New Orleans Saints Offensive Lineman James Hurst
Post Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
How do you feel like things went for you last week?
"I feel like they went well. We won, that's the most important thing. Every week it's what we're all focused on. So just coming in and doing your part whatever that is each game that's what the job is and I feel like I played well enough to get the job done and so I'm excited about that."
How do you prepare each week? Do you prepare like it's going to be the week every time?
"Yeah, you have to. If you don't, you find yourself in a pretty bad situation so just understanding the rotation each week, who's going to be up for the game. Some people may be out or some people go down during the game so just understanding what could happen on game day and making sure you're prepared to go in at whatever spot that could be."
How much time do you take in the versatility of being able to play being able to play guard, being able to play tackle, being able to play the (jumbo) tight end?
"It's really a cliché phrase, but you know the more you can do it's best for your job so I think a lot of pride in that. I've had a lot opportunities over my career to play different spots and I know that the coaches are looking for guys that they can trust and that's what I want to be. That's the type of player I want to be. So making sure my preparation each week, in the film room, the game plan, the weight room, the training room, all the parts of it, they have to be there in order to be ready to play on Sunday. I take a lot of pride in that and look forward to the challenge of that of maybe a lot of weeks you don't know where you might end up playing on Sunday and just going in and doing the best you can."
How much work, preparation are you able to get in any position to prepare?
"Yeah, you receive as many as you can. We've only got so many reps every single day in practice. But understanding how many reps you have and how you divide those reps and where you feel like if you don't feel as comfortable at a certain position making sure that you get those reps and our coaches do a great job of understanding that as well. Making everyone aware of the game plan and the substitutions and really it comes down to you have got to put yourself in the spot, you have got to make sure you get those reps so on Sunday, whatever spot you might end up in, you are going to be comfortable there."
How have you been able to train that mindset? I'm assuming like high school, college you're kind of the starter the whole way.
"Yeah, definitely. That was a big transition and early in my career, it's actually my rookie year I learned the hard way what that's like not preparing enough at a certain position and then going in on Sunday and feeling like, oh man, I don't feel good at this or this isn't what I'm used to. So I learned the hard way, but after that everyone gets baptized by fire at some point and that was it for me. So after that just learning that in practice you've got to, like I said earlier, you've got to switch up where you're going. If you're in charge of backing up two positions, you've got to play two positions in practice. That's just how it is, that's part of your job. So understanding that each week, what that looks like and that can change and what it looks like and just putting yourself in that position so when you go in you're comfortable and the guy next to you trusts you that you're going to get the job done and you're going to play as well as you can."
Does anything change for you when you see Terron (Armstead) heading for the tunnel when he got hurt?
"Yeah, absolutely. A situation like that, yeah, you see him go to the tunnel, you have to tell yourself that he's probably not coming back this game so that just allows you to fully lock in that game that left tackle and here's my assignment, here's the guys that I'm going to be blocking, here's the certain plays that we might have in this week that could I could have some different rules. So it's all of that that goes into it, but yeah, as soon as you see a guy go down that you're backing out, you've just got to fully lock in and say, 'Hey, here we go. We're playing the rest of this game, whatever that is.'"
When you guys are running the ball well, how would you describe it? Is it just fun to see those results?
"Yeah, it's a ton of fun. As offensive linemen, running the ball, we are the aggressors, we are setting and changing the line of scrimmage, and everyone looks forward to that and especially on this team. We take so much pride in that. We have unbelievable running backs. We have great play calling that's going to put us in situations to make our blocks easier so I'm so grateful for that. But most importantly, we have the want to in the room and on Sunday you've got to go out there and you have to impose your will on the opponent. That is what it comes down to. It is me or him, that is how it is every single play. And we look forward to that and then obviously when you're having success, it is fun and you know it is going to get called more and so it kind of builds on itself."
When you watch the game tapes, how good is Ryan Ramczyk in that kind of game plan with his abilities in the run game?
"He's unbelievable. I've played with some good tackles. Ronnie Stanley, Orlando Brown in the past and obviously here, Terron (Armstead) and Ram (Ryan Ramczyk). Ram is unbelievable. He can do it all. Run block, pass block, screens you name it, he's on top of it we're really lucky to have a guy like that on our team for sure."
What is it about him? Like if there was one skill you said that he has a level other guys don't have?
"Yeah, that's a tough question. I think the thing maybe I first noticed when I watched him on film consistently would be his flexibility. I mean he can play with great pad level, with great knee bend and be strong throughout all those positions. That's such a difficult thing to do. It's easy to say, 'Oh let me stretch more and I'll be more flexible.' But at the end of the day you have to be strong in those tough and those awkward positions and that's what he can do such a good job of doing is a play that some guys might fall or might trip, he doesn't. He's got the balance and the strength and flexibility to push through and to win the block."
How nice is it to be back after being gone for a month?
"It's unbelievable. When we landed in New Orleans from Boston, the pilot or the flight attendant, she said, 'Welcome back to New Orleans.' And the whole plane just erupted. So everyone's excited. Everyone's so excited to be back, to be in the city, to be amongst the people of the city that love us so much, to help out where we can but also to be back in this building with all the resources that Mrs. B (Benson) has given us. It is just great to be back and to be able to take advantage of all our recovery, all of our cryo, all of our hot tubs, cold tubs you name it, we have got everything here. So just be able to be back and establish our routine and to get going into this marathon, it's a great feeling."
What was it like being back in the city the last two days? What was the first thing that you did when you got back to your place?
"Honestly, the first thing that I did the next morning when I woke up was went to a coffee shop, I'm really into the coffee so there's a local coffee shop that I drove five minutes to, got a cup, talked to the guy for a bit. But yeah, it just feels great. It was a really tough situation, there's a lot of damage, a lot of (people) affected, I mean, in tough ways, but you can feel the hope. It's coming back for sure and so just to be a part of that and to know that we play such a big role in the city. Everyone's looking to us, looking to us for hope and Demario (Davis) mentioned in his pregame speech that all eyes are on us and we hold so much hope in our hands, just the way we play and the way we perform. Just taking that on our backs and knowing that that's a challenge but that's something that we really look forward to."
Was your place okay?
"Yeah, yeah all good."
What are you expecting the Caesars Superdome to be like on Sunday?
"Yeah. Man, I can't wait. It'll be the first time for me on the right team. I've played here twice on the wrong team and it was rough so I'm really excited for it. I know it's going to be great just having everyone back. I know everyone's going to be really excited and we just want to go out and win and make it a fun environment."
Was it tough because of how the game went or just because of the environment in general?
"Just the environment in general. I mean, it's, yeah, it's just miserable, especially when you're out there on offense. You can't hear a word. You better hope there's no audible, no check, no nothing because you won't hear it in any way, so yeah. I'm just looking forward to being on the right side of that this time."
You mentioned the run game and imposing your will, can you feel it when you're taking somebodies will out of them when you guys are running the ball?
"Yeah, definitely so. I mean, those long drives, it's tough, you can feel those guys wearing down and that's part of the game and that's part of running the football well is wearing down your opponent. Not just physically, obviously, physically, they will be a little more tired, but mentally, too. It is so important to establish the run game because you feel like it gives you more of a sense of control, of, 'Hey, we've got this, we can run the ball.' And on top of that, things really start to click everywhere else, play action, deep passes, all that stuff, they kind of run together."
Will Clapp was back at practice today, just how good is that getting somebody back from injury?
"That's always great. It's always a boon to everyone's confidence. It is encouraging. (You) Hate to see guys go down, but he's back, he's happy, I know we're happy. We are a better team for it. So yeah, it's good to see him."
When you guys leave and you don't know how long you're going to be gone for, when you're coming back, how do you compartmentalize all that, not necessarily just football, but your life?
"You take it day to day. I think that's the first thing you do. You take it day to day, you have got to be where your feet are. So every day you wake up and each day presents its own challenge, whether that's game planning, whether that's playing the game, whether that's recovery day early in the week, whatever that may be, you have just got to take it day by day. And that is what we did. Being on the road there are pros and cons. It can be tough. Some guys are away from the family or some guys are living in a hotel room with their families which might not be an ideal situation, but you just get through it. At the end of the day you probably have a little less distractions at times. You're in a hotel, you go to the meeting room, you go to practice and you just roll and you're in that routine. Like I said earlier, it's good to be back here and get on our own routines again."
When you're in that routine, do you at all check on things back here?
"Yeah, definitely. I mean, we're still living live for sure and there are things off the field that we have to pay attention to. So being in contact, we rent here so being in contact with our landlord that was important just asking how things are. The whole power situation obviously that affected everybody. Just staying on top of those things, but keeping the main thing the main thing and that was preparing. We were in Dallas so we had to be in Dallas on the game plan and get ready to play those opponents."
Playing at home in really the first true home environment, how much did you miss not having to deal with the noise?
"Yeah, it's a great feeling. I mean, obviously in a sense that's advantage offense, right? You can hear, you can check, you can use cadence, all those things that come with it. So it's just getting used to that. The first game was a semi home game I guess, more of a neutral side I felt like so we got a little taste of that. But yeah, not being on the road, not having a true away game and then adding on top of that, hey, we're playing in the dome so there's nothing like it. It's a big boon for us and we're really really excited."
Is the Giants win-loss record a topic of any kind?
"No, I mean, it's week four now, we're going into week four. It doesn't matter, there's so much that is going to happen from today to week 17 or whatever that is, teams are going to look vastly different. So the win-loss records right now, they are pretty irrelevant. You just look on the film and you know what type of team you're playing and that's really what it comes down to. You know the plays they're making and the situations they're in and the games they've been in and they have been in close ones. So obviously, they're not going out there and getting blown out there. They're playing to the wire for sure. So we know that and we know what kind of team we're going to be up against and it's going to be a challenge."
New Orleans Saints Linebacker Pete Werner
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
How was it making your NFL debut?
"I felt great I was very excited, very happy out there on the field. It seemed like everything I went through kind of watching the game from sideline those first few weeks, so it felt great to get out there. Gillette stadium was packed, it was a great environment so I was just happy to go out there alongside a great defense and played well. It felt great!"
Was it frustrating getting injured and missing the first few games?
"Yeah, it was very frustrating. I just knew in my head that I have to stay positive, as positive as possible because I was never used to an injury all throughout college and never had a big one, never missed a snap so it was new for me so I had to change my mindset and I had to just think of everything positive and tried to get away from that injury mindset. Okay it's an injury, but I have to find a way to get back on this field so that's the transition I had."
How did you think you played?
"I thought I played well it was a good first step. Obviously there's corrections every single game, but I thought it was a great first step and obviously we're going to move ahead in a positive direction going forward."
What was it like flying back from Boston after being away for so long?
"I was so excited to get back to see my place, stay in my own bed. I was thankful to stay in a nice environment there in Dallas, but definitely after a win there and flying back home now, It felt great and you can just see the vibe on the team is just so much happier going through. (We were) very excited flying back to Boston get here."
What was the first thing you did when you got back to New Orleans?
"When I first got back there was a nasty smell in my room, it was disgusting. I cleaned my place took, that about four hours and went on Amazon got a bunch of candles and stuff like that so the room smelled a little bit better now so we are good in that spot. That was the first thing I did when I got back. I walked in my room I was like this can't work."
What was the smell coming from?
"I have a balcony at my place, but I had a little trash, but nothing smelled in it. I was trying to find out what it was because everything in my fridge was close container, but there was a weird smell so I had to get a Swiffer and swept around the floors and it was a process, but I'll go back to my place after today and it'll smell good so it was good. It took a while."
So the smell wasn't from the fridge?
"I don't think so. It might have been something with the trash, but I threw everything away. It was kind of just like a nervous, like this is crazy I have to get out of this."
Does it still smell?
"No it's smells good now so we're good."
With the atmosphere of the crowd expected to be crazy, does the team still have the same mindset going into this game?
"We have the same mindset going forward every single game. Obviously, it's a plus to play in the Superdome. But me personally I've never really seen the Superdome go crazy or anything like that. We had a preseason game, but I'm looking forward to it and we're going to be very excited. But going into every single game we always got the same mindset regardless of where we're playing, maybe some advantages in that aspect, but same mindset the coaches are continuing to (preach). (We were) stuck in those environments in Dallas, but we're honestly thankful for it because we can kind of hold that adversity that we had then use it to our advantage now."
Did it help your confidence getting that first game under your belt?
"Yeah, well, I knew I could. I had confidence that I knew I could before I just had to go out there and prove it and trust my instincts and trust my ability, but that's the confidence that I built throughout practice and getting back throughout these injuries. But I had the confidence and it was there, but after making that first play it builds up and up and then you're like, alright let's do this, let's go."
What scent were the candles you lit at your house?
"I have a lavender one and (maybe) mahogany, I know lavender, I forget the other one, but it smells good. It was a good pick. I'm a big lavender guy though, I've always gone with that."
How would you describe the vibe of playing on the Saints defensive unit?
"Yeah, I mean we mentioned juice boys earlier that's what I kind of feel out there. A lot of juice, you make a play, you are recognized for it. I remember making a tackle out there and Demario's (Davis) coming up to me hugging me and you just feel great to play out there. There's so much energy and they're just a surrounding atmosphere that everybody wants to strive to like get towards, to get on the field. But it's a great feeling going out there with a lot of guys with a similar mindset ready to say we're not going to get the ball past this line of scrimmage. I mean we got to defend the pass, we got to defend the run and I feel like everybody has this similar mindset so it's fun to get out there and play with guys with that similar mindset."
What's it like watching Demario Davis play?
"I've never been around anybody like him. He's a guy that you can learn a lot from, very intense, but he's a guy that you'd like to pick his brain and strive to be somebody like that one day. But I learned a lot from that guy, he's very good leader. He does a lot for this defense so just kind of sticking around him is kind of the way to go."
Does he play like a 32 year old?
"No, he doesn't. He's probably, he says he is, he's probably the most athletic guy in our linebacker room. He does not look like he's played 10 or so years and he does a lot for his body. He's a big time player, big time athlete."
How was it starting a season with the evacuating from Hurricane Ida?
"I am not used to anything else, so I am kind of just going with the flow. Obviously something tragic like that happens and I've never had a year under my belt so I don't know what else is the way to go. Like I just don't know. So I get drawn to Dallas and at the time is like okay, this is what I got to do. So I don't know any different, but it does feel a little bit weird. We talked about going back to OTAs, Mini-camp, all that stuff and then all of a sudden the first little bit of our season we're not even home, we're not even practicing at our place. So now we're happy to get back. But yeah, it felt a little bit different. But then again, I'm still this young guy that's trying to find his way."
What did it feel like being in the practice facility today?
"It felt great, energy was up. You could tell everybody was like pretty chilled out. We just felt we're home. We still got that hunger, that hungry mindset. But everybody just felt comfortable, very happy. The mood was up, positive vibes."
New Orleans Saints Linebacker Andrew Dowell
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Can you walk us through the play you made on special teams Sunday?
"Yeah, it was a blocked punt. It was a surreal feeling and a feeling like no other. I just had an up and under on the wing, laid out, and blocked the ball. That was something that we watched and studied in film. It was crazy. Coach (Darren Rizzi) came up to me after (the game) and said the Patriots haven't had a punt blocked in six years, so it was a real special feeling.
Have you ever blocked a punt before?
Was that play something you guys diagrammed and schemed up during the week?
"Yeah, Coach Rizzi is always having us watch the film. We're always looking for opportunities that may arise. That opportunity rose for me, and I made the play."
Did a Patriots coach come up to you after the game and tell you that they haven't had a punt blocked in six years?
"No, that was Coach Rizzi that came up to me after."
How did that conversation go with Coach Rizzi after the game Sunday?
"He was kind of just speaking to me, saying that rush I had (against New England) was the same rush I've been working on with the practice squad since 2019. To get one in the game (blocked punt) was a full circle moment for me, so he was just telling me that the work I've put in is the reason I had the opportunity to make that play and to continue that work."
Was it just you beating the guy one on one?
"Yes, we had a schemed-up rush. Me and 38 (Jeff Heath) had a schemed-up rush. I went up and under, he went over and around there. That was schemed up by (Coach) Rizzi and we executed the play."
Did the up back not block you on that play? It looked like you almost went untouched.
"Yeah, he was kick-setting. I saw one of the tackles turn around and he knew something was messed up. The other (tackle) had already released to go down field. It was them messing up but also credit to us for taking advantage of it."
Was that tendency the one diagrammed in the schemes?
"Yeah, that's one of the looks you can give. If that tackle comes out of there and the wing doesn't block number one, that's the opportunity you can have. It was great to see that (blocked punt) come through."
What do you think the reason is for the Saints success in blocking punts and kicks over the last five or six years?
"I think our special teams coach, Coach (Daren) Rizzi, is really passionate about our special teams. We pride ourselves on our breakdown of the 1/11, which is the breakdown of everyone doing their job within the scheme so the entire unit can benefit, whether it's in the return game or the punt block game. Getting our hands on the ball is what we pride ourselves on with trying to be the best special teams unit in the NFL."
How much time do you guys devote to special teams in practice?
"Yeah, we devote tons of practice time watching all of the film they (Coach Rizzi and Coach Phil Galiano) put up together. They prepare us well each week to go out there and make plays."
What was it like being back in New Orleans for the first time in a month and what was the first thing you did?
"It was a great feeling. The first thing I did is that I went to get a sectional couch. I got my sectional couch and put my feet up. In Dallas, we adjusted to what it was, but it's great to be back home in the city around the fans. Getting back to our routine is the biggest thing."
Pete Werner said he had a pretty big cleanup in his home. Did you avoid a situation like that?
"Yeah, it wasn't too bad at my apartment. I know the apartment crew went through and cleaned people's refrigerators. The damage that I had to deal with wasn't too bad compared to other people in the city."
Did you know about any of the preparation process to prepare for a hurricane before Ida hit and you guys left town?
"Not really. From our perspective, at one minute we were preparing for our last preseason game, and for a guy like me, all in on the preseason games to try and make the team, all of a sudden that game (Arizona) was canceled and next thing you know we're traveling (to Dallas). Just learning the (Gulf Coast) region, I think it was another opportunity to learn about that. But no, it wasn't necessarily something that I was prepared for. It's a lot for the people down here to go through. I think it speaks to the resiliency of the city for these (hurricanes) to potentially be a yearly thing. It's a little different for us, but this city's resilience is amazing."
Were you worried about not making the roster after not being able to play the last preseason game?
"I think as a ballplayer and competitor, you want as many reps as possible. That was one of those things for me and another opportunity for me to build on what I had done so far. I was looking forward to that. Anytime there's another game that you're expecting and then you don't play in, you're bummed about it, but it all played out well in the end."
Did you get to keep the ball from your blocked punt against New England?
"I should have gone and found the ball, but at the time I was too busy celebrating with Demario (Davis). I didn't think about it until later. We were doing our 'Juice Boys' thing, but next time I'll definitely keep the ball."
What does the 'Juice Boys' mean to you?
"I think every position group needs an identity. For the linebackers, that has become our identity. Demario coined it and we all support it. Now, the entire defense is asking if they can be a 'Juice Boy'. Even some offensive guys are asking as well, so it's become a calling card of ours and it's something we're proud of and stand behind."
Pete Werner said being a 'Juice Boy' is a lifestyle. Would you agree with that?
"I like that. That's funny that Pete would say that it's a lifestyle, but yeah it's something that we're rocking with."
What do you mean by that?
"Sometimes you'll get a lively Pete (Werner) but other times you will get a calm Pete. So, it's funny that he would claim the 'Juice Boys' as his lifestyle. I would say that the person that emulates the 'Juice Boys' lifestyle the most is Kwon (Alexander). He's a guy, even now that he's sidelined, who is very energetic. We have a good nucleus of a group who all knows how to play their role. Kwon is a 'Juice Boy' for sure."
Did you ever determine a winner for the takeaway challenge in training camp?
"Yeah, I ended up winning the production points. I won that, Demario (Davis) was second, and Grandy (Carl Granderson) finished third. That was a nice little checkmark for me. When DA (Dennis Allen) announced that, he said "What you get for winning is a nice pat on the back". We're always on to the next thing. It was cool, though."
How much attention did you pay to what was going on down in New Orleans post-Ida while you guys were in Dallas?
"Yeah, it is about being in tune with what's going on no matter what's going on out on the football field. Even though we're football players, we can't be tone deaf to what your family or your city is going through. My girlfriend is from Louisiana, so she keeps me up to date on what's going on and how things are impacting the city as well. No matter what you have going on in your life, you can never become tone-deaf to the big picture of things."
What exactly did they clean out of your fridge? Just basic items?
"Well, right before the end of training camp I had a bunch of nice steaks that my agent sent to me. So, I had a bunch of meat in the fridge that the apartment crew had to clean out before the hurricane so there were no big smells or anything like that."
What happened to the steaks?
"I think they threw them out. Those were some top tier steaks, too."
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Can you talk about the excitement of the team returning to New Orleans after the game on Sunday? Maybe reiterate the excitement that James Hurst talked about on the airplane ride out of New England on Sunday?
"I think with a what a lot of people, especially in this community over the past month has been a lot. In terms of us, relocating, obviously some of us are very fortunate. Things didn't happen to a lot of our houses, but we still dealt with it. I think it was a breath of fresh air. I picked up my care at (the) Loews and drove back home to my family, versus driving back to the hotel room or having to get a new key. It was a very homey. The first thing I thought about is that we have a home game in the Superdome, that was the first thing that I thought about, riding past the Loews, riding past the Caesars Superdome, we are back in our city. That's what hit me. Honestly on the plane ride, I thought about coming home and then I closed my eyes. But when we got here, I picked up my car, driving seeing roof tarps on the side of the road, seeing trees on the side of the road, people's fences down. On Airline, there is an Exxon just hanging to the side. Seeing the resilience that the city had endured, even as a team we endured so much being away from our families. It's kind of like an extended training camp and coming back home. We're just excited to be here and excited to be playing in front of our fans."
What are you looking forward to most from Sunday of finally having the Saints fan base behind you, obviously having been on the other end of them in Tampa in the Caesars Superdome?
"You said it perfectly. Just having everybody electric in that Superdome, I think we feed off of that. I remember being on the other side, going against these things and I know how much an impact that affected our team. So, I just think this community embraces and loves football more than a lot of communities. The community that I've been a part of (Alabama), it's a culture. As a kid growing up in Alabama, I know about the Saints. I know how they live and breath football down here."
After being on the opposite sideline as the road team, what is it like being on the home sideline?
"It's difficult, just because they get into it. We have great fans. We have very maniacal fans. Some people (teams) you have tough fans (to get into it). But our fans just want to see the Saints win period. They're not into throwing things at the players or doing wild stuff. They're just about who's winning at the end of the day, we're winning and we're saying Who Dat all day long. I've experienced the good side and the bad side of that. I'm very happy to be experiencing what our fans are about."
I know you're biased now but is that stadium among the loudest on a volume rating from the places you have played at as a visiting quarterback?
"Without a doubt. It's definitely the loudest place I've been at. '18 I wasn't there, but '17 when this place was rolling, when it was rocking, oh my gosh, it was unbelievable."
I know that when the mayor had a press conference a couple weeks ago, she thanked you for some of the financial and on the ground assistance your foundation provided. Have others if you've seen them in person thanked you for your efforts? Have you talked to people in the community just being up and around?
"Not really, I've still stuck with my same schedule of being in this building, still preparing week in and week out. I'm sure I'll get out and be able to share a few words with some of the people in the community. That was just from the heart. I know so many people were going through so many things and I think mayor Cantrell did an excellent job of providing resources and opportunities for people to have a safe haven in this city. I'm thankful for her for allowing me to lend a helping hand, but I think one thing that this city has loved is us winning those two games and I think they're very excited for us to be coming back home and I know that's going to do a lot for the city to be able to swarm that dome and support us."
Do you have a sense of normalcy going into your own meeting rooms, your own locker rooms? Does that help you get back into a routine of feeling normal again?
"Absolutely, you're able to establish a good foundation and be efficient with your time and just keep the main thing the main thing for the most part. You aren't worrying about long bus rides or anything of that nature. I'm not going to rehash of that experience in Dallas. I was very thankful that this organization was able to provide us with a place for us to escape and be able to still focus on football. I'm very thankful for that, but I'm more thankful for these very nice facilities that we have here, get in the weight room anytime we want here, going to talk to our lunch personnel anytime we want to. I'm just very excited to be here and I'm grateful."
When you threw the pass to Marquez Callaway in the end zone for a touchdown and almost got sacked, coach Payton didn't all that excited about it when they cut to a shot on the sideline. Did you guys have a discussion?
"Yes, we were actually watching it again at that time, he just talked about that we can't live with those decisions. When we saw it again, he saw that he (Callaway) was the only one that could have caught that ball. I think the biggest is someone's wrapped around me. That was God's plan, but we can't live with making those decisions all the time, but Marquez went out and did his job, he went up there, I gave him a chance, an opportunity and he went up there and caught that ball for us."
Now that you are in a different role now here, what has changed?
"The biggest thing is being a part of this organization, being embraced by this team, having people all around you that are great teammates. We have a great defense. We have a great offensive line. We have one of the best, if not the best running back in the league, so me just doing what I need to do, doing my job, making sure I get the ball to guys, making plays when I need to make plays and letting things come to me."
Granted the team ran the ball 38 times Sunday, but is it different for you in this offense where maybe you don't have a mindset that you have to do everything. Running the ball 38 times obviously put it on somebody else. Is that a change for you mentally in the game, maybe being less aggressive than you were in the past?
"I think the biggest thing is remaining efficient. When I have the opportunity to make a play, I make sure I make that play. That's something that I continue to work on in this offense. When we have opportunities to make a big play, make sure I execute on that, but we know that this team has an excellent offensive line. We know that we're blessed by having Alvin Kamara in the backfield. That's a good thing for a quarterback in any room. That's the best part of our team, so why not give those guys that opportunity. I just need to do my job when the opportunity presents itself, kind of like we did on that last drive. When that last drive came, we needed to score and we found a way to make it happen as a team."
So you're okay if you're only throwing 20 times a game?
"I'm okay when we're winning. I think that's the biggest thing about this business. I'm a selfish winner. I want to win, anyway that makeup happens and we are winning games on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, I'm definitely a fan of that."
Going back to Sunday and Monday when you got home, what were one of the first things that you did?
"The biggest thing is taking my son to school, spending time with him, waking up with him in the morning, letting my wife get some extra sleep, picking up my baby boy, walking with him downstairs, things that I couldn't really do at the hotel. Because we were waking up and walking downstairs at the hotel for a meeting. Being able to spend some time with my wife. Being able to take here to dinner on Monday night. That was just good for me to get back into that atmosphere. I know that our wives, they've been through a lot. They've been by themselves a lot. My wife was in Dallas some, back and forth to New Orleans, so I'm just thankful for her and how resilient she was during that time. That was the biggest thing, trying to help out around the house."
Explain what it meant to see her and your family?
"They came to Dallas some, but I just think being in your home. There ain't no place like home. That was just a great feeling."
Was there anything about the last month that changed your thought process?
"Anytime that you are able to experience something emotional with a teammate or a city, it sticks. I think over the past month, us getting those victories, it really helped this city out. I wasn't able to see it firsthand how it helped, but I know that a lot of people, even if they can't watch it (due to issues), hearing that their team won, especially the first week, beating the Green Bay Packers, I know that meant a lot to this city. Because I know a lot of people wanted to be at that game, I know it hurt them that they weren't able to be in the dome and witness that. So, I think that's the biggest thing. This city's kind of been living through us, through our successes on the field and that's what we've been doing it for. We've been doing it to create some smiles in these communities and be uplifting anyway we can. Because we can't be (directly) on the ground right now working day in and day out in the city."
Was that something you felt a responsibility toward on gameday?
"Absolutely, because I think these fans are all in. That's the beautiful thing about football and sports in general. It allows people to escape and be all in to their favorite team. No matter what's going on, they're able to look up, look at the score of their favorite team and (see a win). I think that warm's anyone's heart."
The Giants are 0-3 but do you look at it as a top defense you are facing this weekend?
"Absolutely, we take nobody lightly. We look at this defense the past three games, they are in the games, they are keeping their team in the game. They have a great defensive line. They have a cornerback that I've been playing against since I've been five years old in James Bradberry, so I know he's legit. They have a great secondary. A young Xavier McKinney, a playmaker in Jabril Peppers and a very smart, saavy veteran in Logan Ryan. So, we know they are going to play really good defense, make us have to take what's there. They're going to be ready."
What is your personal familiarity with Bradberry?
"He is from my rival (high school). I went to Hueytown, he went to Pleasant Grove. We've been playing against each other since literally little league."
"He played little league baseball. I probably did strike him out a lot (laughter). We've been battling for a long time. He's always been a superstar."
Going back to the touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway, in week one one of the touchdowns to Juwan Johnson was kind of similar. Where do you draw the line of when to make a throw?
"When you watch the film and see if our guy was the only one that had a chance at the ball and that was the case in both scenarios. Sometimes those plays are going to happen. Drew (Brees) made some plays where he would make somebody miss, he's falling down and make a great shot back in the end zone. Those plays are going to happen. Obviously when those plays happen, everybody holds their breath. When they go good, they go great, but we want to try to eliminate them going bad."
You say you want to eliminate them going back, if you had the throw again would you do the same thing?
"Absolutely, I'm throwing it. I'm throwing it again. I probably try to throw it a little higher. It's third down. We have a field goal in the bag as long as I don't give their defense an opportunity to catch the ball, it's a good decision, because it's third and ten and we're kicking a field goal or scoring a touchdown. That time it was a touchdown. But we're not going to make a living throwing the football up."
After the game, I thought you said you were trying to throw it away, was that not the case?
"Yes, but it was in the same spot, When you're throwing it away you're giving your guy an opportunity to catch the ball or not."
Will there be a time this year when you cut loose like the old days?
"Yes, when the opportunity presents itself. It's going to happen, but as long as we are efficient, taking care of the ball and establishing the run game, that's how we got both of these wins."
Is that patience of being able to wait for that different for you than years ago. Were you overanxious five years ago and is patience something you learned?
"It's something I learned, but it's also just the buildup of this team, having a top five defense, having a prominent runner in Alvin (Kamara), having one of the best offensive lines in this league. That's the makeup of how it is. When you're standing ahead of the chains in the running game, that's how it is. I remember my rookie year with Doug Martin, we ran the ball a lot. That's how some of my yards came in. In the NFL, you wan to establish a run game. That really wears down a defense, think about the time of possession. The more we're keeping and possessing the ball and scoring, the more chances we have to win."
Have you been on a team since high school where you didn't have to air it out?
"No, coach is teaching me a new way to win. He's showing me how it will be a different gameplan every week to win and I think that's why I love coach Payton. He knows what it takes every single week to win the game and that's how we've been doing it, the two games we have won. I'm perfectly fine, as long as we're winning and being efficient, controlling the line of scrimmage and playing good defense, I'm perfectly fine with that. It is different. It's different, but it's worth it."
This might be the first time in your career you come off the field for an offensive play with Taysom Hill. Is that an adjustment?
"I think when you have a player as talented as Taysom Hill, he has a significant role on this team as well. So I'm just another bird on the team. I'm a quarterback, but I know this team has a makeup that's very unique. We have a player like him who is very diverse and can do everything. We have a player like Alvin (Kamara) who touches the passing game and the running game and we have some receivers that are going to be coming back very soon that are very dynamic in their way as well. I know once we get all our pieces together it makes it very tough on an opposing team. That's definitely a blessing to be able to be a part of such a masterpiece that coach Payton and our coaches work so hard on day in and day out."