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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


*Falcons head coach Mike Smith is impressed with the way the Rams defensive ends have caused problems in the offensive backfield this year *

On having a longer week of preparation due to the Thursday night game:

"It gives us an opportunity to rest up from the short week. It gives us an opportunity as a coaching staff to do some more evaluating on what we need to get better at. The guys needed the rest so they took their time off. We came in here and had a good practice on Monday, took yesterday off and now we're back into the swing of things with our normal sequencing."

On how important the next five games are (four of them on the road):

"It's going to be very important for us and it starts this week with St. Louis. We do have a little bit of experience with it because of the way our season started off being on the road. I think our guys understand what we've got to do when traveling on the road. The biggest concern that we have is making sure that our guys are hydrated. When you get on an airplane and travel and fly you're going to get dehydrated. Get as much rest as we can."

On the Rams' defensive ends:

"They do a very good job. They lead the League in sacks. They've got 28 as a team. DE (James) Hall has seven and a half and DE (Chris) Long has five and a half, they are definitely probably the best tandem of defensive ends that we're going to have faced this season. They do a very good job of pressuring the quarterback. They have a very good blitz package that involves not just linebackers and the defensive line, they'll blitz from the secondary as well. It's going to be a challenge for our offense on third down; they do a very good job with their blitz package."

On the Rams playing well at home:

"They have a home field advantage very similar to the advantage that we've had since we've been here in Atlanta. Not only have they won four in a row and they are four and one, they've created 15 turnovers this season and 13 of the 15 turnovers have taken place in their dome. So they've been very opportunistic when they're at home with their takeaways. Ball security is going to be a big part of what we must do to have success this week."

On the status of LB Sean Weatherspoon:

"Spoon worked on the side again today. We do anticipate that he will be able to participate in practice tomorrow. So we will get an opportunity to see him with the rest of the guys. He's been working with our Athletic Performance Department since the injury so this will be the first time where we'll get a chance to compare him with the other guys."

On whether there will be less pass attempts this week:

"It's going to really depend on how they try to defend us. Again, at the core of what we do, we want to run the football but if someone's going to take away the run or we feel like we have an advantage throwing the football, we're going to do whatever it takes to win."

On how he thinks TE Tony Gonzalez is savoring the successful start to the season:

"I think Tony has enjoyed his time here. He's been a great addition to our team and he's a guy that has taught a lot to a lot of guys, not just receivers and tight ends and the offensive guys. I know that Tony's a very competitive guy and we're all trying to go out and be the best we can be each and every Sunday. What we try to talk to our guys about is if we go out and do that we'll see where we're at. Right now we've earned everything that we've gotten. We've been very fortunate to win some of the ballgames, but it's not all about stats it's really about wins and losses and we've been very fortunate."

On whether Tony never winning in the playoffs adds anything:

"I know that Tony is a competitor and anytime you go out and play you want to win whether it's a preseason, a regular season game, or a postseason game. I know that Tony is a guy that is probably one of the most competitive guys, even though he comes across as a nice guy, he's one of the most competitive guys when it doesn't go his way."

On the injury report:

"DE John Abraham did not practice today, so he'll be on the injury report. Then we had LB Curtis Lofton who has his normal Wednesday limited participation and we also had TE Justin Peelle it was his first day back so he was limited. He didn't get the number of snaps that he would normally get. That's Curtis' normal Wednesday, he's been limited basically all season long."

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