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PRESS CONFERENCE: Mike Smith – Aug 6th, 2014

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On whether S Dezmen Southward will be ready to go on Friday night:

“We haven’t determined whether he’s going to be ready to play or not. It was good to see him back out here doing some play on the field and not being with the trainers. We’re going to let 24 hours pass and see where he is in terms of if there’s any residual effects but he did do a lot of work today.”

 

On his thoughts and reaction to the debut of Hard Knocks:

“Well, I had an opportunity to view it at 6:00 yesterday morning. My focus was about giving our opponents potential competitive advantage. I thought that NFL [Films] and their producers and the producers at HBO did a wonderful job because there wasn’t anything that I was concerned about, and that was my focus and will be my focus throughout the whole entire show.”

 

On whether there is any chance he will bring the mustache back:

“I doubt it, but that was good.”

 

On whether or not there is hazing at training camp:

“We have a no hazing policy. We do ask our guys to get up and give one performance during training camp and if it’s a good performance they may have to do it two or three times. For example, last year Levine Toilolo was quite the musician and he got about four opportunities to get up there and sing. You know, part of being an Atlanta Falcon is having your separate locker room and an opportunity to sing or perform. I thought some of the guys did a great job and some of them have some work to do.”

 

On whether or not the team is ready to face the Miami Dolphins on Friday night:

“I know we’re ready to play a game and go through the whole sequencing as a coaching staff and as players. Again, we don’t have our entire package put in so we’ve got to limit what we’re going to be able to do. There will be no game planning. We’re anxious and excited about getting out there on Friday night.”

 

On whether or not the rotations have changed:

“We’ve had a couple of meetings in regards to what we’re going to do. We haven’t finalized the rotation, but I think it will be something that you guys are familiar with. I think it’s very important for us to evaluate the young players. We’re going to go out there and play to win. We want to win every time we go out there, but we have to get work with our veterans as well. That’s part of training camp. It’s a fine line every time you go out there on the field about how much is enough work, too much work, or not enough work. You worry about injuries and exposing your guys to that, but you’ve got to go out there and work.”

 

On how much the game film will help give an indication of where the players are:

“It’s going to go a long ways because you don’t practice and really get a true evaluation. When you play a game, there are 22 guys between those 53 and a third yards and they’re out there competing against each other. Everyone else is standing on the sideline. There’s nobody behind them to talk to them about move over to the right, move over to the left or give me this, give me that. They’re out there playing the game, so it’s probably the only way you get a true evaluation. I’m sure there are some guys that have done some really good things in practice that are going to have some issues and there are going to be some guys that have struggled in practice that maybe do better in the game.”

 

On who he really wants to see go against another piece of competition:

“I want to see our whole rookie class. I want to see them get out and compete. These guys have really worked hard. We’ve spent extra time with them in the offseason and we want to see how they go out there and compete. There’s going to be a number of guys that are going to be vying for substantial playing time in the regular season and they’re going to help us win a lot of games. I want to see some of these guys that were forced to play a lot of snaps last year against someone else wearing a different colored jersey really playing football.”

 

On what kind of competition he has seen from the back-up quarterbacks:

“I think it’s been very competitive. One day there will be a lead by one of them, and the next day there will be a lead by the other. I think it’s important that those two have an opportunity to get an equal number of snaps, at least in practice and in the first and second preseason game. Then, I’ll think we’ll be able to make a determination on who’s going to get the first reps in that third preseason game.”

 

On how WR Julio Jones looked today:

“I think Julio has looked fantastic. We’ve got him on a prescription of a set number of plays every other day. We’ve said that we would do that for at least the first two weeks of training camp and then we would make a determination on whether we would change it by upping his snaps or taking his snaps down or going to every day or every third day. Those are things that we want to get a little more information about, but when he’s been out there playing with QB Matt Ryan, WR Roddy White, and the rest of the guys, it doesn’t look like they’ve missed a step.”

 

On whether or not QB T.J. Yates has enough to carry a game:

“He absolutely does. In the preseason, we’ve been in an install mode. We haven’t installed our entire package yet, but we’ve been in install mode since the first day of training camp. When we go play this game, we’re going to really condense it down. We’re going to have a game plan. We want these guys to go out and compete. We want them to be assured that they’re going to run the plays that they know they can run. We’re not going to throw some exotics at them and things like that. We’re going to do a great job as a coaching staff in evaluating the plays that we feel comfortable with, and we’re going to let them run those plays so we can get a good evaluation.”

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