Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

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**On the new rule in the CBA regarding having a mic on the center:

**"The rule is a little bit different this year than in years past. You had certain games that you had to allow players to be mic'd. This year, through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the way I understand it is that they can mic an offensive lineman. It started out being the center and then it moved to you had an option if you didn't want to put it on the center, you could put it on your two guards. We've done it both through the first six games but it is something that is in place to enhance the broadcast of the ball game, from what I understand. That's the reason behind it, to get some sound up close and inside the 53 and one-third yards."

**On whether he feels as if their operation could be compromised due to the mic:

**"It's always a concern. That's one of many concerns in terms of preparation each and every week. You're getting a lot more of the calls being made by the offensive players and the defensive players. You can actually hear defensive players calling out their signals as well. It's something that I think is here to stay for a long time because it seems to enhance the broadcast of the ball game."

**On whether he takes anything from the commentary of Brian Billick when he is broadcasting Falcon games:

**"I've never listened to a TV copy of a game since I've been here. I don't like to watch those TV copies. I would prefer to watch the 22-man, the coaches' tape. It's no different than any other week in terms of our preparation and in terms of interacting with the people."

**On approaching Lions WR Calvin Johnson similarly to Carolina WR Steve Smith:

**"You certainly have to respect what Calvin Johnson can do. You've got to always be concerned about where he lines up. They move him around. You always are concerned about the matchups so you have to have a plan to try to alleviate his effectiveness. The issue that you have with the Lions is that they also have a very good tight end that has two or three less catches than Calvin has so it creates a quandary for the defensive staff in terms of how they're going to try to defend the passing game because they have two guys that have almost 70 catches between them."

**On how you approach the Detroit front four:

**"Their front four is one of the best in the league, if not the best; not only their starting four defensive lineman but their backups. I think that they have done a really good job with the rotation and I don't see a whole lot of drop-off between their backups and their starters. (Ndamukong) Suh is a very explosive player that can play both the run and the pass. He's penetrating. He can knock the line of scrimmage back and he's fast enough to run around a block and make a play. He's definitely a game-wrecker. You don't want to let him get going. (Kyle) Vanden Bosch, the defensive end, is one of the hardest playing guys in the League. You're going to get a full-day's work from that guy every time he goes out and plays. I really enjoy watching him play on tape because he has one of the best motors in the League."

**On the potential for TE Tony Gonzalez to end up second on the all-time receptions list with four catches Sunday:

**"You know what we think about Tony Gonzalez and what he's added to our team since he's been here, without a doubt. With no disrespect to any of the other tight ends including Ozzie Newsome who I know very well, I think he's probably the best tight end to ever play the game and his work ethic is just unbelievable. It would be quite an individual honor for Tony to become the second-leading guy. I don't believe he's going to have a chance to catch number one (Jerry Rice with 1,549 catches), but that's quite a feat, especially for a tight end."

**On kickers Jason Hanson and Matt Bryant and their experience in the league:

**"Jason, he's a guy that just keeps whipping Father Time. He's a 40-year-old kicker that still is a touchback kicker. He's only missed one field goal attempt this year and I think he's 100 percent on extra points. He has a leg that he can kick the field goals 50-plus yards. He and Matt have had very good careers and they are some of the more experienced kickers in the NFL, to be politically correct."

**On the progress of the Falcons' defensive line:

**"I think the play of our defensive line has been mirrored to what we have done as a team. We've been inconsistent through the first six games, but it is good to see Ray (Edwards) having a better comfort level in terms of what we're doing in our scheme. He's really making plays. The guy plays extremely hard and his production has increased the last couple of weeks. It is good to have Jonathan Babineaux out there. Jonathan is still battling a knee and an ankle injury that kept him out for those three games. We need to get him back healthy and I think if we can get through this week and get him through the bye week, we're going to see even more production coming out of Jonathan."

**On the injury report:

**"We had a number of guys, and as I said at the press conference on Monday, we're going to start getting into a maintenance routine with certain guys. John Abraham was out of practice today. Todd McClure was out of practice today. Julio Jones was still working with the guys on the side. Chris Owens has not been cleared to come back from his concussion. Garrett Reynolds and Sam Baker, Garrett will be listed with his ankle from last week. This is really more of a precautionary day off, and Sam Baker missed because of a lower back. We got James Sanders back which we were anticipating happening."

**On the thought of resting Julio Jones through the bye week:

**"Julio is the kind of guy that is going to push the envelope. He wants to get back in and play and we're going to have to make sure that the people in the athletic performance and the doctors make that final decision. Julio has been working extremely hard since his injury and we'll just have to see how the rest of the week goes in terms of his availability for the game."

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