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Saints transcripts: Mark Ingram II and Taysom Hill Media Availability | Tuesday, Nov. 30

Players look ahead to Thursday matchup against the Cowboys

New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram II
Media Availability
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

How tough was it sitting out the game last week?
"Yeah, I think it's extremely difficult. I did everything I could to get myself prepared, I felt like I was in a position where I was close to being able to play. But, you know, (they) just wanted me to have a little bit more time to recover on a short week. So feel good and obviously, when you want to help your team, you know, I mean it sucks to have to watch from the sidelines and especially when you want to be able to help and you feel like you're capable of being able to help make a difference. So it sucks having to sit out and watch, but I'm healthy, I feel good and ready to go."

So you were close last week?
"Yeah, I felt like I was good to go, but it was a short week short turnaround and I think the bigger picture is being able to go the whole season and not have something just continuously nag me for the rest of the season. So I'm thankful that we have a great training staff and coaching staff who had my best interests at heart, so (I am) thankful for them."

As soon as we talked about the 18 games you got hurt?
"Yeah, bro, yes, bro. We just literally talked about it. I was like, you know, got to stay healthy God willing, and boom. So now 17 games (played) like the rest of everybody, not special."

Do you feel a different energy maybe here with guys on the team close to coming back from injury?
"Man, I think every single person on our team, we are just confident in each other, we are confident and know our guys and what we have to do to go out there and compete. And obviously when you have your guys getting healthy, and being back on the field, I think that just brings a little more urgency, a little bit more excitement. Not saying that you're less excited when you're not there, but when you get your guys healthy, and get your guys back on the field and guys are getting going. I think that makes everybody more excited. So it's good to have guys getting healthy turning the corner, because we need all hands on deck."

So you're good if you had to carry the full load this week?
"Yeah, I'm good. Like I said, I always prepare, always work, always prepare to be able to carry the load, whatever is asked of me, and confident I can do that if called upon."

How do you handle the midseason adversity the team is facing?
"Yeah, I just know what this culture and what this organization with this team is built on. It's built on tough guys, who pride themselves and preparing and plan to the best ability to help the team, you know, not being selfish. And I think when you have selfless team, a team that believes in each other, from top to bottom, the culture of this team, the fighters, overcoming adversity, the next man up attitude, next man up mentality and there's no excuses. I mean you got to be able to put your best foot forward or regardless of the circumstances. And I think that's what gives me courage and confidence with our team going forward."

Are you kind of excited to possibly see Taysom Hill return from his injury, bringing that physicality?
"I mean energy, physicality and execution that's huge. And those are three factors of the game that never changed. You got to have energy, you had to have physicality, you have to be able to execute. And Taysom is a great player, man, he brings a different dynamic to the game. But his ability to throw, his ability to run, just a special athlete, a good quarterback and obviously, if he's ready to play, I think we're all excited about that. We're excited about whoever we get to line up with and that's what we do, man, whoever is available, whoever is ready to roll, that's who we roll with it and that's who we go to fight with and that's who we try to get a win with."

Have you been on a team that went through adversity then rallied and got back on a roll?
"I think there have been a number of teams, where you might go on a little skid three games, two, four, but you just have to try to do your best to stop it, not live in the past, but focus on the next game. Focus on the next opponent and go out there and try to get that one. You have to get one before you can get two, two before you can get (to) three. We got to focus on this game, this team, this gameplan and know we just all have to go out there (and) have confidence in each other. (We) have to play to the best of our ability. You never know what play throughout the game's going to make a difference in the game. There's always a handful of plays that make a difference. So every single person has to be able to be on point, every single player, every single snap, execute at a high level because you never know when your play is going to make a difference in that game. So you just got to stay focused, got to stay encouraging each other, got to stay believing in one another and get this thing going on the right page."

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill 
Media Availability
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

How's the foot and have you needed the dry needle treatment Coach Payton talked about that he needed personally?
"I haven't done that yet. I think I'm feeling a lot better. I've learned a lot about this injury over the last little bit. I had a partial (tear), which after learning about, they said you'd rather have a full tear. I think that's been what we've been working through in terms of pain management and tolerance. That's been the challenge. I think we're just getting to the point where I'm going to be dealing with pain. It's just getting to the point where it doesn't limit functionality."

Is this something where there are some bad days even if you're a full participant in practice?
"I would say you just kind of go through practice one day, you see how you feel and you see how you feel in the morning and obviously I think it's like anything else. The more you do on it, the more sore you will be in the morning, but I would say the last couple of days I've felt pretty good.

If you had to play tonight would you be ready to go?

If you get the opportunity to play quarterback is it like picking up how to ride a big after you get off or dealing with different parts?
"I've been transparent about preparation and schedule and all that stuff so, my routine, schedule, format, all that stuff is in place and that doesn't change week to week, maybe what I'm asked to do might change. My routine doesn't."

Have you talked to people like Coach Payton or Drew Brees about how to play with the injury?
"Yes, I've had several conversations with Sean, I've had several conversations with Drew about the injury. They both have shared with me things that they did that helped them. I've certainly been doing those things. We have a great training room, so it's just staying on top of it, doing all we can to have that process of having that tissue scar up to the bone. Again, I think the last couple of days have been encouraging for me.

Do you feel as functional as before?
"I hope so. I think that's kind of a question mark, where the last two weeks have been so different for us with a Thursday to another Thursday to a Sunday, where we've been trying to limit reps, time on the field, time on your feet, all that stuff and so it's hard to simulate a game and practice, especially the last three weeks. I think so, but I really don't know because it's hard to simulate what that's going to be like."

Would the injury not be as big a deal if you weren't the type of player who runs around like he does?
"Yes, for sure. I think obviously everyone plays the game a little bit differently. I can tell you the last couple of weeks, I probably would have been limited if I had to go in and play, but we knew that going into it. So, yes for sure, I think this probably affects me more than other players."

Can you explain what your role would have been last week, where you could have played more in the pocket?
"Yes, I was there and available in case Trevor Siemian went down. So that was the plan the last couple of weeks."

Do you remember when Drew Brees had the injury?
"I remember when Drew did his. I remember exactly his movement and exactly how it happened and I had significant conversation with him afterwards. It was Drew's injury so I didn't internalize it the way I am now. I know what it feels like, the tissue, how you rehab it, all that stuff where I didn't that way before.

Do you remember how you hurt it?
"Yes, it was against Tennessee. I caught a ball and my foot was up and I went to explode forward and it popped?"

How do you view another potential opportunity to play quarterback, or do you look at it as where you need to do what's ahead of you?
"The situation for me has always been the same. The opportunities that have come my way have been so unique. So that expectation doesn't change, whether the opportunity I had week one, week two, ends up being this Thursday night and so forth and certain. I'm going to do my best to take advantage of every single opportunity and do everything I can to help us win football games."

Can you talk about the new contract?
"Obviously it's comfortable, a nice little security blanket. We play a brutal sport and the year's been a little unique for me with the games having missed with the concussion and now this. So, it's nice to have the program backing you the way that the Saints have to me, getting that new contract, knowing we're going to be here for a few years is really nice. I certainly didn't want to go anywhere else. It's comforting."

There's still a lot said about the incentives. Is it still a goal of you to be a quarterback?
"Yes, look this is my fifth year. My mindset is to take advantage of every opportunity I have. I don't know what it is week to week to week. This thing is just ever-changing and whatever that opportunity is, I'll do my best. This contract and team incentive based pay and all that stuff is the way that protects everyone."

Was it frustrating for you the last two games, being in a limited/reserve/emergency role knowing the offense has been struggling?
"Yes, it's hard being a competitive dude. You want to be out there competing and doing everything you can to win football games, so I think every time you go through situations like this and I can tell you the same thing happened when I had my concussion and the concussion was more challenging for me because I was sitting home watching the games. You realize, how much you miss it and how much the game means to you when you can't be a part of it, you can't be with your teammates out on the field doing that. So, the mindset hasn't changed. I certainly think it's a refresher to help me realize how much this game means to me."

Did anything such as injuries or the possibility to start at quarterback spur the contract extension?
"No, there was nothing in regard to that. This has been in the works for a little bit, been working through it for a while."

If you get another chance to start what are a couple of the things that you focus on doing better having learned from four starts last year?
"I can think back to last time I was playing and every one of those starts was a little bit different. Gameplan was different. I think it's having a really good understanding of what it's going to take to win each of these games. Going back to those games, each game is a little different. I think it's having a really good understanding of what it's going to take to require to win games and then do your best to fulfill that job, fulfill that gameplan to win that game. I don't have one thing that comes to mind other than that things change so significantly week to week and just do the best you can to do your job."

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