New Orleans Saints QB
Below are some highlights from the interview:
On having a busy offseason:
“Well, as much as you say it’s going to be a relaxing offseason, you always find some things to do, some things to keep you busy, plus my wife Brittany and I have our three little boys with us that are four years old, two years old and 10 months so there is never a relaxing moment or a dull moment when you have those three running around.”
On remembering how important passing camps were for him as a kid:
“No doubt, that is what it is all about. We can always remember those moments, those camps that we went to, those people, those professional athletes maybe that were at those camps that might have said something to us, that spoke to us and were role models to us. I think anytime we are able to do things like this and reach out and help these kids develop, not only as athletes and as young football players, but as people and kind of give them words of wisdom and leadership and be a role model for them, I think that is all extremely positive and it’s really giving back what has been given to you.”
On how excited he is to start training camp:
“Very excited, it was the first normal offseason in what has felt like four years, probably since before the Super Bowl because after the Super Bowl, that wasn’t a normal offseason and then the next offseason was the lockout and then the next offseason was last year with the bounty stuff and the contract. So really this is the first normal offseason in four years where we showed up to work in April and the whole team is there, our head coach is there. What I was amazed at was, normally you get through the offseason and the attendance is good, I’d say really good on a lot of the really good teams is 80-90 percent, but I’m not sure if we had a single guy miss a single session this entire offseason. And I’m not talking about just practices; I’m talking about weight workouts, whatever we were doing, whether it was guys out there doing stuff on their own or once we got to practices. I am just amazed at the level of commitment that everyone has showed this offseason. Coming off of last season, this is exactly where you would hope it would be and it gets you excited about this year to come."
How important is it to you to have Sean Payton back in the building?
“The thing that I am most upset about last year was that our record was not indicative of the effort by our coaching staff in Sean’s absence. During unprecedented circumstances, I felt like our coaching staff, especially offensively, did a heck of a job and unfortunately our record didn’t show that.
“Having Sean back obviously gives us a tremendous rush offensively because he was the mind behind this offense when we all got here in 2006. I think more so than that, what he brings to our team, just his presence, his leadership, just the way he is able to communicate a certain message, or a goal, the way he is able to read our team and know exactly what to say and when, and when to push through and when to back off, all those things that a great head coach can do, we missed that by not having him here and that was the biggest difference. But to have him back, to see his face every day now, he’s ready now, we all are ready. It was great to walk in the building April 15 and see him."
Where do you think you see the most improvement with your football team this offseason?
“I think just the fact that it was an offseason in which we could get back to competing again. Everybody was there, we had gone out and gotten some free agent guys, we had a good draft, and then you bring it all in and you watch the pieces come together and you see what Rob Ryan is doing on defense, those guys are fitting in their new system but you see them playing with a lot of emotions."
“There are a lot of guys competing for jobs and one message going into this offseason for us is that no position is solidified and you have to earn it, earn it every day. So we had young guys and veteran guys competing their butts off every day. It makes you look forward to training camp especially because in that case I will be preparing every day to go up against our defense and you think about what our defense going to throw at us today and how can we beat our defense today."
“You just compete, fight tooth and nail every day against each other for four weeks then all of a sudden you get to start playing against other people and you’re like, hey this is easier than playing against our guys. That is the kind of the atmosphere you want to create, it’s so competitive and you make it so hard on yourself in practice and in training camp, the games are easy.”
On if he ever sits back and marvels at his accomplishment of throwing for more than 5,000 yards three times:
"No, you just get on auto pilot during the season, you are so focused week to week on what do I need to do to help us win this week. Obviously we throw the ball a lot, we don’t make any bones about that. It’s hard to do it consistently, it’s hard to do it week to week and it’s hard to win. I feel like we have been able to do that as well as anybody over the past five years especially, but at the end of the day it is all about winning a championship and how do you put yourself in the best position to advance to the playoffs and go accomplish that goal. We were able to do that in 2009, all the stars aligned and everything came together. Obviously that is our ultimate goal again this year, as it is every year. The fact that we have watched this team come together with everything that we have been through adversity wise over the past few years, I feel like that is going to serve us well going into the season. Hopefully we have learned a lot and that will strengthen us."