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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


**On the plan for Thursday's game and how long the starters will be playing:

**"Right now, our thought is that we'd like to get everyone some action in the game. Different guys are going to play different amounts. That's really no different than what we've done in the first three preseason games. We'd like to try to get everybody in. It may not happen, but that's the plan right now."

**On Sports Illustrated's prediction that the Falcons will win the Super Bowl:

**"That's a great conversation piece for (the media) and the radio people, I can assure you that. Our focus and my focus is, first, on the game Thursday and then more importantly, getting ready to put our roster together for the regular season. Preparation for Chicago is going to start really soon and that's the way we're going to approach it. For everyone else, it gives you something to talk about."

**On whether a player can impress coaches in Thursday night's game:

**"Most certainly. You've got to weigh what they do in a game much more heavily than what they do in practice. Often times out here in practice, there may be a coach in their ear from the sideline or another player. When you're out there, there are no coaches inside that sideline, that 53 and a half yards that the guys play on. They're going to be out there playing. We definitely weigh the games much more heavily than practice."

**On breakdowns in the secondary:

**"I'm concerned about not playing well on third down and we did it in spurts. We were 4-for-11 in the ball game and the tough thing was that the two we gave up were on third down. That's a concern. They're all correctable. We've spent time as a coaching staff; we've spent time with the players going through it. Any time you don't play efficiently, especially on third down, it is a concern. I think everything that took place is very easily correctable."

**On Todd McClure:

**"I want you to know that right now, Todd will not play in the game against Chicago. He has been ruled out for that game and we hope to have a better idea in terms of his rehabilitation. But the procedure went well. He's in very good spirits and if there is anybody that can get back quicker than the timeline that they laid out, it's Todd McClure. I've got all of the confidence in that."

**On whether they are being cautious in placing too much on Julio Jones' shoulders:

**"Not really. When you're a first-round draft pick, there are going to be a lot of expectations, especially when you're picked in the top ten. Of course, we made the move up to get the player, so there are expectations. But we're not going to change anything. We told Julio and I've had lots of conversations with Julio. I had the same conversations with Matt Ryan, which was 'Julio, you don't change anything that you've done. That's why you're successful as a football player. This is no different than the football that you've played in your career up to this point in time. Just go out and play the game of football.' In terms of learning our system, there's going to be a learning curve and I think he's ahead in terms of what he's been able to learn. So no, we're not going to put governors on. We're just going to make sure that we evaluate what our guys are capable of doing and as a coach, that's what you have to do."

**On rookie wide receivers struggling in their rookie years and whether he feels that will apply to Jones:

**"I don't think so. I think there have been some receivers that have had great rookie years. There are a lot of offensive lineman, a lot of defensive ends, a lot of quarterbacks that have good rookie seasons and not good rookie seasons. I think you can talk about all positions that are drafted in the first round. We like where Julio is right now. He's worked extremely hard for us and I'm excited about seeing him play in his fourth preseason game."

**On releasing players:

**"They're all tough decisions and this year, it's even tougher because we have not had the opportunity to spend 60 days with the rookies. It is tough. I'll be honest with you, when we go through this process, you're going to be sitting there possibly thinking in the back of your mind, 'Am I making the right decision?' because you don't have as much information as you would normally have when you make these decisions. But you've got to make them and you've got to move forward."

**On the rush defense:

**"We have played run defense in the first three preseason games pretty efficiently. Again, you don't really know until you start the regular season because you don't really know what people are working on. Nobody is really showing their hand in the first four games. I think you'll see a lot of different offenses and a lot of different defenses when we get to September than what we've seen here in the preseason games. We have played fairly effectively in our run defense."

**On players ruled out for Thursday's game:

**"The guys listed yesterday will be out for the game; Lawrence Sidbury, Corey Peters and Dunta Robinson. Those three and Todd McClure will be the guys listed as out for the ball game."

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