Transcripts: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:

"I felt like in the game tonight, we got a lot accomplished in all three phases. We made some plays early on with some young players that got an opportunity to play. With that being said, there are a lot of things we need to clean up. Way too many penalties again, but you have to address those things as a team. There were a lot of good points. TJ Yates had an astounding game. The quarterback battle has been an interesting one and that will lead us into a number of very difficult decisions. As a head coach, there are certain days you really like as a football coach – the first day of the offseason, the first day of the regular season; those are all fun days. But the next couple of days are very difficult because of difficult decisions that have to be made. We have had a bunch of young men that have worked extremely hard. Unfortunately, it's a fact of the NFL that there are going to be 53 guys that make our roster and filled in with a 10-man practice squad. There are going to be a lot of things happening inside Flowery Branch over the next 72 hours and across the NFL. I want to thank all of the guys who have been with us. As we go to make our 53-man roster, there are some guys who are very deserving, but you can only have 53."

On what clicked for Yates:

"I thought he threw an outstanding deep ball on the double cut to Freddie (Martino). It was a good route and he was able to lock into the clean path and he was very accurate with his deep ball. I thought his accuracy was outstanding. I believe he only had five incompletions in 20 attempts and 243 yards with a 148.5 quarterback rating. To have a quarterback play like that you have to feel good because the number two is a good player as well and you want as many good players as you possibly can."

On Yates coming in late to the team:

"It has been very difficult. NFL rules don't allow us to have contact with our players in the dead period. When the OTA's and mini-camps were done, we couldn't contact them. It's just the rules of the NFL. TJ came in on the last day of our OTA season. Basically had an opportunity to meet him, hand him a playbook and 'Were going to see you back here in July because league rules don't allow us to have contact during the dead period.' It has been very difficult. I think you have seen up and down days. Up is what we are looking for in terms of his abilities. I think he has a better understanding and command of the offense. It has been very difficult in terms of getting him prepared and getting him as many reps as we possibly could and get him up to speed. I thought coach (Dirk) Koetter and coach (Glenn) Thomas did a good job, along with Matt Ryan, in getting him prepared. "

On his feeling about Devonta Freeman:

"I have been very impressed with Devonta Freeman. Devonta is an explosive player when he has the ball in his hands. I think the big thing for Devonta is him learning the pass protection game in the NFL and the looks that you see. Running backs in the NFL have to be involved in protection. In the terms of the ball in his hands, he has been a dynamic player in the preseason. He is explosive; he runs well behind his paths and has very good vision."

On the cuts process:

"Our (player) personnel staff is going to have some sleepless nights over the next 72 hours. There are going to be a lot of transactions over the next four or five days, really over the next 10 days basically into the first game of the season. In terms of the rosters, there is a cause and effect for every move that takes place. It's a tough time as a coach and a co-team builder in making those decisions on which guys are going to be on your roster and which ones are not."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content