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Transcript: Falcons vs. Jaguars

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening statement:
"Everybody is ready for the regular season to start. As we go through the preseason, as a coaching staff you want to evaluate a lot of your young players. I felt we were able to accomplish that this preseason. We have some very tough decisions to make over the next day or two, in terms of the 53 men we are going to keep on our roster. It is never an easy thing to do. These guys have worked extremely hard for us in their quest to be a member of an NFL team. We will trim our roster down over the next 48 hours and then we will switch our focus over very quickly to our opener in New Orleans, a week from Sunday."

On the decision to rest so many of the starters:
"We wanted to rest as many as we felt we needed to. We had some guys we specifically wanted to get work; I believe there were 20 of the starters that did not participate in the ball game. We have done it differently over the last four years. If you do your research you can see sometimes, it's one series, 2010 we did not play any of our starters in the 4th preseason game. That is just a decision you have to go with your head and mindset. Our mindset this year more than anything is to try and get to game number one as healthy as possible. I think we have done a pretty good job at doing that."

On the biggest concern of the game:
"The biggest concern is the number of penalties. Tonight, we had nine penalties and some of them don't show up. We had a five-yard penalty for example on a punt where we had an illegal man down field, the ball was kicked down in the two yard line, after the re-kick the ball was down on the 37-yard line, it was a bout a 35 plus yard change in field position. That doesn't show up on your stat sheet, but that is a big difference in the ball game. We had nine penalties; we had personal fouls, one in the kicking game, and one on third down. I don't think we have been as efficient as we need to as a team on third down. Again, tonight we were only 24% in our third down efficiency. Those are probably the three things. Again, that is the entire team, not just the ones or twos or threes. We've got to look at who is taking the snaps and when they are taking the snaps as well.

On RB Josh Vaughan:
"Josh Vaughan had a great run. I thought he blocked extremely well and thought he showed some speed there to run away from their defense. Josh is a very hard worker for us. It was great to see him have that individual success tonight."

On how penalties will affect how they will evaluate the cuts:
"The evaluation process will not just be based on one game. It is going to be determined by the whole body of work. That body of work started back in April. The penalties are not going to be the deciding factor, they will be a factor. It is a long process, these guys started back in April. For the rookies, they started as soon as their season ended last year. They have not had any rest up until this point."

On DE Jonathan Massaquoi:
"When you score a touchdown on defense that is a big play. That was a very nice play. It was good to see Jonathan get some significant playing time. He was one of the young guys we wanted to see play a significant number of snaps. He did that tonight and he was productive in his opportunities. I really thought that our defense did a nice job tonight. Their third down efficiency was pretty good. They were six for 18 on third down, which was good."

On LB Brian Banks:
"Brian is a guy that has not played football in 10 years. He has really matured and progressed as a football player since we've had him on our roster. He has been a great teammate to the guys in the locker room."

On how the cutting process will go:
"When you get down to 53 that are in different maturation points in the process they go through individually. There are going to be some guys that we will be counting on day one that are young guys. We are going to have some guys that we are going to have to develop, and maybe won't play as many snaps, but be able to contribute on special teams, and will continue to get an understanding of what we are trying to do offensively and defensively. It really depends on the player. The draft picks we picked, we have been really impressed with this group. They have worked really hard and there are going to be guys who will help us win games this year."

On CB Robert Alford:
"It was nice to see Robert come back. Playing cornerback in the National Football League, you have to have a short memory, not only from play to play but definitely from week to week. I think one of the earlier attempts they had; Robert made a great play on the ball. He has a great skill set and I really believe he will be a great football player for us. He will help us win games this year. It was great to see Desmond have a pick as well. Both of those guys were very active."

On how much weight you put on the preseason:
"Every time you go out on the field, as a competitor you want to win. No doubt about that. Everybody in the organization that is what we want to do. Our number one goal in the preseason, behind winning, is to evaluate these guys, put them in situations that we need to find out about these guys.

Cornerback Robert Alford
On him and Desmond Trufant getting interceptions:
"It was real good. We were both picked in the draft, and for us to come out and compete and get an interception, it was truly a blessing.

On whether or not he's ready for the season:
"Yes sir. We believe in the coaches, and the things that they show us, the fundamentals. We've been working every day to get better and better."

Linebacker Brian Banks
On the highs and lows of the past couple of months:
"Everything has been highs, for the most part. I haven't really had too many lows. Just focused out here, been fully consumed in trying to make this team, trying to catch up to all of the years that I've missed out of football. My learning curve is definitely different from a lot of the guys here. Whereas, I was learning a lot of the one-on-one, basic things of football, as well as the intermediate things of football and meshing them all together at once in a small period of time. It was definitely challenging, but I've enjoyed myself the whole time."

Cornerback Desmond Trufant
On him and Robert Alford getting an interception this game:
"It was cool. Hopefully the first of many, but we have to keep working. You can never be satisfied on anything. So, I'm just ready to watch the film and get better on that."

On whether or not he's ready for the season opener:
"Yes, definitely. I've been trying to get better every day. That's been my motto: to always progress. Don't ever get comfortable. Don't ever think you got the 'hay in the barn,' as they say."

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