Skip to main content

Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview


**On getting DT Jonathan Babineaux and LB Stephen Nicholas back:

**"Big day in terms of both of those guys because I they were ahead of schedule. We didn't think they would be back this early so they've done a great job with the rehab. Again, I want to caution: It's their first day back. We want to see how they respond to the wear and tear of a complete practice but we're really happy that they've gotten back quicker than we anticipated."

**On the play of QB Matt Ryan in his career versus the Packers:

**"Matt's done some really good things when we've played them. Those are games that were in the past that aren't probably going to have a whole lot of bearing on what takes place on Sunday. But he's played well. We didn't play well the last time we played them. They were the better team and they went on and won a Super Bowl. They're the reigning Super Bowl champs and they're coming in this week. I will say their quarterback right now is probably spinning the ball as well as anyone in the League-124-plus quarterback rating, 73 percent of his passes have been completed so it's going to be a big challenge for us. They've got a lot of weapons."

**On LB Curtis Lofton's evolution as a leader:

**"It's something that you earn and Curtis has definitely earned it. In terms of his first year, he was a first and second down player. The last two years, he's been a full-time player meaning that he plays on all three downs. He's the signal caller. He's the one that is getting the communication from the sideline and he's not only got to disseminate what the call is, but there's always, until that microphone gets cut off at 15 seconds, there's a lot of information that (Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder) Brian can get to him and he's got to relay it to other guys in the huddle. He's done a good job in doing that for us. Again, I think you earn that by your play on the field and Curtis has had three solid years and is off to a good start this year."

**On whether Lofton is a quiet guy they had to teach to be more vocal:

**"He's not overly quiet, nor is he overly vocal. I think he's pretty even-keeled but he's very emotional on game day and he's very passionate about his play. He is a guy that you would like to have as a leader because he can be up when the guys are down and I think that's an important thing. Your leader or the guys that's out there calling signals, he's got to keep a positive attitude."

**On the injury report:

**"As you know, Cliff Matthews, Todd McClure, Michael Palmer and Roddy White did not practice today. As we already mentioned, Babineaux and Nicholas were limited participants as well as Jason Snelling, William Moore and Chris Owens. The last three guys will probably be upgraded tomorrow. They were more precautionary for things that had happened earlier in the season but they should be back."

**On if these are the types of games that keep you up later from a defensive perspective:

**"They definitely do. In terms of the players that they have available to get the ball to, they're loaded. Their wide receiver core and their tight ends are very explosive and Aaron (Rodgers) does an outstanding job getting it in their hands. So you've got to try to figure out ways they're going to try to attack you and then you've got to turn around and try to figure out how you're going to slow them down because right now they're the number one team in the League in scoring. They do a great job on third down keeping drives alive. Brian (VanGorder) and his staff, from a defensive perspective, it's ever changing, the evolution of the game plan I think goes all the way up to right before game time in terms of what you feel comfortable with and what you're going to be able to call at the kickoff."

**On what worked for the team in their first game against Green Bay last season:

**"I think, when you're playing a team like this, you have got to be very sound tacklers and you've got to create turnovers and I think that was something that we did. Tackling in space is going to be at a premium. They're going to create a lot of one-on-one matchups. That's what they do a great job of, in terms of the spacing and how they put their formations out, and guys are going to have to tackle well and we're going to have to pursue the football because they can turn a three-yard pass and turn it into an 84-yard touchdown very quickly."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content