Transcript: Mike Smith, Tony Gonzalez Interviews

Head Coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:
"I hope everybody's had a good summer, and I've said before, this is my favorite day of the year; the official start of football season, so I'm excited about that. I want to say to our fans, great job. I understand that we've now sold out every one of our games this year. The tickets went on sale today and they're all gobbled up."

On the overall tone of today's first practice:
"I thought it was a very good practice. We got a lot of work done in the classroom this morning, had a nice walk-thru, and I thought we came out here and did what we needed to get done. This is the third time that we've installed (the offense) with our veterans – the second and a half time in terms of it with our rookies. It's something that they're familiar with, it's not like the verbage is brand new to them. The other thing, I thought that the intensity was good. The guys understand how we got to practice. We didn't' have guys on the ground, and that's very important."

On whether or not he thought Tony Gonzalez would show up at practice:
"Absolutely. In fact I'll go ahead and address Tony (Gonzalez); I'm sure that's going to be a question someone will ask here before we get done. Before Tony decided to come back he made some commitments to his family, and after talking with Tony we've come to a mutual agreement that we're going to allow him to honor those commitments with his family. So there'll be some time that he'll be here in training camp, and some time where he won't. I think those decisions were made prior to him deciding whether he was going to play again. That's really between Tony and I, but we're glad he's here. He's going to be here for a while, and then he's going to be gone. Then he'll be back. But, that's a decision Tony and I had conversations about through this offseason."

On whether or not that decision had anything to do with him coming back this year:
"No, Absolutely not. I think Tony and his discussions with his family is what convinced him to come back. I think Tony was very transparent back in March. He said he talked to his family, and his son and all of them got together. You'll have to ask Tony about that more specifically."

On his assessment of rookie CB's Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford:
"Until I watch the tape it's going to be hard to give a really good assessment. I know they were out there competing. They're going to have a tough day every day. They're going against, in my mind, two of the best receivers in the NFL, and that's good for us. We've got to get these guys ready, and there's no two better to have to go out and work against. We had some one-on-one. We had some team pass, and we had some skelly's, so they got a lot of work."

On whether or not he's thinking about a Super Bowl on Day One of Training Camp:
"Absolutely not. I think all 32 teams know that that's the ultimate goal. This is a marathon. We've got a lot of things that we have to accomplish in training camp. What we do in training camp is going to set us up for the season. We want to be a relevant team in December and January. And if you're a relevant team in December and January, history shows that you got a good chance to be where everybody wants to be in this League."

On his impression on Steven Jackson entering camp:
"I'm very impressed. Steven (Jackson) is one of the hardest working guys that I've been around, and I've only been around him for 70 or 80 days. He has a great work ethic, not only in the weight room, but on the field and in the classroom. He's done a great job of learning our offensive schemes. It's new to him, so this is different from what he's done in years past, but he's got a great work ethic and he's a guy that we're relying heavy on to be a contributor to our offense this season."

On whether or not it was a relief to get Desmond Trufant signed yesterday:
"When you have your entire team here on the opening day, it's a good thing. You don't have to concern yourself with someone getting behind. And we were confident that we were going to get Desmond in here, and we were able to do it. Thomas (Dimitroff) and his staff, Nick Polk, I think they did a great job of getting these guys signed. It's a relief as a coaching staff to know you got your entire squad with you from day one."

On what jumped out at him:
"I thought we threw the ball well today. I really did. I thought we were very efficient and throwing the football, and, of course, when you're not in pads you're going to emphasize the pass game a little bit more. We've got more work going on with regards to our pass game until we get in pads. So the first couple of practices is geared more towards the pass."

On whether or not the fans bring anything to practice:
"I think so. Not necessarily the first day, more on the fourth, fifth and sixth day I think it's going to help the attitude of the guys. That's the days where we start to get into the 'dog days,' and it's a little bit tougher to get out of bed. It's a little bit tougher to stay focus. When you have the fans that are here and cheering you on, it makes it a little bit easier."

Tight End Tony Gonzalez
On how the first day of training camp went:
"Well I'm old, but I'm still hanging with the fellas today. I caught a couple of balls out there."

On his participation during camp:
"Right now, I'm here. I'm planning on being here tomorrow but there are some prior obligations I made to my family, more specifically my son Nikko, last year. I made these obligations to them last year because I was planning to retire. I wasn't joking about that all year last year. Those responsibilities are coming up and will be here pretty soon so I'll probably head back and hang out with him and do what I told him I was going to do. Then I'll be back and join the team early. I'm not going to be showing up a week before the game, I'll be here a lot earlier than that, but I'll be ready to go, too. You can bet the house on that. This isn't something that is going to go into the regular season. This is just for camp. It worked out perfectly, too. If I was home I could've been with him but he's not even in practice yet. It's his first year of football and I'm looking forward to being out there and watching him learn how to hit someone in the mouth."

On his thoughts about the makeup of the team:
"It's incredible. This is the best team I've ever been on, just like last year. I said the same thing last year. You could take the same interview from last year and replay it. We're surrounded by talent and we added talent with Osi [Umenyiora] and Steven Jackson in the backfield. Who knows who else they'll get in here next now that they got Matt [Ryan]'s deal done. The sky is the limit with what we can do, but we understand that on paper it doesn't mean anything and nobody else cares about that."

On what gets the team over the hump:
"There isn't one thing, honestly. Football is like that. There's always a play here or a play there that could change the dynamic of the game. We just need to go out there and do what we did last year and build on it, honestly. It isn't like something is going to get us over the hump. We've had a good team for the past couple of years and I think it's even better this year. If anything, we're not thinking about a hump or a goal. We always want to improve in every facet of the game, but there isn't one specific thing that we're trying to improve to get us where we're trying to go. We know that if we keep working hard with the players that we have, and if we stay healthy, then we'll be very tough to stop."

On Matt Ryan's deal signing:
"He had a big smile on his face that's for sure, and for good reason. I couldn't be happier for him, he deserves it. The franchise deserves him. I know everybody is happy that it got done and he doesn't have to worry about it now. He can go out there and just let it rip. It's just the beginning for him. What you saw out there last year, he's going to keep building on it and I anticipate him getting even better now that the deal is done and it's out of his mind."

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