New Orleans Saints QB
Below are some highlights from the interview:
On the National World War II Museum being in New Orleans?
“The fact that we have the National World War II museum in New Orleans, I think, is extremely significant just to start. Obviously it could be kind of showcased quite a bit during Super Bowl week. We were running quite a few PSAs and advertisements to try to get people to come visit and I think the turnout was great. It’s one of those places that, for those of us that had members of our family that either fought in World War II or served in the military, has a special meaning. Especially for the guys that play in the NFL, it’s one of those unique opportunities to see the guys that put away their helmets and shoulder pads, I guess leather helmets, for a while and went and fought to defend our country in World War II. The exhibit that is there right now, kind of highlighting those men and talking about their accomplishments, I think is great.”
Looking at different Saints artifacts, you look at the memorabilia and how Saints fans love football, was it a no-brainer to keep the 2011 jersey you wore when you set the new single-season passing yardage mark and the jersey for the consecutive games with a touchdown pass game? Was it something that you wanted it in a museum instead of in your sports memorabilia room?
“I think it’s important to preserve those things and give other people the opportunity to share in that moment, even if it’s just a piece of what you were wearing that day. Whether it was your helmet, your jersey or whatever it might be, I think it’s important. When we went and played in the Hall of Fame Game this year, we had a chance to walk through the museum there in Canton. To see some of the items from over the years, the Saints now have a presence in the Hall of Fame. I know Tom Dempsey’s kicking shoe and other things that are a part of that are really neat to see and I get excited about it that, obviously, being a Saint. It makes me feel proud that we have representation in that way.”
There have been a lot of contract restructurings this offseason, especially with the Saints. Is that something that in the coming years a lot of teams and executives are going to take as an approach?
“Yes, everybody is up against the cap. Everybody wants to be able to be as competitive as possible. In order to do that, you’re going to have to pay to keep certain players and you’re going to want to build your team as best as you can with the amount of money that you have, and there is a cap on that. You’re trying to fit as many talented players, and as many players as you want to keep, on your team as you can that is within the cap. Inevitably, every team can’t just go out there and spend as much as they want, this isn’t the New York Yankees in baseball, so everybody has that challenge. Every general manager has that challenge. Just about every year a team has to sit there and look at their roster and say where can we trim the fat so-to-speak here and there in order to get to a place where we can sign the free agents that we want to sign or keep the guys that we want to keep. You just kind of anticipate how that is going to affect you in the future. I think there are different ways to restructure a contract too. When you hear the term restructure, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you took less money, it just means that the maybe the money is coming to you now in a different form. Maybe it’s not salary, maybe it has been switched to signing bonus and now it’s been prorated over the rest of your contract so you’re cap number is lessened this year but maybe it causes it to go up next year of the following year. It’s very strategic and I think Mickey Loomis is one of the best in the business when it comes to that kind of thing, making sure that we’re able to keep the guys that we want to keep while at the same time being within the cap and remaining extremely competitive.”
Do athletes get paid too much money?
“Yes, we probably do. Unless you’re finding a cure for cancer or creating world peace, I don’t know if anybody deserves to get that much money. That’s the industry that we’re in. You could probably say the same for actors, actresses and entertainers. We’re in the entertainment industry and business is business and there is a market. The market establishes what you get paid.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Joe Flacco jumped me. I’m sure that, maybe it’s Aaron Rodgers, maybe it’s somebody else, is going leap-frog Joe Flacco and the trend is going to continue in that direction as our game continues to grow and the popularity continues to grow. That doesn’t surprise me.”
Is there more of an eagerness to start this offseason program due to what has happened the last twelve months or so with the Saints?
“Absolutely. We’re all chomping at the bit. (We’re) Obviously excited to have Coach Payton back, just excited to get back to work really. I always look forward to that downtime with the family, and I’ve taken full advantage of it this month or so, but I cannot wait to get back to work when the time comes.”
I know how competitive you are, even in practice against the defense, what can you tell the fans about Rob Ryan coming on-board as the defensive coordinator, preparing for a Rob Ryan defense whether it was when he was in Cleveland or Dallas, and how you look forward to competing against a Rob Ryan defense day-in and day-out?
“I really look forward to it. I have a lot of respect for him and his scheme. I have faced him a number of times when he was in Oakland, and then Cleveland, and then in Dallas last year. He is one of those guys that I like his swagger. It seems like his defenses play extremely hard. They do a lot of things, they are very multiple in the things that they can do defensively. He seems to be very creative and he has done a great job incorporating the skills and talents of his defensive players into the scheme wherever he has been. I think that is where you really kind of develop an attitude and a swagger is throughout OTAs and then into training camp competing against your own defense. We pride ourselves offensively as being one of the best offenses in the league and we’re going to throw a lot at you as well. Let’s make this as competitive as we can. We’re trying to beat them every day just like they’re trying to beat us. In the end, when you step on the field on game day, you say that there is nothing we could see or face that we haven’t seen before in practice, or a situation we haven’t been in in practice by facing our own defense. That is what you want to be able to say.”