Falcons vs. Eagles, Week 8: Mike Smith optimistic in Wednesday press conference

Jeff Gross

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith held a press conference on Wednesday, offering information on the status of Corey Peters, the importance of the third down against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the team's energy coming off the bye.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith held a press conference Wednesday after practice, addressing issues facing the team as they prepare for their Week 8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

One of the first things Smith addressed was the status of defensive tackle Corey Peters, who has yet to play this season. Peters sustained a foot injury in the offseason, and Smith did not sound tremendously optimistic about his return to practice on Wednesday. From the transcript provided by the team:

"Peters is ramping up his sprints, in terms of he had no contact on Monday. We gave him some limited contact today to see how he responds to the contact. It's the only day we really have contact during the week. He's progressed. Again, he's not in football shape. That's going to be a big concern. We want to weigh that in in terms of our decision, as we go through is it this week or is it next week? We've got 21 days to do it."

Smith also talked about third downs, noting that the Eagles have been good at stopping opponents, while the Falcons are good at converting them:

Of course, you always want to try and get the yardage to be in your favor which means you'd like it be less than five on third down. It's definitely an advantage for the offense. Our goal would be to try and get as many first downs on first and second down and try and stay out of those third downs if we can."

Atlanta has converted 45 percent of their third downs this season. Philadelphia is third in the league, allowing opponents to convert only 29 percent of the time.

Smith also speculated that the bye week would favor the team, rather than leaving them rusty:

"I think the guys have had an opportunity to recover physically and mentally. It's been ten weeks of games plus two weeks of training camp before we started playing games. They came back and had a spirited practice on Monday. We had yesterday off and I thought today was good. We got to get better on the execution in terms of our preparation, but I thought the energy and the effort was outstanding."

The Falcons are 3-2 after a bye since Smith became head coach.

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