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Transcripts: Mike Smith Interview

Head coach Mike SmithOn first regular season practice:

"There is not near as many bodies, that is for sure when you are down to your 53-man roster and your 8-man practice squad.  It feels a little bit different, but I thought that the guys responded to it well.  The guys are going to have to take on different roles when you get into the regular season, in terms of our weekly preparation.  That was part of our practice today, was how we are going to work the scout team, but majority of the practice was Falcons on Falcons."

On the new guys Bartu, Worrilow, Jones, and Vaughan:
"It was a very competitive camp.  I'll say this, we let a lot of good football players, a lot of good men, go over the weekend.  Tough decisions, but the gentlemen that you mentioned have done a great job.  They have competed, and we said it was going to be open competition in our evaluation.  They won the competition and that is why they are here on our squad.  They will have an opportunity to help us win football games this year."

On the injured players being on track:
"Yes.  Again, we will have our injury report on Wednesday, but we have continued to have the guys work and they are working well.  They are looking well.  We are looking forward to having everybody available on Sunday against New Orleans."

On the veteran offensive group not being able to play with each other during preseason:
"I'm very confident.  I thought that when we worked with our first unit and I think really when we had our first unit that was going to be together, I think we had two days the way that it felt in terms of having Tony, Roddy, Julio, Steven, on the field at the same time. It's not a concern at all.  I feel like we got what we needed to get accomplished, we got some things identified, both strengths and weaknesses and what our team members are capable of doing.  Now it's our job as a coaching staff to extenuate those positives and try to eliminate the negatives, and try not to put them in situations where they are not going to be the most successful."

On Sean Renfree:
"Sean was put on injured reserve.  We like Sean a lot in terms of his skill set.  It was unfortunate that he had an injury there in the fourth preseason game which basically ended his season, so he went on the injured reserve list.   Sean will be someone that whatever he can legally do in terms of participation, which is not much, but he will be a part of our team based on what he is allowed to do.  He won't ever be able to participate on the field when he gets healthy.  He can go to meetings and we will have him in every capacity we can.  We feel good about what Sean did for us in the preseason."

On a different feel for this week facing New Orleans:
"Absolutely not.  It's the first game of the season and there is a lot of excitement on opening weekend.  There are a lot of people who have great expectations, great hopes, it runs the whole gambit.  It really depends on where you are as a football team. We are trying to approach this knowing the most important game is the next game.  Then, we put extra weight on games that are within our division, because you've got to handle your division.  It's the opening week of the 2013 season, which in itself is an exciting time for everybody. "

On tight end Schuler:
"I don't know a whole lot about him.  He is a guy that has been on some practice squads; some of the coaches are familiar with him and have been with him from Penn State.  He is more of a Y and a blocking tight end then a F."

On going into the regular season 0-4:
"I want to stress, our number one goal in the preseason is to win games, we want to win games.  Right behind it is keeping our guys healthy, and doing things that stress our players. We want to find out what are players are capable of doing, and I think we do a good job of doing that.  It is not always fun at the end of the game, when you look up and you didn't get the outcome that you wanted, but we got opportunities to look at guys doing different techniques, playing different things schematically, to see if they are going to be able to handle it once we get to opening season.  This week it's game on now, our guys have a very good understanding of how hard it is to win in the NFL.  We have to have everybody focused on the task at hand and most importantly we have to have as many guys as we possibly can be as healthy as they possibly can for that opening game. "

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