JACKSONVILLE — Falcons coach Mike Smith was pleased with how the joint practice with the Jaguars turned on Wednesday.
Smith said that center Todd McClure (resting), cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring) and newly signed tight end Reggie Kelly would not play on Friday night.
Linebacker Robert James (groin) will be a game-time decision. Also, he didn’t rule out defensive end Ray Edwards (knee).
Here are the highlights from Smith’s post-practice presser:
ON HOW THE JOINT PRACTICE HELPED THE FALCONS: Well it helps us a whole bunch because we spent most of training camp working against each other, and it was good to get down here. I thought the way we organized it we got some good work tonight.
ON HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Every team has expectations and every year’s a new year and we’re trying to put our roster together and this is what training camp is all about this year. My guys have worked hard and I thought we had a really good session here tonight.
ON PLAYING A YOUNG QUARTERBACK: We’re very fortunate to get a guy like Matt Ryan when we first got there, and Matt has really matured through the three seasons that he’s been with us. And it’s been a fun experience for not only our coaching staff but for our players to go through that growth process and when you’ve got a good quarterback, this is really a quarterback driven league, when you’ve got a good quarterback I think you really enhance your chances.
ON RYAN’S GROWING PAINS: There were growing pains. I think any time when you’re starting anew you’re going to go through those growing pains. And each season brings on a different dynamic and again we were very fortunate early on to win some games and have the ball bounce the right way. It’s been a fun process to go through as a coach, as a coaching staff to go through that with a young quarterback.
ON THE JAGUARS: There’s been a lot of change in terms of the personnel. I was very impressed the way the football team looked tonight. There’s a lot of young physical guys and I thought we had a very good session with these guys, but there’s probably only about eight or nine guys probably on the roster that were here when I left. It is a different looking football team but I thought that they have some really good looking players.
ON JOINT PRACTICES IN THE FUTURE: I think that’s all going to be predicated on what happens with the preseason. I really think that you want to work with other teams if you can, and especially if you go to a two preseason schedule. And I don’t know if that’s going to happen or if that’s even in the works but that was one of the reasons last year that we wanted to do that was to start working with different teams and work with the Jaguars of course and with New England, and I think it’s good. It’s great for the players. I think it’s great for the coaches. You can get into a rut in training camp. Even if you’re only practicing once a day it’s still tough on you not only physically but mentally.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog