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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


Head coach Mike Smith anticipates that linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will practice at some point during the week's preparations for the Rams

On whether everyone was back at practice following the long weekend:

"We had everybody here. I thought it was a good practice, we had to move it indoors but we came out and really just focused on working against ourselves. We did not start our gameplanning for St. Louis; we will start that with our players on Wednesday and get back into a normal routine of our sequencing of a week."

On what factors go into being one of the least penalized teams in the league:

"I think it's a point of emphasis for our players. It's something that each and every week we put up what penalties we had and what kind of effect they really had on the ballgame. Often times you think that a penalty is a five yard penalty and it only counts for five yards, but if it was a special teams penalty, for example, that five yard penalty could have negated a 30-yard return or it could have negated a 50-yard return. I think our guys know the importance of it and the thing that we have tried to emphasize with our guys is not only penalties but penalties in the fourth quarter because of the closeness of games you've got to be clean in the fourth quarter. It's just been an emphasis point that we put in place for our guys from the very beginning."


On the status of LB Sean Weatherspoon:**

"Sean did not participate today. We anticipate that he'll get an opportunity to practice before the end of the week and then we'll have to make a decision as we get closer to the weekend."

On whether he feels like the team has a target on their backs now:

"We try not to concern ourselves with what our record is and what the record of the team that we're playing is. We try to come in and I know sometimes it's harder from week to week to do it, but we try to come in and just focus on us and what we've got to do to get better. Regardless of the outcome of any game this year we've come in here as a coaching staff and as a team and realized there are lots of things that we've got to get corrected. We're going to continue that same mode of operation because we feel like it's all about us, not who we're playing."

On RB Jason Snelling's ability to help in the passing game:

"Jason Snelling is probably one of our more versatile players. I really believe that even though he lines up at the fullback and the tailback position and our third down back, I think he has such a good understanding of our offense that in a certain situation he can go in and play some of the other positions. That gives us a lot of value to have a guy that can do multiple things and he does catch the ball well. He has very good understanding of reading coverages, he knows where the soft spots are in the zone and when he gets man coverage he has enough wiggle where he can get away in man coverage."


On whether he watched the Rams-49ers game yesterday: **

"I did some television scouting yesterday. I sure did. The NFL Sunday Ticket is really good to have. I sat down there in the basement and had an opportunity to watch the entire game and I saw two pretty good football teams play yesterday. I was very impressed with the Rams."

On what DE John Abraham has done to get better production this season:

"John has really had a very good offseason. I know that John has mentioned his focus this year is a lot better than last year. I think the other thing that's helped us is we have some push up the middle, which we lost last year when we lost our defensive tackle (Peria Jerry) in the second game of the season. DE Kroy Biermann has become a more efficient pass rusher; he is getting attention so we're getting some one-on-one's with John. I think John is still one of the premiere pass rushers. I know he's probably in the top six or seven in sacks this year."

On four of the next five games being on the road and getting a chance to prove to be a better road team:

"It gives us the opportunity to do that. One thing I told the players today is we've kind of been through this situation. Our last two preseason games and our first eight games we played six out of eight on the road, so we've had a stretch in our season, even though, albeit, part of it was in the preseason, that we have gone on the road almost twice as much as we've been at home. Playing on the road is a big challenge, our guys understand that and this season so far we've had some success on the road, we'd like to have a little bit more though."


On the status of TE Justin Peelle:**

"Peelle had limited participation today, so he was able to participate in parts of the practice. We will see how he handled the work load from his limited participation and see if he makes it through the next couple of days."

On whether Peelle's recovery is a quick recovery from sports hernia surgery:

"Yeah, he's done a very good job with our Athletic Performance Department and he's on the quicker side of the window of return than the back end of it. Justin's done a very good job with the Athletic Performance Department as well as working in the weight room."

On his impressions of Rams QB Sam Bradford from watching the game on television yesterday:

"Bradford is very efficient. I think he's completing over 62 percent of his passes. They are four and one at home this season. I think he has a very good understanding of their offense. You can see he has a very good command of it even in two-minute situations. I think he's a guy that can operate their offense."

On whether they still use RB Stephen Jackson a lot:

"Yeah, Jackson had a big game I think he was over 120 plus yards in receiving and rushing. He's a big back that you've got to put your pads on. He also is a threat out of the backfield. That catch that he made on the back shoulder fade down on the defensive left side of the field was just an amazing catch there in the fourth quarter."


On whether he listens to what the media says about the Falcons when he watches other games:**

"No, I do not. I really don't watch the pregame shows. I watch the games when they are on and luckily I have the NFL Ticket. So in the one o'clock games I had an opportunity to flip around and drive my daughter and wife crazy as I was channel surfing."

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