Transcript: Mike Smith Interview

On practice:

"This is a short week so we got an opportunity to go through the process we would do on a short week, in terms of our sequencing and practice.  I thought it went well, the guys went through it; it was warm today.  We got some reps with our younger guys that are going to be playing more of the snaps in the ball game this week."

On whether it's possible to go into regular season with two kickers and Matt Bryant's back:

"I think that Matt's back is going to be fine.  There is nothing that's not possible in the NFL.  I think Matt is going to be fine.  He progressed today in his kicking in the routine we have him going through and got good reports."

On how important this game is:

"It's very important.  There are a handful of guys that I think are competing for a smaller handful of spots.  It is going to be important to see how they finish up in this fourth preseason game.  They are going to get more playing time this game than they will have had in any of the other games.  It is going to be a great opportunity for them; it's going to be an opportunity for us as a staff to evaluate and make decisions."

On the final 22 cuts being the toughest he's had:

"They are going to be tough; there is no doubt about it.  On a personal level, very difficult, because these guys have worked their tails off for us since they've been here.  Again, just in the realm of the decision making process, there are some guys with some very good skill sets.  We have to figure out what is going to be the best combination with the 53 guys that we want to put on our roster. "

On being anxious to look ahead to New Orleans:

"Well, we've been preparing all through the offseason at different times.  Our guys have had some opportunity to see some tape and coaches have been working on it.  It is something, the first four games, we emphasis in the preseason because we're not going to have as much film.  We will look at last year's film.  We've been doing our due diligence all through training camp, not only with our first game but really with our first four."

On watching film and making corrections during preseason:

"Yes it is.  Probably more so, we have to have more meeting time because you've got guys who aren't as familiar with your system.  Usually, there are more corrections in the preseason then there are in the regular season.  It is just a function of having that many guys and not having as many guys that are familiar with your system.  We go through the same process.  We grade every snap of every practice; we give a written synopsis to each of our players.  They will not only hear it verbally, but they can read through the corrections that were made while the film was being played."

On being happy with the health of his team:

"Yes, obviously disappointed we lost Mike Johnson for the season and Tommy Gallarda.  Those two guys have played for us in the past and we were counting on them.  That is part of the offseason.  I think that we have come out pretty well.  I don't think that we are going to be looking at a whole bunch of guys not ready to go week 1.  I know that there are some teams across the League that are probably in a little different situation.  I think our athletic performance group and training staff has done a nice job.  I think the coaches have done a good job in monitoring the work load of our players.  I think that we have accomplished it; we just have to get through this game on Thursday night."

On anybody that succeeded his expectations:

"I think the young linebackers did a very nice job for us.  I think there are two young linebackers that are really fighting for a roster spot in Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu.  Both of those guys have done a nice job.  I thought that Bartu did a great job in the game last week for us.  He had extensive playing time at the dime position.  We wanted to get a good evaluation.  Paul early in the preseason was very active tackling, making plays.  Both guys are going to be guys who have a chance to make our roster and contribute on special teams."

On run defense:

"I didn't think it was as good as the week before.  I thought that we did some good things, on the defensive side of the ball. I thought that Corey Peters played well and so did Kroy Biermann.  I thought those two guys had the best game. If we were going to be giving out game balls, those are the two guys that would be in consideration.  We gave up a couple of runs, we gave up an explosive run of 19 yards and we had an 18 yard run, but those are all correctible things."

*On whether Worrilow being a good tackler translates to special teams: *

"Absolutely, Paul has a very good understanding of the game.  He played all three linebacker positions for us throughout training camp and practice.  He didn't necessary do it during the game, but he's a guy that handled all three of them.  He did it in OTA's.  He's got very good football intelligence, FBI.  He also has a knack for when you have to go over block and under block and that is really the essence of covering kicks in the NFL; you have to have a good feel for it.  I thought he did a nice job and I think that it's showed in his ability to cover punts early in the preseason."

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