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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

On the injury report:

"Out of practice and didn't participate today, TE Michael Palmer will be out for the game. We had three other guys that didn't participate: FB Lousaka Polite, CB Chris Owens, and RB Antone Smith. Those three guys didn't participate. We had limited participation with five guys: DT Jonathan Babineaux, T Tyson Clabo, WR Julio Jones, LB Stephen Nicholas, and LB Mike Peterson. We've got some guys that we held out today on a limited basis. Chris Hope was not at practice today. He was excused from practice for personal reasons and he'll be out tomorrow as well."

On being worried Hope won't be ready for this weekend:

"No not at all. Before he got out of here, we got him up to speed. It's a personal matter that he was excused for."

On the key to the takeaways early in the season:

"I think we've done a nice job taking the ball away. To be plus-10 in the turnover ratio is a good thing. It's an emphasis point. I think our guys have gotten some good jumps on some balls there in the secondary. I've been very impressed with the way we tackle and have taken the ball of ball carriers, as well. We've done a nice job, so I think its crisp tackling and attacking the ball on the fumbles. I think we've gotten a real good jump on the ball in the pass game."

On the ref lockout coming to an end soon:

"I don't have any thoughts on it. When you say soon is that today, tomorrow, next week (laughing)? Those are things we don't have any control over and we're going to prepare like we normally do."

On S Thomas DeCoud not splitting snaps this season and how that has helped his confidence:

"It gives him an opportunity to feel better about the game plan because you're getting all the snaps or the majority of the snaps. Last year, we brought S James Sanders in right before the season started. The situation was a little bit different than this year, because we had to try and get him up to speed as our third safety. There wasn't any comment on the play on the other two guys. It was just the way to get him up to speed. The only way to get him up to speed is to get reps."

On how OG Mike Johnson played in the game last weekend and how that helps with his development:

"It certainly does. Mike, unfortunately last year, had the injury and it was on a special teams play. To get him significant snaps in a game is important. At some point in time, there is a good chance he's going to have to step up and play. It may be at the tackle position, it may be at the guard position, and it may be in our jumbo package. He's played in our jumbo package some already this year. We were also able to get C Peter Konz snaps at the center position there in the fourth quarter of the ball game. If we're fortunate enough to have that opportunity we need to get other guys in the ball game. I thought they did very well."

On QB Luke McCown seeing his first action:

"He was in a situation we weren't going to put the ball down the field obviously. When he came in it was more of a run first mentality. He did a nice job."

On having to prepare harder for a division game after they didn't play very well:

"It's a division game and it's our first game in the division. It's also a division and conference game, and we put more weight on those games. It's like a game and a half when you're playing a division game and a quarter when you're playing in the NFC. We've had some really good battles with Carolina. They're one of our biggest rivals and most of the games that we've played have come down to five or six plays. I'm preparing in my mind that that's what it's going to be. In terms of where they're at as a football team and where we're at, we're going to focus on what we have to do. That's get prepared because they've got some weapons on the offensive side of the football that we've got to be ready to take care of."

On the Panthers jumping out to early leads last year:

"When we played over there in Charlotte, it was a very tough first half for us. If I'm not mistaken we were down 17 points in that ball game, and we had to come back in the second half. I think it shows a resiliency and its part of being a mature football team. You're never out of it, and I think if you watched the games all weekend long this past weekend, I think you'll see many examples of that. Every week in this League you've got to be prepared to play because if you're not prepared to play then you're going to get your tail kicked."

On the importance of being physical with a mobile quarterback like QB Cam Newton:

"It's a different type of quarterback that we're facing this week. We have to account for him as a runner in the offense. He's not the guy that's going to distribute the ball. He's going to be a guy that you have to account for. In the zone read scheme, the quarterback can be a ball carrier so we're having to account for him. It's a different type of offense than we've faced in the first three weeks. There is no doubt about that."

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