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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


Falcons head coach Mike Smith said ball security is going to be an important aspect of Sunday's game against Tampa Bay during Wednesday's conference call with the Atlanta media

On practicing outside in the rain:

"We felt like we need to work on the grass today just to stay off of the turf, that was the reasoning behind it. The weather report I got wasn't quite like it turned out to be, but we got our work in that's for sure. I thought the guys were focused. It was an opportunity for us to have to really focus today catching the football and throwing the football. I thought it ended up being a pretty good practice."

On whether the rain presented any issues in terms of slipping:

"No, actually the footing wasn't an issue at all. Wet balls were really the biggest thing we had to concern ourselves with today."

On what he makes of the 'Best Team in the NFC' situation:

"My thoughts are that you get what you earn in this league. We've won five games and lost two, they've won five games and lost two. Right now, it's a division game and division games have more weight than the non-division games. It ought to be a heck of a ballgame. The NFC South to me is one of the toughest divisions year in and year out. I know since I've been here they've all been competitive football games and I don't think this one's going to be any different."

On injury updates:

"We had two guys that did not participate today: FB Ovie Mughelli did not participate and LB Sean Weatherspoon. We got some guys back. CB Dunta Robinson was in limited participation, DE John Abraham had limited participation and LB Curtis Lofton. We're working towards getting as many guys healthy as we possibly can."

On whether he anticipates Weatherspoon and Mughelli being ready Sunday:

"It's going to be day-to-day with both of those guys. They ramped it up off to the side on the work with our Athletic Performance guys and hopefully they'll see the doctor after we have our meetings here tonight and we'll make a decision on whether they'll be able to ramp their practice time up tomorrow."

On WR Roddy White being named NFC Offensive Player of the Month:

"He's having an outstanding year. A lot of hard work has gone into the rewards that Roddy is receiving. It's quite an honor to be named the player of the month. He's worked extremely hard and the guys around him are a part of that as well. Anytime one guy gets an award it's really for everybody, especially on the offensive side."

On whether there was a discussion about WR Randy Moss after he was waived by the Vikings:

"We had a conversation about it. Of course, we are always going to do our due diligence. Of course, it's a waiver wire situation so I think it will kind of play its course out at four o'clock today on who claims him and who doesn't."

On whether this game has more excitement because the winner will be the NFC South leader:

"Yeah, it's an NFC South game and they are very competitive. This division historically has very tight games. I think it's two well matched teams. They are playing as good of football as anybody in the League right now. The thing that impresses me about Tampa the most is what they're doing in terms of capitalizing on their turnovers. They're turning the ball over, they have created 18 takeaways, they've only had 10 giveaways. They're plus-eight. They're second in the league and three of those takeaways have led to touchdowns. Ball security is going to be a big part of the ballgame this week. Anytime you're playing a division game all across the League they have a lot more significance because division games carry a lot more weight."

On the bye week and the timing of it:

"The bye week comes at a good time whenever it comes because you get an opportunity to evaluate in a situation where you don't have a game on Sunday. You're not having to expose your players to the physicality of a football game on Sunday. We took a couple of days off, coaches, players, staff, and we're really excited about the sequencing of getting back into the routine, of playing a game. You get into those routines, and we've been going long and hard since the end of July and now we're looking at that one week off. We get excited. The guys are going to have to make sure that we are ready to go on Sunday and not before then. It's important for us to be ready to go for this game on Sunday."

On what he did during the bye week:

"I didn't get outside of five miles of my house this weekend. Stayed home and enjoyed the family. Get as much rest as you can to get ready for the second half of the season."

On whether the winner of Sunday's game is the best team in the NFC in his opinion:

"The winner of this game on Sunday will be the better of the two teams on Sunday."

On what his reaction was when he first heard Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris call the Buccaneers 'the best team in the NFC':

"I really didn't have a reaction. In terms of our preparation, we're not going to change what we do, it doesn't matter if we're playing a 7-0 team, an 0-7 team, a 5-2 team or a 2-5 team. Our preparation is going to be the same each and every week. There's so many dynamics that change from week-to-week and game-to-game you just go out and prepare. It's a long season and everybody has the same goal and that's to be the best at the end of the season."

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