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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


What have been the final preparations before the first preseason game?

"Well we haven't spent a whole lot of time in terms of preparing a game plan for Kansas City. We're going to go out there and do the things we feel that we need to do. We did expose them to a little bit of the 3-4 defense, because of the blocking scheme. Until we get to game three we aren't going to do a whole lot of game planning. I am really pleased with how hard all the guys are working."

Are you going to be doing some game evaluations to see where some of the players are at?

"Very much so. The first two games we are going to try and evaluate these young players as much as we can. We're going to try and go out there to win the football game; there is no doubt about that. Our front line guys are going to take very limited number of snaps and we are going to try and evaluate these young guys, especially the draft picks. We want to see where they fit in on this 53- man roster."

Football is football, so guys get hurt. How do you want the front line guys to play so they can stay healthy?

"It is very important that we get to the opener as healthy as possible. It is kind of contradiction to say we want to go out there and play as hard as we possibly can, and stay healthy. Injuries are part of the game. One thing that we tell our guys all the time is that if you go out and you play hard more times than not you are not going to get hurt. It is when you are not trying to play hard that you usually get the injuries."

How is WR Harry Douglas coming along?

"Harry is coming along very well. I think he is on track to possibly play next week. That is the plan if nothing changes. He will get some limited snaps in the ballgame next week. He has definitely been ruled out for this week's game."

CB Dunta Robinson is listed on the depth chart is he going to play?

"That is correct. Dunta has not practiced and he will not participate. Not to go in depth with each guy, but there is going to be somewhere between nine and 11 guys that will probably not participate in the game on Friday night."

When you are not scheming before a preseason game, what are some things that you are looking to do in a preseason game?

"We like to see some physicality. It really is going to be the second time we are able to evaluate our defensive players in tackling. I think that is going to be important. Then we also look at the procedural parts of the ballgame. We look at substitution patterns, which are a little more difficult when you have 80 guys on your roster. We want to make sure we are doing things right as a staff in terms of communication through the coach to quarterback, or coach to single caller on defense. Those are things we are looking for. For the young guys it will be their first opportunity to go and play the game of football. Everything that is going to take place in September is going to take place on Friday night."

In terms of situational, what are some of the situational things you want to focus on in the first game?

"You certainly hope you get the opportunity to run the two-minute offense. Especially with your backup quarterbacks. What happens is, during the season your backup quarterbacks don't see a whole lot of reps in practice. You would like to expose your backup quarterbacks to different key situations. You certainly hope that arises in the preseason. The other thing you don't get a whole lot of work on, and we haven't done to this point, is you hope you get a whole lot of goal line situations. You would like to get some goal line work in. Those are some of the things I hope we get the chance to do this week."

In terms of defense, would you like to see some short yardage situations?

"You would. That is an area that we did not excel in last year. In year one, we were number one in the League on third down and one. That is a situation where it occurs about two times a game in a regular season. We have worked it but we have not worked it in a live situation. You hope that all those situations you don't get a whole lot of opportunities in the preseason."

Is LB Sean Weatherspoon starting?

"Sean is starting at Will linebacker for us on Friday night. Curtis will be our Mike linebacker. Stephen Nicholas will be our Sam linebacker."

What benefits did you get from the referees being here a few days ago?

"Most of the rule changes that the NFL has put in place this year have been on the side of safety issues. We really wanted to make sure our guys understood how they expanded the definition of a defenseless player. We wanted our guys to be aware of that. There are seven instances where you can be a defenseless player. Before it was just the quarterback or the receiver. The other thing is the positioning of the umpire behind the line of scrimmage. There are some mechanical things we wanted to get clear on how they are going to spot the ball, but we got that answered. The final thing is how they are going to see the offensive line and the defensive line from that position. "

They said that there will be more offensive holding calls. Have you talked about that?

"I think it will become apparent early on in terms of what they are seeing and not seeing. In the preseason you will get the opportunity to get a feel for it. It is going to be a different view point for the umpire. The umpire will be in a more relaxed situation where he is not dodging receivers and linebackers."

For your veteran guys, how is camp helpful for the veteran players?

"We try and give our veteran guys some time off because they have earned it here in the League. I think we have a clear plan on how we do that. We also want to change up the practice schedule. We put one thing and then we will change it up just to keep them on their toes. I think when you do that it keeps them focused. We try and change it up and work with the guys. We understand that guys need rest, and when they need it we try and give it to them."

How did the combined practices with Jacksonville help?

"I think it helped a bunch. It was a good change up for us to work against other people. It was a great evaluation process not only for the young guys, but for the veteran guys. Even though they had limited snaps I thought it was very positive. There was a lot of tape to watch but I think that it was very, very good for our program."

Talk about S Shann Schillinger and the game time he will get.

"Shann is going to get a lot of time in the game on Friday night. We know what he is going to be able to do. He has really contributed to special teams. It will be good to see him out there. He is going to get extended play time on Friday."

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