Head coach Mike Smith
On the first three days of camp and heading into the first padded practice:
"Well, we've gone through our acclimation period these past three days. The one thing we did today was the actual shell of the practice even though we weren't in pads. It was the exact same practice that we'll go through tomorrow in pads so the guys have all gone through it in terms of sequencing. We'll have some nine-on-seven which is really the thing we add when we have a padded practice. So we did that today so they've had an opportunity to have a dry run. Tomorrow, as I said yesterday, we won't have a walk-thru in the morning; we'll only practice once tomorrow. The guys will get the opportunity to sleep in and we anticipate that it will be a good practice. Again, when you go into pads it doesn't change a whole lot in terms of what we're trying to get done. Our number one goal is to keep everybody healthy. We're not going to be on the ground, we're not going to be blocking below the waist, we're going to be taking care of one another and I think the guys have done a great job of that up to this point through the OTAs, through the mini-camp, and through these first three days."
On the lack of balls hitting the ground in the seven-on-seven drills this afternoon:
"That's a good sign. In seven-on-seven you want the ball to be completed. There's no pass rush and we're not breaking on the ball for pass breakups simply because we don't want to have any collisions. There have already been a couple of guys that have been injured in seven-on-seven, believe me. I've been watching what's been going on around the League and some guys have knocked some shoulders down. We're trying to do everything in our power to make sure that our guys stay up and we want to be healthy for that opener."
On when TE Tony Gonzalez is expected back:
"Tony is gone. Again, I don't want to get into details. His son is starting football this week. It's his first season of tackle football and he's going to be with him. Our plan is that Tony will be missing the first preseason game but he will play in the last two preseason games. That's an update and I don't want to be having a Tony Gonzalez update moving forward, but that's where we're at right now. We knew this ahead of time. Not to rehash it but Tony had made these commitments to his family prior to deciding to come back and play. When Tony can be here, he is going to be here and be a part of it and I think that was very evident by him being here for the first three days of practice."
On the pass rush:
"It's very hard to evaluate the inline play in shorts. When I say the inline play I'm talking about the offensive and defensive line. We'll get a lot better feel over the next four weeks. We've done some things in the offseason in terms of adding to our roster. It was obvious with the move in free agency that we made and then also drafting the two defensive ends. I'm very confident that Jonathan Massaquoi, who played for us last year, will be in a very competitive mode to compete with these two guys that we drafted. We also have to get some pass rush out of Kroy Biermann and we have to get some pass rush out of Corey Peters, who was on PUP for the first half of the season and that hurt our numbers."
On the biggest surprise in camp so far:
"How well the guys have retained what we gave them in the OTAs and the mini-camp, especially the young guys. We have accelerated our install through these first three days faster than we've ever done it since we've been here. That says a lot about the guys that we have on our team, both offensively and defensively."
On giving CB Desmond Trufant extra reps in practice today:
"We're cross training all of our defensive backs and we've been very transparent with these guys in terms of getting guys ready to play both inside and outside, so I don't know that it was extra reps. He's playing multiple positions. I think you'll see all of our rookie DBs will be doing that. We have to find a mix where we can figure out who is going to be our third corner. Our third corner plays about 65-percent of the snaps in our defense, so he's really considered a starter."
On how many padded practices there are in training camp:
"Right now, scheduled, there are seven. We have two more that are scheduled to be in shells, but they could go either way based on where we are in terms of health. Right now there are seven padded practices. The max allowed is based on how many days you can practice in pads. You can practice once a day in pads once you get passed your three day acclimation period. The other thing that you have to concern yourself with is that in every seven day period they have to have a day off. That doesn't necessarily wipe out the walk-thru, what I'm saying is that if you wanted to then you could practice every day in pads, one time a day. We're not going to do that. We've never done that. We've tried to be somewhere around, in years past, eight, nine, ten padded practices in training camp prior to us breaking camp and getting into our weekly routine, in which we have one padded practice a week. Last year, we had seven padded practices in the first half of the season, and then after that we basically did not have a full padded practice. We would come out and do some periods in pads a couple of other times and then take the pads off, which you've seen us do a number of times since we've been here. Our number one goal is to be as healthy as we can be in the opener, and I think our guys have done a great job."
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora
On practicing with pads:
"We look forward to it. I think anytime you get a chance to put full pads on and get the chance to play real football. It's good to get the fundamentals down and get your feet working and hand placement right, but tomorrow is when we actually start preparing for the season."
On being nervous about joining the falcons:
"No, not at all. I think they know me. They know what I can do. I'm just anxious to come out here and get better and work on my craft and hopefully do some things to help this team win."
On being comfortable in the spotlight:
"It's something i'm used to. I don't think it's any different. We have some very good players on the line, good players on secondary, good players at linebacker. All of us have to move as one cohesive unit. I'm comfortable with whatever is thrown my way."
On being confident the past rush can improve from last year:
"I don't see why not. Obviously, losing Abraham is going to be something difficult to replace, but at the same time everybody's going to have to step up. I'm going to have to step my game up, Babineaux, Peters, all those guys inside. All those guys are very good football players. They're going to come out here and do their part; secondary has to do its part, linebackers, everybody has to play as one. I think we'll be alright."
On learning the playbook:
"This is a new team for me, so it is a whole new playbook. I'm getting used to it. They are doing a very good job of explaining things to me. I think I'm coming along pretty well."
On doing stand-up:
"Never really done that before, but in a situation like this where it's something that I might have to do, I just have to work. I don't know if I'm going to do it during an actual game or not, but it's cool to come out here, get a feel for it and see if I can do it."
On the environment compared to New York:
"Camp is Camp. Camp is camp everywhere. It's something we all have to get used to and get ourselves back acclimated to. It's really no difference as far as what goes on. The days are the same. Because of the new CBA, everybody has to pretty much do the same thing. It's no different."
On the difference between this camp and the ones in the past:
"Like I said before, camp is camp. All camps pretty much everywhere are the same. It's just something everybody has to get used to."
On dealing with contracts and other issues off the field:
"Honestly, I'm just happy to be here. Not to say I wasn't happy to be at my former team, but I am just happy to be here. This is a very good football team and I'm anxious to get the season started."
On everyone being able to retain information quickly:
"Yes, definitely, the coaches did a great job of explaining things to us in OTA's and we just came back and we've been able to execute. People are playing very well, people have retained their information, and we are just out here playing very, very well."
On grasping the defensive playbook:
"So far so good, it's still going to take some time to get through some intricacies of the defense, but for the most part I have a pretty good grasp of it."
On knowing everyone is on the same page and moving at a faster pace:
"It's very important as far as football is concerned. The difference between winning and losing is so small in this League. If you have everybody on the same page, then you have an ability to really overcome a lot of things that most teams won't be able to."