the safety position is the position that takes the most communication. He's the one that sets a lot of our coverages and they're based on a game plan. He's done a very good job. The thing that I've been most impressed with Shann is his work on special teams. I think that as a third, fourth safety and fifth safety, when you're talking about that spot on your roster. The first thing that he's going to do for us is he's going to cover kicks. He's going to cover punts and he's going to play on special teams. That's really the area that we have been evaluating Shann most intensely because that's where he's probably going to end up playing."

Given how long DT Peria Jerry was out are the challenges of coming back more mental than physical?

"I think that any time you're coming back from an injury the first thing that you have to do is that you have to have confidence mentally that you can do it. The trainers have assured us and assured Peria that he's ready to go physically. There are certain parameters that they look at, in terms of strength and all that, and he's met those. He's come out and his attitude has been very, very positive. Yesterday was his first exposure, this was day two. We'll get him some work tomorrow. He will not participate in the scrimmage. He will get ramped up next week. If things continue to go the way they are going, we feel really comfortable about Peria's recovery."

Are you looking forward to the Friday Night Lights scrimmage where guys get to hit finally?

"I am looking forward to it because you get an opportunity to watch the guys really play. It's going to be the first time that we tackle, take guys to the ground, that's always a concern. I know that the first time that we go out and do it, I don't think we're going to be as effective as we need to be. We will have certain rules of engagement that we will have in place for this scrimmage. One being our quarterback will not be live. Number two is that there will be no cut tackling or cut blocks. When the DB's are tackling they are going to have to take guys up high. There will be no cut blocking or cut tackling. Then, of course, we are going to be very aware of our guys positioning that they are in. If they are not in the right position we are not going to take shots at them, and that's through all positions. We've done a pretty good job through the first week of training camp in keeping guys up off the ground. The great thing about it is the guys are going to be between the lines and they're playing the game of football. There's not any coach back there telling them to 'slide to the right, slide to the left, getting back or forth, you're supposed to motion all the way across, not just halfway across'. That's what we're going to get a chance to evaluate. We're going to really get a good evaluation of our draft picks to see what they're capable of doing."

What color will be the quarterbacks jerseys be?

"I think it's blue this year. I haven't seen the blue jerseys but I think they will be in blue."

Did Peria's injury have an effect on other positions in last season's defense?

"I think it definitely started something. When you start talking about pass defense everybody first looks at the secondary, ultimately where you have to cover the guys back there. When you don't have guys that are creating one on one situations and pushing the pocket up the middle, teams can scheme you at the defensive end position and that was something that I thought Abe (DE John Abraham) got a lot more attention than he had in year one. Simply because we were getting some push up the middle. To say that that was the principle of all of our issues, that's not what I'm saying, but it does cause a chain reaction. You've got to be able to pressure the quarterback, and not necessarily sack him. I think if you look at our sack numbers from last year we were in the middle of the pack. In terms of our third down efficiency and the yards that we gave up against the pass and the explosive plays, there were way too many. You have to put pressure on the quarterback and affect him. It can't be a skelly situation, where he's standing back there and can go into his second and his third read."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content