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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


What are your thoughts on the weather this morning?

"The cloud cover is nice. We were able to get the temperature down a little bit, but the guys came out and worked very consistently and did what we needed to get done. We are trying to ease into this training camp, in terms of the intensity and the work load that we are giving the guys, and they worked hard today."

How are WR Roddy White and WR Michael Jenkins looking?

"I think that Roddy had an outstanding off-season for us through the OTAs' and off-season conditioning program. I think he is in the best shape he has been in since I've been here. He is in very very good shape and looks very explosive. Michael has had some very good catches."

Do you think it will be a spirited competition at the wide receiver position?

"Yes. We definitely know who our number one and two are. We're looking at WR Harry Douglas at our number three. We certainly hope he comes back at 100%. WR Brian Finneran, WR Eric Weems, and WR Kerry Meier make up the rest of a very solid group, and there will be a lot of competition right behind the top three spots."

Where was WR Brian Finneran?

"Brian did not practice today. He missed practice due to back spasms that he experienced after yesterday's afternoon practice. Matt Giordano also missed practice because of back spasms. We've had two guys miss time today because of back problems."

What about TE Colin Peek?

"Colin left the field yesterday with a knee injury, so he will be day to day. We will get a better evaluation as we go through the next couple of days to see what the timeline is for his return."

What are the specifics of WR Roddy White's training in the off-season?

"Roddy's commitment in the weight room, working with athletic performance department, [Director of Athletic Performance] Jeff Fish and his group, and spending time with QB Matt Ryan. Working on routes and paying close attention to his timing on routes. Roddy has been extremely committed this whole off-season. Last year was a little different in terms of training camp, he missed some time, but he hasn't missed a day since March which is a very positive thing for our team and especially the wide receiver group."

How has RB Michael Turner looked in training camp thus far?

"I think Michael is in very good shape. He is determined to bounce back from the season that was shortened last year because of injuries. He is a prideful guy and he is working extremely hard and you can see it. I thought he had some great catches yesterday in practice he has been working on his hands and his entire game."

If Turner can improve his hand work will that make him even more of a threat?

"I think Michael hasn't had the opportunity to show what he can do in that area, throughout his career. I am not sure how many career catches he has, but I am sure it is under 30. He does have good hands and we want to make sure we have a very good rotation with the running back position. More and more people are willing to run that position by committee, so to speak: you have a featured running back, a third down running back, and it would nice to have Michael in some of those third down situations where you are having the nickel package in play on the defensive side."

How have the guys looked in pass coverage, especially with CB Dunta Robinson being out there?

"Yesterday we got our hands on some balls. That was one of the emphasis points, and one of two things we need to improve on with our defense: is our third down efficiency. We've already introduced our offense and defense to third down. We had two third down scripted periods this morning, and the other thing is getting our hands on balls forcing ball disruptions and turnovers. Through the first three practices it has been very competitive between the wide receivers and the defensive backs. It'll be a few days before we actually go out and do some one on one, in terms of the offensive receivers going against the defensive guys. However, in these team situations it has been very competitive."

How did you like this weather?

"We caught a real big break with the overcast skies early this morning, but the last thirty to forty minutes of practice you started to feel the humidity. We are really emphasizing through the first three to four days of getting our feet underneath us, making sure we have the practice sequence that our guys will get some rest and get acclimated before we get into the toughest week of training camp, which is starting on Monday. We will go every day and have a padded practice, which is the toughest week of training camp."

Are you ramping the pace up?

"That is correct. We are trying to have the same pace as OTAs. We want to take care of one another, and if you are on the ground when we are in shorts then something went wrong. We want everyone to stay up. Some guys are in awkward positions and they don't want to finish the play. We want to make sure everyone is healthy for the game on September 12th, and that is our number one goal."

Can you comment on S William Moore's development?

"William is doing a nice job. He has improved on his communication and that is the thing that our safeties have to do. We do so many things with regards to our coverages. They have to be great communicators and get into the right coverages. Physically he made it through the OTAs, which was a positive, and I think he continues to develop as a DB. We are anxious to see how he will compete when we get the pads on him. I think he will look better with the skill set that he has once we get him in pads and out of shorts."

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