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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

Posted Nov 26, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith spoke to the media after Monday night's walkthrough practice about getting the team ready on a very short week.

On the injury report:

“We had two players that would not have participated today and that would’ve been DT Peria Jerry and CB Asante Samuel. We had a long list of guys that would be limited in their participation. I’ll quickly go down them, LT Sam Baker, WR Kevin Cone, WR Harry Douglas, S Charles Mitchell, LB Stephen Nicholas, TE Michael Palmer, DT Vance Walker, and LB Sean Weatherspoon. The two guys that would have not practiced today would have been Peria Jerry and Asante Samuel. We’re finished with Wednesday, we’re on to Thursday.”

On having an advantage playing the Saints so close together on a short week:

“It’s a lot easier because it’s a division opponent. We’re familiar with one another and we played in the last couple of weeks. There is a lot of familiarity. I would hate to be playing someone on a short week that you play every four years.”

On worrying about injured guys won’t be able to play on a short week that would be able to play on Sunday:

“You can’t worry about it because that’s how the schedule is set. The thing I think you do get is if you get through that short week you get the extra time and it basically gives you another Bye week and that’s how you’ve got to approach it. You’ve got to suck it up, so to speak, for a couple of days and we’ve changed our schedule obviously. We’ve been planning on this for the past two weeks in terms of the volume of practice, snaps, and what we’ve done. It’s not something that it just pops up and we have to go out and do it. I think we’ve done a nice job of preparing for it in the past.”

On the pressure on QB Josh Freeman being sufficient:

“I thought we did a nice job. I think we only had two sacks in the official stats. I thought we did a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback and as I’ve said sometimes, sacks are overrated. We’re going to have to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback this week. If he’s comfortable in the pocket and it’s like a skelly drill he’s going to find the open guy.”

On Mitchell being back:

“Yes. Mitchell is back. That is correct. He would’ve been a full participant today. We’re anticipating getting him back as the week goes on.”

On DT Travian Robertson’s first extensive action:

“According to our snap count, I think he played 16 snaps. He did a nice job. That was his first time of extended play. He was in certain packages and I thought he did a good job.”

On Samuel not being able to play in a big game like this:

“Asante has been battling the shoulder injury the last two weeks. He missed a few snaps in this ball game. He missed more in the previous game, but he’s a really tough guy in terms of pain tolerance. We’re going to get him as much rest as we can the next couple of days and get him as healthy as we can get him to play on Thursday night.”

On how well he’s played injured:

“He has a very good feel for the game, not only in terms of his ball skills but his ability to tackle. He’s not a real big guy, but he’s a physical guy.”

On CB Dunta Robinson playing very well yesterday:

“When we gave game balls out today he was our defensive winner of the game ball. Dunta was very active in the ballgame in a number of areas, both in the run and the pass.”

On making corrections in the run game from the Cardinals and Saints game:

“We had them corrected yesterday. I thought we did a nice job. We just hope that they don’t creep up. It was nice to have Spoon back. I thought we did a very good job controlling the line of scrimmage. To play run defense you’ve got to be very gap sound and I thought we did a nice job.”

On why K Matt Bryant called a timeout on the short field goal before half:

“Matt called a timeout because the 25-second clock had spun down and we didn’t want to rush the kick. Unfortunately, we did not make the attempt that we had when we had the next chance. Not what you want to have happen. We’ve got to work on some things and get better. We’ll try and not let that happen again.”

On Turner and the run game being effective late in the game:

“I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to do in the four minute drives for the most part. We’ve got to be able to do that. You’re going to be playing in some tight ballgames. We’ve had our share this year. 55 to 60 percent of them in the League are one score or less. You’ve got to be prepared for those type games and we’ve done a nice job the last couple weeks I think in our four minute and being able to put some first downs together at the end of the ballgame.”

On potentially winning the South division this week:

“We can’t concern ourselves with what anybody else is doing. We’ve got to concern ourselves with what we can do and what we can control. We know that this is another division game. We played them a couple weeks ago. They’re a really good football team. We’ve got to go out and do what we do as a football team and try to take care of the things we can control and not worry about what’s going on around the League.”

On how Weatherspoon makes this game different since he didn’t play in the first game:

“Sean is one of our best football players and having Sean out there he’s the signal caller of the defense. He’s done a good job in the games that he’s played. He gives us a little more flexibility because of his maturity in what we can call and what we can put on our signal caller.”

On it being a while since the team has won the turnover margin in a game:

“We’ve been flat in the last four games. When I say flat, we have not been creating the turnovers. They’re like sacks. They come in bunches sometimes. I don’t think they’re overrated like sacks. Turnovers are very important. We have not been able to create the turnovers and we’ve not done the job we’d like to do in terms of the offense holding onto the ball. That’s why we’ve been in the minus side the last two weeks in our ratio.”


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