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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


Falcons head coach Mike Smith discussed how the weather has affected the team during his huddle with the Atlanta media Tuesday

On whether he had any issues with the weather:

"I've been here since Sunday morning so I haven't left the facility. I grew up in Florida so I'm not going to get out and drive in this ice. The guys have managed it. We've done a really good job in terms of carpooling. We've had a bunch of guys making sure that they're riding in together. We want to try to keep the week as normal as possible so we wanted these guys to go home if they wanted to. We've had a number of people in the organization stay here for the last couple of days."

On maintaining a normal week:

"It's the next game for us and that's how we've always tried to prepare and I don't think it's going to be any different this week. It's a big game for us. It's a big game for them. It's two good football teams that are going to be playing on Saturday night. I know that our guys have been very businesslike. We've had almost everybody here in the conditions that we've had. We had two guys yesterday that couldn't make it and one guy that was not able to make it today. That was simply because the law enforcement wouldn't let us go into their neighborhood and extract them. We had people that had vehicles that could get in there but we weren't able to get them out. "

On whether the weather was a factor:

"Yeah, it was in terms of practice yesterday but we overcame it. It was basically a walk through yesterday so it wasn't that big of a deal."

On how Tuesday's practice went:

"I thought practice went well today. Of course with the energy level this week it shouldn't be hard to get the guys ready to go. We've had some time off and had some rest. We started our gameplanning today. It was the first day that introduced the Packers like we would normally do on a Wednesday."

On what he takes from the first meeting between the two teams:

"I think the biggest thing that you can apply is that we're familiar with each other's personnel. The guys have lined up across from who they're going to be playing this Saturday so they know something about them. In terms of the gameplan, you've got to look at the whole body of work that Green Bay has put out there. Just like they have to look at the whole body of work that we've put out there and make sure that we put together a good gameplan. I think the biggest thing is that we're going to have some familiarity with the guy you're lining up and playing against."

On the importance of the players maintaining a normal schedule:

"That's been our message all week and all last week. It's really not about them, it's about us. We've got to play fundamentally sound football. I think in the playoffs that's the important thing. You've got to realign your fundamentals and go out and play. The team that makes the fewest mistakes is usually the team that's going to win the ballgame."

On TE Tony Gonzalez searching for his first playoff win and what he thinks Tony is feeling:

"I can't speak for Tony. I know that he's had a long, successful career and unfortunately this is one of the things that he hasn't accomplished. We certainly hope for him that we get it done this weekend. I don't think he's going to change his preparation at all in terms of what he's got to do. I think he's been preaching the right message to all of our players that are on our team, just like the other guys that have had experience. It's really not any different than any other week. We've just got to go out and prepare and make sure that we're prepared to do what we're capable of doing."

On what is different about the Packers since the first matchup:

"They ran the ball more effectively this weekend. The rookie RB James Starks had a big game. They actually had 32 rushing attempts to their 28 passing attempts. They committed to running the football. When they came in and played us they had 14 snaps in which they were in a five wide receiver set and didn't even have a running back in the game. There's a whole lot of stuff out there for us to evaluate as a coaching staff, just like they've got to be evaluating everything that we've done. We've got to make sure that we have a plan for all the different looks that they've shown. They're very multiple in what they do offensively, just like we are. It ought to be a fun week for the coaches and their preparation as well as for the players.

On the Packers defense:

"It's a very good defense, one of the top defenses in the League. In terms of multiplicity, they do a lot of things. They have a very good blitz package. I think they've got a guy that arguably could be the defensive MVP in LB Clay Matthews the outside linebacker. I thought that we had a very good gameplan last time we played them and I thought QB Matt Ryan operated very efficiently and I thought it had a lot to do with the way that we were able to protect the quarterback and protect Matt. We did a good job protecting the quarterback and running the football. I think if you can get all of that working in the right direction you're going to get an opportunity to have some success. If it's taking it and throwing it over their head, that's what we'll do. If it's trying to check it down or run the football we're going to basically approach it and take what they give us. They are going to really dictate how we're going to try to play this defense."

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