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Transcript: Mike Smith post-practice interview


Falcons head coach discussed some injury issues the team is facing this week during his post-practice interview with the Atlanta media Wednesday

On the injury report:

"We had four guys that didn't participate today, DE John Abraham, RB Antone Smith, WR Roddy White, and S Shann Schillinger. We had three guys limited, LB Curtis Lofton, DT Corey Peters and WR Eric Weems."

On Schillinger's injury:

"Shann was a head injury and right now he is the concussion protocol. He got the injury there in the ballgame and that's why he didn't finish."

On how Wednesday's practice went:

"I thought that it was a very good practice, nice to have a couple days off. I thought the guys worked hard. We had 45 guys come in on Monday and worked out on their own, which is a positive to come in here and watch the tape on a victory Monday. They came in here getting ready because it's a really good team, especially the way that they're playing defense right now. They've only given 11.8 points per game on the road, so that's impressive, and they've given up 14 points a game overall. That is a very good defense that we're getting ready to play."

On what makes the Packers' defense so good:

"I think they're well coached, defensive coordinator Dom Capers does a super job in preparing his guys on the defensive side. The outside linebacker, defensive end in their sub-package, LB Clay Matthews is rushing the passer extremely well, and they have the defensive MVP from last year at the corner position and playing their nickel back in CB Charles Woodson. He's probably playing better this year, than he did last year. Offensively, QB Aaron Rodgers the last two weeks has thrown the ball unbelievable. He's got a 138.8 quarterback rating and he's able to distribute the ball to their wide receivers, and they're very deep at the wide receiver position."

On Packers LB Frank Zombo:

"He's a college free agent that's had an opportunity to come in and play. He's made a number of big plays in the games in the last three weeks you really see him coming into his own. He's a big, strong outside linebacker that can also rush in their sub-package."

On whether Roddy being held out of practice was for maintenance purposes:

"It is. We did it last week and we're going to probably continue to rest some of these guys as we go through the rest of the season. Some of the older guys will start to try to take some snaps off of them as well as we wind into the last quarter of the season."

On whether Abraham being held out was for the same reason:

"It's the same thing. We wanted to rest him today. He worked on the side and had a good workout with the people in our Athletic Performance and he'll be out here tomorrow with his normal reps on Thursday."

On how both teams had to move on after parting ways with their former quarterbacks:

"It was real simple for me anyways; in terms of we weren't going to talk about the past. We were aware of it and we were starting with a clean slate with everybody. I'm sure it was a little bit different because Aaron had been an understudy for the quarterback that was there before for a couple of years."

On how the Packers responded and played well when Rodgers became the starter:

"I think it speaks volumes of the talent of Aaron Rodgers to be able to lose a quarterback of that stature. For him to come in and basically they haven't skipped a beat in terms of what they're doing offensively. I think it says a lot for what they do with their scheme. Head coach Mike McCarthy and his offensive staff do a great job of putting the guys in position to make plays."

On DT Jonathan Babineaux:

"I think Jonathan's been very underrated. He's having a very good year for us. We've tried this season to reduce his snaps, last year we felt we played him too many snaps. I think that it's helped him and I think that it's going to help us down the stretch. Jonathan is such an explosive defensive tackle that can create negative yardage plays. I know last year he led the league in negative yardage plays for tackles in the backfield. I'm not sure where he stands now for this season. He is a guy that is more of a disruptive player than an anchor-point player."

On what he sees on film with QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offensive line:

"I think that especially over the last four weeks that he's been very efficient when teams have presented blitzes to him. I would imagine his quarterback rating is off the charts in terms of versus the pressure package. He does a very good job of getting the ball out of his hands and he hasn't been hit as much. The other thing that he does so well is he has rushed for 194 yards, for a quarterback that's your prototypical drop-back quarterback, to have 194 yards rushing and averaging over five yards per carry. He's able to take the ball down and run with it. He makes very quick decisions in terms of when he's going to run with it. He's been very effective running the football."


On whether WR Harry Douglas is done returning kicks and punts:**

"I don't think that Harry's done with punt returning. Right now WR Eric (Weems) has been doing it for us this season and he's done a nice job. He had a really nice kickoff return in the ballgame last week that set up a touchdown, a 55-yarder. Their return units are probably the strongest part of their special teams. WR Jordy Nelson, the big wide receiver returns kickoffs and then CB Tramon Williams returns punts. Tramon Williams is an extremely fast corner that can run with the ball in his hands. I think they do some things scheme wise on their kickoff coverage that is going to always create problems because they don't just line up five guys on each side of the ball. They've got a different scheme with a twist and such that we're going to have to make sure that we identify who we're blocking so we can get a hat on a hat."

On Packers CB Sam Shields:

"He's very fast. A very fast player. Their team speed is probably as good as any in the League. They have some really good speed and it shows with their wide receivers and it shows on their special teams. Some of the guys that they have that are specifically special teams players have very good speed. When you watch it it's pretty evident as they cover kicks and punts on special teams."

On the safety position being a position to make big plays:

"Our safeties have a big role in what we do because we put a lot on them in terms of getting us into the right coverages based on the formations. Sometimes when we make the checks that we need to based on the formations, we're putting ourselves in what we think is going to give us the best opportunity to make a play. S William Moore has some very great God given ability and some of those plays may not just be on scheme, they may be on his ability as a football player. He's done some really special things since he's been the starting safety for us."




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