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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


**On today's practice:

**"We got a break today in terms of the weather. Yesterday was Tampa weather. Today was a little easier. As always, Thursday's a situation day so we're working through that. We want to get to tomorrow and finish our work week."

**On any trends in the last six games against Tampa Bay:

**"They've been very hard fought. We've had an overtime game. We've had one where one team has a lead and the other team has to come back. We've had a goal line stand. They've been great games. (Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris) Raheem has done a great job with his team. He's got a talented team. You can tell that they've tried to improve the defensive side with their last two drafts, going with defensive lineman. They've got some really young guys that play with a lot of energy."

**On whether he considers this a rivalry game:

**"I think the term rivalry is more for the fans than it is for the players and the coaches. It's a division game for us and division games, of course, have a little bit more weight because that's who you're fighting against through the regular season is your division opponents. We have familiarity with one another and those guys have done a very good job. Whether we're playing in Atlanta or we're playing in Tampa, they've been hard-fought games since Raheem's been there."

**On the Falcons defensive ends against tackle Donald Penn:

**"Donald is an outstanding offensive tackle. He's a big, athletic guy that when he gets his hands on you, he can be very disruptive in keeping his quarterback clean. I think he's done a very good job. Again, we're going to move our rushers around like we have been the first two ball games, even though we list one as a right and left defensive end. As you know, they're going to line up in different places."

**On Josh Freeman's ability to stay upright in the pocket:

**"He may be one of the most difficult guys to get down. He's a guy that can keep a play alive. He's a guy that can throw when he's got guys draped on him and I'm not talking about blitzers coming from the secondary. I'm talking about defensive lineman, so it's going to be very important that we don't give him a whole lot of room. We have to do a very good job in collapsing the pocket and not letting him extend plays because he's one of the best."

**On defensive lineman wearing down as the game goes on, allowing offensive lines to protect better:

**"You want to play effectively and efficiently in the fourth quarter in this league because the majority of the games, over 55 percent of them last year, came down to one score, 27 percent of them came down to three points and that's really when you want to be playing your best football and your most efficient football. It is tough rushing the passer. You're pushing big bodies back towards the quarterback and I believe that's why you see across this league that everybody is into the rotation and keeping defensive lineman fresh because it's not an easy job."

**On Lawrence Sidbury:

**"Lawrence is contributing not only on special teams but he's contributing in our rotation. Defensively, he had a sack in our first ball game, has put some pressure on the quarterback and he's advanced like you'd like for your young players to advance. They're getting better each and every year and we're excited about having him in the rotation and feel very comfortable with him playing out on Sundays."

**On the injury report:

**"(Jonathan) Babineaux and (Kelvin) Hayden were out for the day. We listed the guys who did not take their normal reps and they were John Abraham, Todd McClure, Matt Ryan, Ray Edwards and Roddy White. We had full participation from guys that have been on our injury report with Corey Peters and Shann Schillinger."

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