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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

On the practice today:

"I thought it went well. The guys have come back off four days and we wanted to get back in the routine before we get into our game planning. We'll start our game planning tomorrow like we have every other week. We'll have our normal sequencing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday."

On CB Asante having an extra personal day:

"Asante was in the training room."

On giving injured players more rest now that the division is clinched:

"If guys are healthy then we're going to play them. I think we have the same type of mindset that we've had for the first three quarters of the season. We've still got a lot of football to play in this fourth quarter. Asante on a short week wasn't able to finish the game. We've got nine days in between games now, so hopefully, he'll be feeling better as we get in our normal practice week on Wednesday."

On DT Peria Jerry coming along:

"Peria worked out with our athletic performance group. We anticipate Peria Jerry will be practicing tomorrow."

On talking to the guys after what happened in Kansas City:

"We've got such a tight knit group and we have since we've gotten here. It was a very tragic situation there in Kansas City, and we feel for the families and the organization. It's something that everybody has to deal with."

On how beneficial Falcon-on-Falcon practices are:

"They help a whole bunch because you're getting the best work in season except on game day because you're working against one another. You're not working off cards. You're actually getting a crisper play run when you're working against yourself. I think it gets the guys focused, and it gives them an opportunity to come out and compete. Those are probably the biggest factors."

On not having any more padded practices because the division is clinched:

"No. It's something we've always tried to do during the fourth quarter. By rule, after the 11th week you can only have three padded practices anyways. As you know, we didn't use our full allotment during the first 11 weeks and some of the padded practices that we had were half practices. I think it's very important that we get our guys healthy and fresh. We have to emphasize different things when we're not in pads in terms of pad level and finishing plays. It had nothing to do with our record. It's really what we've done in the last year, which is the first year we've had to. In previous years, the second half of the season we practice very little in pads."

On how CB Christopher Owens looked on film:

"It was very good to see Christopher out there and play. He played the outside corner for us in that ballgame, and he made couple of big plays that were game changing plays. We talk about those handful of plays that make a difference and he was involved in two of them."

On Owens being better suited for the outside:

"We really like the way that CB Robert McClain has been playing the nickel position and we didn't want to do a double move. The majority of Chris' reps in practice have been outside, and we felt like that was the best way. Chris would go in and play nickel if he had to. We felt like it was best for us not to make a double move."

On Owens continuing to work hard and being ready for when the team needs him:

"It speaks volumes of his resiliency. Chris has had some injury issues where he's gotten banged up and missed some time. He's always been out here and fought and competed. It says a lot about his character to at one time be a starter and then in a backup role and moved around. He has been a great team player and a great teammate. He's done what we've asked him to do. It was great to see him come out and play as well as he did on Thursday night."

On having better success against the Panthers rushing attack this time around:

"This is a good rushing football team. We've certainly got to play better than we did the first time that we played them. Again, this is an offense that has a different element in terms of how they run the football with the quarterback having to account for him as a runner. Obviously, we're taking a good hard look at what we did last time and what we need to do this week. They are a team that can run the football and create explosive plays in both the run game and the pass game because of the play action with having to commit the extra defender to stop the run. They have a quarterback that we have to account as a runner." 

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