Falcons head coach Mike Smith talked about the importance of keeping an eye on wide receivers Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams on Sunday during his huddle with the Atlanta media Thursday
On how Thursday's practice went:
"It was good. It was nice to get back outside today, yesterday of course we went inside because of the wind and the weather. I thought our guys worked pretty hard today."
On what some of the keys for the pass defense are:
"I think QB Josh Freeman has been very efficient this season. I think he has 15 touchdowns and only five interceptions, so that's a pretty darn good ratio for a second year player having a three to one touchdown to interception ratio. I think the key for us is we've got to be able to do is contain the quarterback. He can hurt you with his feet. He's rushed for almost 250 yards this season. It's going to be crucial that we keep him in the pocket and when he steps up we fill the rush lanes. The second thing is he's got two big receivers out on the outside in WR Mike Williams and WR Arrelious Benn. Then we always have to concern ourselves with defending TE Kellen Winslow when he lines up inside and they're going to move him around. He'll get some matchups where he'll line up on the outside sometimes. Those are probably the two biggest keys. The third one would be to stop the run and make it more of a one dimensional game where we don't have to defend both the run and the pass."
On how the rookie wide receivers Benn and Williams are progressing:
"I think they're two very good young players. I think that their football team is stocked with some really good young players. I think they're the youngest team in the League and they're playing at a very mature level. They've got more games under their belt than when we played them last time about a month ago so we anticipate that they will be even more efficient this time. I think it's a group that's starting to run the ball a lot with RB LeGarrette Blount. We can't let him get going because he's a big back that we have to tackle."
On whether FB Ovie Mughelli is capable of playing tailback:
"Yeah I think all of our running backs are cross trained to play all positions; of course we don't anticipate that ever having to happen but all of our guys are prepared to play all the positions, they're interchangeable."
On RB Jason Snelling's injury update:
"Jason Snelling didn't practice. We're hoping that he will get out here tomorrow and get some work with us. That's the plan right now, is for him to get some limited snaps tomorrow as we get ready for the weekend."
On what the importance of the month of December is to coaches:
"I think at the end of the season that's really when the playoff picture becomes a little bit more clear. It's really what you do at this time that makes a difference. I've said many times the difference between team one and team 32 in the League comes down to just a couple of inches when you really start to analyze it. Now is the time where the guys that are going to have opportunities to play on are going to their opportunities to put themselves in the race. That's really why I think the coaches and players understand the importance of the outcome of the games in December."