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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


On today's practice:

"This was our first Friday practice, even though it was a Thursday. We finished up our preparation. Again, this is more for the logistics of putting our guys through the paces than the game planning. We've done some game planning this week, but not nearly as much as we would do as we would be preparing for the regular season. I thought the guys have handled the week so far very well and now we just have to finish it off, go on the road which I think is going to be big. It's back-to-back road weeks for us and early in the season, three of our first four are on the road so it can be something that we can learn from and set a routine."

On having to make cuts by August 30th:

"This year, with the 90-man roster, we made a couple of moves prior to having to get down. It's always difficult because everybody that has been on our team right now has been working extremely hard. It's tough decisions that we have to make and we've got to pair this roster down to 80 and then down to 53 so there are going to be some tough decisions. This is an important game for a lot of guys and they may not get as many snaps as they have gotten in the previous preseason games simply because in the third preseason game, we usually play our first team a little bit longer."

On explosive plays in the running game:

"Our main goal is that we want to be able to score more points than our opponent and we know the importance of explosive plays. Explosive plays happen in all three phases of the game. I think we've gotten sidetracked in terms of thinking that it may be in one phase and not the other two. You can have explosive plays on special teams by winning the field position battles and by running punts and covering punts and putting people in a long field. You can also have explosive plays on defense which are ball disruptions, the turnovers, the sacks that put us into third-and-long situations. You can also have explosive plays on offense, by running the ball and throwing the ball. At the core of what we believe, we are a team that is going to be a very physical team and we want to impose our will on our opponent. We're going to impose it any way we can and which way we do it is going to be dependent on how people try to defend us."

On injured players and their status for the game:

"Corey Peters and Lawrence Sidbury will definitely be out. We're going to have some game-time decisions in terms of Akeem Dent, who has been able to practice the last couple of days. We need to see if he's going to be available. Christopher Owens will be a game-time decision as well. Dunta Robinson will definitely not play. Robert James will play. He's been cleared to go. We're going to have some guys that have some bumps and bruises but at this time of the year, everyone does. Our goal is to see some better play from all three units and we want to be as efficient as we possibly can and move the football on offense, play penalty-free football on defense and make sure that we keep the ball in front of us because it's going to be a challenge with that quarterback when the play breaks down. That's one of the strengths he has and he can throw the ball down the field."

On Darrin Walls and his evaluation prior to signing with the team:

"We felt very fortunate when the draft concluded that Sunday afternoon that he was still out there on the board and we were able to target guys. This year's college free agent class was a little bit different since we weren't able to go out and sign them the day after the draft. We were able to continue the process of evaluation. I thought Thomas (Dimtroff) and his staff did a great job of putting the board together under the calm of a couple of weeks and getting prepared, instead of having to do that when you've just gone through the draft and you're basically in a free-for-all with all the college free agents. He's been very impressive. As I said yesterday, on special teams is where he first showed up and he's going to get the opportunity to play some defensive snaps this week."

On Michael Turner's injury last season and how that affected the game planning:

"We were all aware of the situation that Michael was going through last year, in terms of his groin. To me, it just validates what kind of guy he is. He's a tough guy. He doesn't complain. He's going to fight through injuries and do whatever he has to do to be prepared. We think that he is in a better place this year than he was last year and we certainly hope that it will mean more production on the field."

On Ray Edwards' clearance to play:

"The situation with Ray is that he will get some plays. We're going to make sure that we're smart in what we're doing, in terms of this being his first exposure. If he's feeling comfortable and it's going well, we'll make a decision during the ball game. The number of snaps that our guys will play and how long we'll keep our guys out there, we've got an idea of how long we want to go but again, that could change based on what happens in the early part of the ball game. He has no different play count than anyone else."

On whether he is anxious to see Edwards play:

"I'm anxious to see all of the guys. As you get closer, and we're now getting within 15 days of the season opener, I think everybody has a little bit of heightened excitement about going out and performing. This is going to be a big challenge and a good challenge for us because this is the team that represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year. Year in and year out, they're a team that has sustainability and that's what we've talked about since we got here is about being a team that can sustain from year to year."

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