New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marquez Callaway
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021
Does this benefit you knowing the last two weeks Jameis Winston would be the starting quarterback and being able to tailor some things toward working with a specific signal caller
"Yeah. I think it's good to know the positions that will be there in a game, rather than having to think about who it's going to be, going back and forth, but we had a lot of work this offseason and in camp, so we are comfortable with either one."
What has the process been like being here at TCU?
"You can't imagine having to leave home to come to another state and basically do the same thing, but first, we have a roof under our heads and us and our families are safe. Football is a game played and we just go where it takes us. I think this trip has made us come closer together. I think we're bonding a lot more and just having to test our adversity, willing to adapt and keep the same mindset for this first game."
What is this offseason and preparation have for you this year after not having a conventional offseason and preseason as a rookie?
"They said camp was hell (in the past). Since we didn't have a true camp last year, I couldn't understand it or relate to it since we didn't have one. But from everything what people said to how long it was going to be, the long days, early mornings, late nights and everything was what they said. You can't prepare for camp, you just have to learn how to roll with it and get through it."
How does the difficulty of camp help you prepare for the season?
"I think the coaches do a great job of preparing us for the difficulty of the season, so when it comes time for a game, it won't be a surprise, it's second-hand to us. They push us, we push them and while Coach makes it hard, we make it hard on ourselves knowing that if it's harder now, when it comes to game time we're going to see everything thrown at us."
Can you talk about the progress you have seen from Jameis Winston to go from where he was last year to the starting quarterback, having worked with him a lot last year on scout teams?
"Jameis is a fun spirit to be around, whether it's football or outside of football, his personality shows a lot about him. Jameis seeing him come in not really knowing or working with him but going to spending every day working with him on and off the field, going to his house, meeting up in another state to work. It shows he really cares and burns to be the best. It shows he reaches out to try to help us to show that he needs help as much as we do. So seeing him come in and start from the bottom up and count on working the hours of training, with his guys and our guys, it shows his resilience, perseverance to keep pushing and how he wants to be the best."
Does it show his passion for the game?
"Jameis loves football and you don't have to be around him long to know that."
Does Jameis actually get to the facility first every morning?
"He's there before I am. I can't (exactly) answer to that, but I wouldn't be surprised."
Andrew Dowell said a couple weeks ago that it was he or Jameis Winston getting in there first every morning?
"I wouldn't be surprised."
Do you think he had an extra bounce getting to start that Jacksonville game?
"I think him coming from where he came from and being the man in Tampa and coming over here and having to take a back seat to everything that was going on, I think it showed another side of Jameis, because he's used to being top dog everywhere he has been at. But when he came here and had to take that back seat, he had to sick back and observe. He did a great job of that and I think he's done a great job with everything that he's learned. I can't imagine what he's learned from Drew (Brees) and with Taysom (Hill) in the room last year. Him sitting back and learning last year, it just kind of propelled him. He's eager, hungry and ready."
What do you think of Jaire Alexander?
"It's a great group (Packers secondary). The guys are patient. They have played a lot of football, so they're experienced. Every rep that we have is either going to affect them in a way where we're hitting them on blocking or we're trying to do what we can to get open. It's going to be a fun first game and I'm just excited and ready for it."
What is it like seeing Alvin Kamara blow up as a professional compared to where you guys were as teammates at Tennessee?
"In college, I had no doubt, he was going to blow up (eventually). I know a lot of people say that. Actually playing with him, watching him when I came in and watching him in college, you could see that he was special and different. When he came into the league he didn't stop. He kept his foot on the gas and kept going. Everything he has, has been earned. Nothing has been given to him. I think he takes that to heart. He knows what he has to do. He knows what he can do and I think he knows that's what separates him. He doesn't care what people think, he goes out and plays his game, whether it's a good game, bad game, what his expectations he set out for, other people he doesn't care. He just goes out and plays his game, that's what I love about him."
Saints safety Marcus Williams
How do you feel like you guys have come together as a defensive unit in the preseason and training camp?
"We just take it day by day, getting better in the film room and on the field. Communication and the camaraderie we have had here since being able to come together and talk about different things just over there. Being together more like this is bringing us closer together."
Is there some benefit to being away like this under this situation?
"It is definitely a benefit. You see the guys day to day. Now we're just talking ball all the time. We say 'you saw that play.'
Does this remind you of two years ago at all when you were at the University of Washington?
"I wouldn't say it was like Seattle. It's a different year, different situation of course. We face adversity every day and need to continue to do what we do to get ready for the season."
If Kwon Alexander plays this week, how amazing is that type of recovery from a ruptured Achilles injury?
"It's amazing. After he hurt himself, all you heard was him talk about being legendary. He works hard every day. You see it on the field. You see it. I appreciate him fighting through that adversity. That's one of the toughest injuries to come back from and he's doing it."
Is there anything you guys take away from last year's game at Green Bay?
"It's a different year. We are going to come out here and just do what we have to do, take it one play at a time, limit those explosive plays and we'll be alright."
Do you have any thoughts about the trade for Bradley Roby and how he plays?
"I don't have any thought about that. I just worry about right now."
Did you have an opportunity to talk to Desmond Trufant yet?
"I haven't really talked to him that much, but he's on the field with us. We talk to him. When he comes on the field, I talk to him like every other person who steps in and give him the tips I have when he comes out there."
You and Alvin Kamara came in the same draft class and he was probably less heralded than you coming out of college. How has he handled everything the last four years?
"He's one of the best backs in the league. He gets better every year and you see it. He runs so smooth, has a lot of balance and he can do it all, catch it out of the backfield, run it. He's one of the best backs like I said, when you see it, you're like 'Wow, that's a player'."
What are some of the keys to not allowing the explosive plays?
"Yes, being on the same page, having good eyes, doing our job. You take care of our job and it eliminates all the other stuff. If you do the little things right it will take care of the big things."
Is it going to be weird for you having a home game in Jacksonville?
"I wouldn't say it's weird. Wherever we play we're going to play. Being in New Orleans does play a big factor, but we're just going to go out there and do our job, but when we get back. We know how the crowds are going to be."
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston
One of the things you talked about before the last preseason game was getting back to leading the pack. Does it feel different now that you have been named the starting quarterback?
"First off, I have something on my heart. I want to say thank you to all the first responders, the people on the ground right now, and all the people in the grassroots organizations working in New Orleans to help our city be resilient. New Orleans, I know we've been through this before, but our culture is strong, and we are going to feed off of this adversity to make us stronger. We are with you. Everybody in Louisiana, we are with you. We're going to represent you. Second thing is, everybody in the Florida/Gulf Coast area, come to the game to support us if you can make it. If you're in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, North Florida, South Florida, wherever. We need all of our Saints fans out there to represent us because we're together. Back to your question, it's just fun. It's a blessing to have the opportunity to lead the pack. I'm just grateful for it. It has been more than a year removed from me having the opportunity (to be a starter). I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm blessed and grateful."
What's it like preparing for the first game? Have you thought about how it will feel to run out the tunnel as a starter again?
"Well, it's just about consistent preparation. That's the first thing. The game is going to be the most exciting part. Winning will be the most exciting part. We've been in this situation before. It's exciting for the young rookies running out the tunnel. I wish we were running out the tunnel in the (Caesars) Superdome, but I'm excited to play against another opponent for four quarters and play some good football."
How did it feel to find out you won the starting quarterback competition?
"It felt great. I think through the whole training camp, all 79 guys made each other better. This team grew while we were competing. I was blessed to get the nod and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for my teammates for pushing me, I'm grateful to Taysom for pushing me, and for us helping each other to get better."
What's the next step from here now that you have secured the starting quarterback job?
"Consistent preparation. That is all I am focused on. We are preparing for the Green Bay Packers. We have a lot of stuff going on, but have to be consistent in our preparation. Our day to day (preparation) has to be the same. We cannot lose focus. We need to be ready to go out there and play and give our best efforts."
Is it difficult to focus during football in times like these when so much is going on back home in New Orleans?
"I think it's more difficult for the people actually going through a lot right now. We were blessed this organization allowed us to relocate to Dallas. That's why I called out Louisiana and the South earlier. They are being resilient and persevering right now. We have to do the same. There's a lot more people that are in way more difficult situations than we are in. We're blessed because we get to go out and play a game we love. The majority of us have our families here with us. We're praying that other people and their families are safe and secure in New Orleans. Our objective is to go out and bring some excitement to the city of New Orleans by going out there (Sunday) and winning a football game. That would do a lot (for the city)."
Did your family come with you to Texas?
"Yes, they did."
What has this week been like having your family with you in one hotel room, and also all the other families staying in the hotel with the team?
"I think last week, when we were all in Dallas before cuts, we had a chance to grow as a team. I don't remember ever in my career being able to meet so many different teammates wives, girlfriends, and children. That camaraderie brought us closer. Even having the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our families to the organization's staff and getting to meet their kids and their husbands and wives. I think that was a great opportunity for us to grow closer together. That's why I keep relating it to what's going on back home in New Orleans. I think it's a great opportunity for all of us to grow closer together by supporting each other and persevering through this."
I know your foundation has been doing a lot of work in New Orleans. That's something you did a lot of in Tampa Bay, why is helping your community so important to you?
"We have this platform. I know how it feels growing up in a huge house. I had about 20 cousins and aunties running around the house. I know what the concept of family is. The more you can get together and help build each other up, the better you're going to be and the stronger you're going to be. That's why I take pride in uplifting the community. God gave me this platform, so I have to use it. I have to support those in need, and a lot of people are (in need)."
Can you describe what the foundation has done back in New Orleans?
"Dropping off generators, waters to first responders and rec centers around the New Orleans area. We brought cooling stations as well. American Trail has been doing a great job of finding cooling stations for the general populations. We're working with World Central Kitchen to drop off hot, prepared food around the city. I think it's been a community effort and we've been doing any little thing we can. Some of the captains on the team, Alvin Kamara, Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, Terron Armstead, Malcolm Jenkins and myself, we teamed up with United Way. We believe in their brand, and they have a lot of people on the ground right now in New Orleans to get things moving for us. We know we have to focus on this game, but there are other elite professionals out there that our built to do this (help communities). We want to support them as much as we can and focus what we need to focus on so we can bring some excitement back to the city."
Did you say you were selected as a captain?
"I said Demario, Terron, Alvin, Malcolm, Cam, and myself got together to make the decision to team up with United Way."
Did you personally go back to New Orleans to help out with Ida relief during your time off?
"No ma'am. I went back Tampa and then straight to Dallas. I haven't had the chance to go back, but a couple members from my foundation went to New Orleans to support on my behalf."
What did your foundation members tell you about what they saw in New Orleans?
"Well, obviously they said there's a lot of people in need. They were just happy they were able to lend a helping hand. I think that's the biggest thing. Everyone's staying optimistic supporting those in need and continuing to push forward."
You weren't with the Saints two years ago practicing at the University of Washington. How has this set up been at TCU practicing at college facilities with a full NFL roster and staff?
"I think Coach Payton and our operations guys have done a phenomenal job of bringing us closer together. Our focus is on the Green Bay Packers. At the end of the day, we get to play some football, line up against another opponent, and play great football for four quarters, maybe even five or six. I think they're doing regular season overtimes. We're just excited, ready to compete and play our best football."
You played against Alvin Kamara for years during your time in Tampa Bay, what's one thing that you didn't know about Alvin prior to your time with the Saints?
"I think he is one of the smartest football players I have been with at the running back position. When you're a quarterback and you have a guy that knows his job like the back of his hand when he's as electric as he is, it just gives you a peace of mind. It is calming to know you have a guy right next to you that's willing and able to do anything that the team needs him to do."