Transcript: Smith Speaks to Media, Practice 1

On the first practice of training camp went:

"Well, I thought it went very well. I think that we have had the rookies for a couple days and now we've got to work with the veterans in terms of trying to get the first three days in shorts and helmets done so we can get into some padded work, which we haven't done for a long time."

On the release of WR Darius Johnson:

"I'm not going to comment on the reason that Darius was released. We never do. There was a transaction that we put in today and he is no longer a member of our team."

On WR Julio Jones:

"I thought it was very good. You guys saw it. He was running routes very well. I thought the timing between he and Matt [Ryan] were good. You know we have a plan or prescription that we're going to try and stay by for the first couple weeks and make an evaluation after that. It was great to see Julio back on the field and when you looked on the other side and saw 84 [WR Roddy White] out there, I know not only me, but I think the quarterback and the whole coaching staff was excited about seeing both those guys."

On G Jon Asamoah and DE Tyson Jackson:

"The offensive line and defensive line, they haven't had a really good chance to play the game of football. They haven't had their pads on. The way the collective bargaining agreement is set up, we don't really get a chance to work them in their trade. We're going to start doing that on Sunday. Outside of pads, they're what we expected. They're big, strong men. Jon has played a lot of games at the offensive guard position and he is going to offer some stability there inside and in our pocket because we've got to keep the push up the middle, off of our quarterback."

On the intensity of this year's training camp:

"I'd like to see the intensity start from day one. I thought it was fairly good today. Again, we're going through the process of teaching these young guys what a training camp practice is. They know what an OTA or a non-contact practice is. They got an opportunity today to see what a contact practice was. I would like to see the intensity level from day one be much higher than it has been in the past. I think everybody understands there's a sense of urgency in what we want to accomplish and everyone knows what that is."

On the fifth and sixth wide receiver spot:

"I think it opens that up to a lot of competition. I think there are a number of positions that there is going to be some very intense competition. I think that back end of the wide receiver position now is wide open. I think there will be a couple of young guys that probably weren't in the mix that are going to get in the mix now." 

On T Jake Matthews and DE Kroy Biermann mixing it up:

Oh, I think they are probably just going through a feeling out process through the first couple of days. Kroy has not been able to be out in the field. He was hurt in the second game of the last season, so I'm sure he is excited about it. I'm sure Jake's not going to back down from anybody. I imagine we'll have some of those types of battles all through training camp. Those things are good. I think it keeps it spirited and we're going to have spirited football practices here in Flowery Branch up to the start of the first game."

On WR Roddy White's contract extension:

"It's great to have Roddy signed and under contract for a long time. That was our goal to have him finish his career as an Atlanta Falcon. He's helped us win a lot of football games, so I'm happy for us as an organization. We got a very good player that's going to be around for a number of years and he's going to help us win a lot of games."

On whether it's different going into a new year after a difficult season:

"It doesn't feel a whole lot different. Your first day of practice is probably in the top five in terms of days that you like. You probably get in the top three when you say the first day of pads. Then, the opening game of the season probably goes at number two. There is one day that I'm still holding out to be the best one. It's in the top five, the first day you come out and practice and I thought the intensity was good. I still think we're going to have to learn how to practice. Our offensive and defensive linemen are actually able to have some contact when they don't have pads on so it's different from our OTAs and it's different from our minicamp."

On DE Jonathan Massaquoi:

"I think his maturation from year one to year two has showed a marked step of improvement and I think you're going to see that from year two to year three. He's a guy who has gotten bigger and I think the things we're asking him to do fit his skill-set very well. That's going to be a competitive position. We've got a number of guys that are very similar in size and stature, but Jonathan has continued to grow as a football player since he has been here."

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