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Saints transcripts: Taysom Hill, Paulson Adebo, Marquez Callaway and James Hurst Media Availability| Wednesday, Dec. 8

Players looks ahead to Week 14 against New York  

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill
Media Availability
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How did your foot feel when you woke up on Friday morning after the Dallas game?
"Actually, it surprised me, it felt really good. This weekend with my foot was really positive. We numbed it up a little for the game and I think that had a little bit of a lasting effect throughout the weekend. Honestly, it feels really good. I feel really encouraged by it."

How much has your finger injury improved, if any?
"Yeah, look, this is just one of those things that's going to require time. So, we're going to have to keep it splinted and allow enough time for it to scar down and heal."

Were you able to get the same rotation on the football after the finger injury?
"Look, any time you have something that happens to your throwing hand, it affects things. I certainly felt it and it changed my throwing motion and what I was used to. Look, I managed, and able to do what I felt like I needed to."

What do you plan on doing this week to play with your middle finger injury?
"Yeah, it's just, look, like I said, I don't know how it's going to respond. I've got this week to figure out the best process and what is my effectiveness in doing what I need to do to help us win. It's just kind of the stage that we're in."

How effective did you feel at practice today? Did you change anything in how you deal with your finger injury?
"Yeah, look, I felt okay throwing some balls today. On Thursday, I felt like I was able to do what I needed to do. I think that will be, again, a work in progress to see what my effectiveness is. As far as what I do with a splint, tape, and all of that, we have tried a handful of things already. We'll continue to try other things and figure out what works best."

Will any weather conditions affect how you deal with your finger injury?
"Yeah, look, we'll keep an eye on the weather. I know Sean (Payton) made a comment that there was rain in the forecast (in New York on Sunday). Certainly, having a finger injury and a bad-weather game is not ideal, but we'll continue to work through that and figure out the best solution for what I'm dealing with."

Will you eventually have to get surgery on your finger?
"No. There are a couple options; you could have surgery and certainly fix it that way, or you can splint (the finger) for eight weeks and hopefully that scars down and you have the full use of your hand. We have explored multiple options and had conversations with other specialists. I think right now I am going to try to splint it and see how that goes. If you can avoid surgery, I'm certainly a fan of doing that."

Do you feel this has been a difficult year for you?
"I don't know. We've talked at length about the ups and the downs for me this year and managing expectations, disappointment, and all of that stuff. I will tell you throughout this year that I have learned that you just manage the opportunities that come your way. That's really been where my mindset has been, what can I do each week to help our team win football games and be effective? That mindset has carried me through this season. It's no different than it was last week and the previous week. Now that I've had the opportunity to play full-time quarterback, this is the next opportunity for me and I'm going to do everything I can to take advantage of that and help us win games."

Has your perspective of being hurt often while in college (BYU) help you deal with injuries in your pro career?
"I think as a football player in general, you have these moments where you realize you can't take things for granted. I certainly had a lot of those moments in college (at BYU) and a lot of those moments this year too. Obviously at the beginning of the season (quarterback competition), dealing with a concussion and missing a couple of weeks. Sitting at home watching your team play without you was one of those moments for me that made me realize you can't take these moments or your health for granted. Then, dealing with the foot injury, missing a couple more weeks, and then coming back to play full-time quarterback. Yeah, this year's been a little bit of a rollercoaster for me, physically, mentally, and all that stuff. But to answer your question, yes, my experience in college has certainly helped me manage (my perspective). This year's been no different and having moments that help you realize you can't take these moments for granted."

Is there a particular moment a couple days before a game where you go to the coaches saying you can't play?
"Look, that is a tough thing to do. I am trying to find that balance if I am being honest. I have told the coaches, 'Listen, I'm going out to play and I'm going to compete. I'm going to practice at full go this week. If you guys see something to where you feel I can't be as effective as I need to be, then I get it. I'm a team guy and willing to play in whatever capacity, whatever that looks like.' My mindset is to prepare to play at full capacity and we'll go from there. I don't know how else to approach it."

Can you still throw at full strength with the splint on your finger?
"As I said earlier, it's a work in progress. So, I'm figuring out the best process to make sure I can make all the throws I need to make. It felt pretty comfortable today making the throws I needed to make."

What are some of the positives you took away from the Dallas game?
"I think we moved the ball. I think we had almost 400 (405) yards of total offense. You look at some of those numbers and think wow, that was a positive from this game. Then you start watching the game and what happened, you realize we only put 17 points up because we had four turnovers. So, all the positives were overshadowed by the turnovers, so when we did have opportunities to score, we didn't take advantage of them. Overall, I thought our tempo was good, our guys played hard (and) with a lot of passion, and that we did a lot of things really well up front. We moved the ball, ran the ball well, but again, it's just overshadowed by the turnovers."

Did you think you had the ability to hurdle a defender after you suffered your foot injury?
"You never know. You just never know. Look, you get on the field and your instincts take over. That was one of those moments where instincts took over and, in my head, too, my foot was bothering me and all of that, but I just kept my mindset and thinking, 'Get to Thursday.' Because in my mind, your instincts and adrenaline take over once you're on the field playing and you can do the things you need to do. So, that's how I felt on Thursday."

What does your finger feel like? Does it sting or burn?
"I do not have a lot of pain in my finger. I have kept it splinted since it happened (against Dallas). But I really have not had any pain when it has been in the splint. I think the sensation from gripping the ball, throwing the ball, and all of that has been the biggest thing. As I mentioned early, it's about trying to figure out what is the best process to have (gripping the ball) feel as normal as possible. That's what we're working through right now. When you do something to your gripping or throwing hand, all of sudden things change and you're trying to adjust."

What does it feel like gripping the football right now?
"Yeah, it's a little limiting because you don't have every joint available to grip the ball, so your grip doesn't feel strong when gripping to throw the ball. So, we're trying to do things to compensate for that."

Have you found the best process to grip the football?
"I think for the options presented to me, yes, I've found the best option that's been presented. But, I know there are other ideas have been circulated about a few other options, so we'll continue to explore them."

Do you think your dual threat skills as a quarterback will help you manage your finger injury in a game?
"Well, it's certainly a different element for a defense to try to defend and stop, so I think that definitely helps. So, yeah, I think being able to run the ball really well opens up the passing game. Historically, establishing the run game will open up things down the field, so I think that helps. I'm certainly not interested in going out there and playing mediocre football. I think that's the balance right now."

If you were just a pocket passer, do you think you would still play this week?
"I don't know. I think again, if I'm not able to function as a pocket passer, it's not fair to those around me if I can't do that. I think that's just where we're at."

How important is it for you this week to prove you can play quarterback in this league?
"Look, I'm not overcomplicating anything. My mindset is far from that as possible. This is the opportunity in front of me right now. I don't care if I'm the full-time starting quarterback or playing tight end, running back, special teams, and quarterback at times, whatever it is. When I'm retired or doing whatever I'm going to do, I'm going to do it as well as I possibly can. I know what I'm capable of doing as a football player and I'm comfortable with that, so I am not overcomplicating anything. I'm just taking it one day at a time, one week at a time, and I'm going to give it my all, for whatever it is that I'm doing."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Paulson Adebo
Local Media Availability
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

What was it like getting C.J. Gardner-Johnson back at practice?
"(It's) Great man, (he) brings a lot of energy, (he's) somebody we've missed on the defense, so anytime you can get one of your players back it's a good day."

What are some of the things you see that out of the Jets and hoe they try to attack a secondary?
"They play hard. They got a lot of good players, they got good receivers. So like any week, just going to have to attack it, learn their tendencies, and then just make sure we're locked in on our details."

Did you have any predraft workouts with Elijah Moore?
"No, I didn't do any pre-draft workouts with him. But I've kept up with him as far as the kind of player he is and he's been having a good season. So (he's) definitely someone that we have to be locked in on."

Is there anything you feel about this team's winning culture with the current losing streak going on?
"Yeah, I guess you can kind of feel it. I mean, it's my first year here, so I'm still just trying to learn from the older guys and just try to take away anything that they've kind of learned throughout their careers being on a bunch of different teams. So kind of talking to the older guys and how do you come back from a situation like this, but as far as me, just trying to learn from them. I don't really have too much of a wisdom yet."

Is there anything you'd like to see the defense as a whole do better?
"I think we can do a lot of things better, I know personally, I just kind of try to focus on what I can do better, you know, looking back at the film, am I in the correct spot? Am I making all the right calls? Am I busting a coverage? Am I covering my dude every time? So I kind of just have to focus on my part of the puzzle."

Do you feel like you are fresher at this stage in the season having not played in college last season?
"I have no clue. I just try and play hard every week. I don't really know if it's helped me or hurt me. I just come to work every day. I feel great."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marquez Callaway
Media Availability
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Do you feel any added pressure this week for the receivers knowing Deonte Harris is suspended the next three weeks?
"Not really. Obviously, Deonte is a big part of our offense, so that'll hurt us. Like we've said all season, the next guy has to be able to step up. This week, Easop Winston Jr. is going to get his chance and he's been waiting all season. Him and KeiVarae Russell have been going at it on scout team and he's going to do what he can to step up. I know he's excited and I'm excited for him."

Are you going to work at punt and kick returner this week?
"Probably, knowing them."

How have you seen Lil'Jordan Humphrey progress throughout the season?
"Lil 'Jordan's always been a guy who was always ready to step in and be the guy, whether it is blocking or catching touchdowns. He was up (on the active roster) at the beginning of the season before we moved him down (to the practice squad). Every week, Coach (Curtis Johnson) would tell him to be ready. Coach always has our back and has our side, and he's told him to be ready every week and you'll never know what's going to happen. The last few weeks it has paid off for him, and I think it's showing that he can actually do it. I think the coaches now (his value) now, and they won't be afraid (to throw him the ball)."

Do you see anything behind the scenes that has changed with Lil 'Jordan's routine to help him improve?
"All of the time, whether it's in the weight room or in film, or in practice, he's always the guy that has to back up everybody and knows multiple stops. If anybody goes down, he's the guy they're going to move around and be that chess piece. He knows what he's doing, and he gets to show it on Sundays now."

How tough do you think Taysom Hill is?
"Everybody knows how tough Taysom Hill is with just being able to play all of the positions and fight through everything he's been fighting through. This season hasn't been well for us injury-wise, and you have people still playing through injuries, people injured not playing, but him going out there (Thursday) rushing for over 100 yards with a foot and hand injury playing quarterback, everything is right there in front of you."

Can you tell any difference in Taysom's throws with the splint on his finger?
"I didn't know he was wearing a splint, to be honest. I couldn't even tell you."

How do you judge last week's offensive performance?
"Just, I mean, it's not the fact that we can't (move the ball). Everybody here can play and is talented, so we do what we can. Being out there against a good Dallas defense and putting up the yards we did, regardless of the turnovers, if we didn't have those turnovers, it would have been a different game. If we didn't do certain things to hurt ourselves, it would've been a different game. The biggest thing is to clean up our mess, limit the turnovers, limit the penalties, and there will be a different outcome."

New Orleans Saints Offensive Lineman James Hurst
Post Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How frustrating has it been the last five weeks, the losing streak, that's just not something that happens around here very often?
"Yeah, it's definitely not. The culture has been established. This is a winning culture traditionally and five weeks in a row we've been on the wrong side of it. So that's tough, it's very frustrating. Obviously, it's pretty easy to be motivated when you've lost five in a row. So looking for the positives, I guess that's one of the few."

In your estimation, how tough is Taysom playing what he's playing through?
"Sometimes I just look at him and I'm kind of like, dude, I don't know how exactly you're able to continue going battling through the various things through his career. But he's a warrior, for sure. And it's great to have guys like that on the team. You're playing, you know he's going to be accountable to you and you know he's going to leave everything he has out on the field, and he expects you to do the same. So it's great. He's a great teammate, great quarterback, just love playing with him."

You played with Lamar (Jackson), right?
"Yep."

What's the difference when you're playing with somebody like Lamar (Jackson), like Taysom (Hill), who's going to be moving around and scrambling, how does that change things for you?
"I think there's a certain level of, like, risk management from a defensive standpoint, you can be aggressive and maybe blitz and pressure and try to kind of contain guys like that in the pocket. And that's great until it's not and they break out and they run for 30 yards. So I think, just understanding that, hey, we might see a few different schemes from our perspective, and these are some things that they might try to do to contain him to maybe keep him in the pocket and to make sure that he's not going to beat them in four different ways and they're going to try to limit how many ways he could beat you."

I don't think this was an issue last week, but if he's kind of moving side to side laterally in the pocket, do you have to watch out for holding penalties and stuff like that?
"Yeah, I mean, absolutely. It's just one of the things you've got to know when, you have to understand like, okay, you're blocking, you're blocking. And then at the last second, you know, a guys going to kind of shut off and you have got to understand just you've got to let go, the blocks over and I have done everything I can to that point, let go and move on."

What's the toughest injury you've ever played through?
"Back injury, for sure. Missed some time. This was I think five years ago now, herniated discs, missing time and back injuries, anyone that's had them, football or not, you just know you can lay on the couch and be in pain. So those are pretty terrible."

What were your overall impressions of the way the offense functioned in the first game with Taysom (Hill) playing from the beginning to the end?
"I think there's a lot of good things on film. Overall, I think we can't turn the ball over, some of those, giving up too much pressure, kind of the pockets getting collapsed and he's having to make throws whether it's backing up or kind of off balance and stuff like that. Yeah, I think we did some good things, we ran the ball well. I think there were some moments in the game where we were able to get some momentum and sustain some drives, which we weren't as consistent maybe in weeks past doing that. So I think that was really good. I think there's a lot of things that we saw that were encouraging that we know we can build on that maybe three, four weeks ago we weren't doing and we saw some glimpses and we were pretty happy with a few of those things."

Do you feel like you have a good rhythm with the blocking and on the quarterback runs and stuff like that? Some of those seem pretty effective.
"Yeah, definitely. They were really effective. Taysom's great. So much of that's timing, when the quarterback's running as opposed to running back. There's a handoff and the quarterback, when he is running, he catches a snap and you can go so a lot of its timing and him pausing but Taysom, he's really good at setting those blocks up for us. And making it feel like to us, within the play, it feels like any other run play. And he's just so good at making us right really."

Did the hurdle look different on film than when you saw it on the field?
"I was impressed with both times in a different way. Yeah, but it was like, I guess New England maybe. I was right up close and personal in that one and then saw that one from afar, but yeah, I feel like he is jumping above my shoulders. I do not have to run full speed. So it's crazy."

How weird is to have a quarterback who runs for 100 yards in an NFL game and he's on your team?
"Yeah, it's great. It's a great feeling. To know that not only are we able to run the ball, but it keeps them off balance, right? They can't just plan on all of your running back runs, you've got to account for Taysom back there by himself being able to run the ball. So that's good to stress the defense in a lot of different ways."

Obviously, you're on the other side of the line so you don't see how he's playing in the game. But what did film show on Jordan Mills?
"Yeah, I thought it was pretty good. First game with us. I've seen him play in years past. He's obviously an experienced veteran player. He was going against a very fresh DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons, which are two really good players, but I thought he did a good job. He's ferocious, he's got a lot of energy. He brings a lot of energy in the way that he plays, very physical style. But yeah, I mean, he obviously knows that it wasn't a perfect game for him. But I think overall, it was good."

What's the difference between blocking for like a runner like Taysom's style and one that runs kind of like more creatively, I guess, like Lamar (Jackson)?
"I think it's just different. I think Taysom is like so powerful, right? So he's running, he's running, you realize he's like out-running linebackers and DBs at times and then he's going to put his foot in the ground and run somebody over. Whereas Lamar is probably just more shifty, going to make people totally miss, make them look bad. But the way that Taysom runs just brings so much energy, like, when we see your quarterback 30 yards down the field, running over a 260 pound player that is trying to tackle him, it's just a testament to kind of his mindset when he plays and we all know that he's putting it all out on the field. He's given everything he has, they're going to have to pull him off the field if he can't go anymore and you just love it. You love blocking for a guy like that, you love that he's your quarterback."

When's the last time you tried to hurdle someone?
"I don't know if I've ever tried to hurdle somebody. I think it's more of an awareness, strengths and weaknesses. There's certain things I can do and certain things I can't. I'm pretty sure that's a can't."

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