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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


On the importance of a road test like Pittsburgh during the preseason:

"It will be big for us in terms of play time and play time for our starting unit. Most of the guys that are going to be on our 53-man roster will be extended this week, so it will be a good test. That's a very good football team. That team represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year so it will be a big challenge for us."

On what can be expected from the first-team on Saturday:

"We've been working off of plays in our first two ball games and we're going to make a decision on whether we want to go into the third quarter or not with that first group in the next couple of days. It's really going to depend on the health of some of our guys when we finalize that decision."

On the situation at right cornerback:

"Christopher Owens did not practice today. He had tightness in his hamstring so because of precautionary measures, we held him out of practice today. We did get Lawrence Sidbury back out; not fully participating but being able to work with our trainers on the side. If Christopher can't go then we'll have Dominique Franks play at corner and then in the sub-package, we'll get Darrin Walls in there to play the corner in the sub-package."

On the play of Darrin Walls:

"He has done a very nice job for us. He really first showed up on special teams and that's usually where rookies show up. In the first ball game, he had a couple of really nice plays covering punts and that caught our attention. He's continued to progress and earned the opportunity to get some playing time this week."

On the status of Ray Edwards:

"Right now, we're anticipating that Ray will be going this week. We're going to get our first snaps with him. In terms of number of snaps, we'll wait and see again if there are any setbacks from today's practice that could change it, but I doubt that. We look forward to seeing him out on the field."

On the offense facing Pittsburgh's defense:

"Whether they're lined up in 3-4 or 4-3, that is one of the premier defenses. They pride themselves on taking the ball away and they also have two outstanding pass rushers in their two outside linebackers. It's going to be a big challenge for us this week. Ball security is going to be very important and keeping our guy at quarterback on his feet. Those are the two things that we want to do. That's a physical football team, historically through the years and (Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin) has done a great job with that team, making that Pittsburgh Steeler aura still be there."

On what he'd like to see from the starters:

"We want to see some efficiency in all three phases, not necessarily just on the offensive side of the ball. We want to get out there and move the football and ultimately the way that you're judged is by the number of points that you put on the scoreboard. We'd really like to see a clean, efficient first half from that group."

On having all of the parts in place defensively for the first time:

"We continue to want to take the ball away. That's been something that we've been very effective at in the first two preseason games. Turnovers are important. The offense that we're facing this week, they're very physical. They like to run the football with (running back Rashard) Mendenhall. The thing that I'd like would like to see and that we would like to see is that we control the quarterback. That's a quarterback that can extend plays. He's a big strong guy that you have to get on the ground and that's going to be, when they throw the football, something that we're going to have to do because he can throw the ball 55 to 60 yards down the field. They've got some very good speed at the wide receiver position."

On Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer:

"I thought that he had a really good preseason for them last year and made their team. I know he was a late-round draft pick. He's a big, strong running back and he fits the mold of the running back that they like to have in their system."

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