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Saints transcripts: Trevor Siemian, Kenny Stills , Taysom Hill, P.J. Williams and J.T. Gray media availability | Friday, Nov. 12

Players look ahead to Week 10 against the Titans

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Trevor Siemian
Media Availability
Friday, November 12, 2021

Did you watch any of the Baltimore v. Miami game last night?
"I watched a little bit of it in the background last night, but I didn't stay up for all of it. It was 6-3 I think when I turned it off."

Did that play with Robert Hunt give you any new ideas?
"Oh man, that was awesome. Any time an offensive lineman touches the ball it is a special kind of chaos. We pulled it up in the meeting room and watched it this morning as I'm sure every other team around the league did as well. The guy moved pretty well for his size, too. That was a special play. Interesting that the right guard was looking for the pass on that screen play. I don't know how it's drawn up in their play book but I'm pretty sure that's not how it was designed. Good for him."

How did you think it went this week having another full week to prepare as the starter?
"I think it's just good to get in the rhythm of a work week and get a feel for guys with getting those physical reps. I think there's something to be said for that. We're in the middle of it now, though, so I don't think we have much time to think about it. I think we're in good shape, we have a good plan, and I'm looking forward to playing again Sunday."

Is it special for you going back to Tennessee to play with that being one of your former teams since you spent time on their practice squad last year?
"Not really. I was only there for a couple months. I know a few of the guys, obviously, with the time I spent there. But even when I was there, I was primarily away from the team with doing the whole 'COVID-QB' thing."

What was it like being separated from the team as the 'COVID QB'?
"It was interesting. I remember that I'd have that hour and a half block off and I lived right by a basketball court, so I would go and shoot hoops while everyone else was practicing. I remember thinking, 'are they really paying me for this?' But yeah, it's much better being on a team full-time, I'll say that."

Have you identified any issues that will help the passing game perform better?
"I think just getting going earlier in the game. The plays are there. We just have to find a way to stay on the field longer early in games, convert third downs, and accrue more plays. It's easy to question things when you're only on the field for three or six plays. Just converting more third downs and giving guys more chances whether it's passing or running should help us out."

How has your relationship with Mark Ingram II developed over the last couple of weeks?
"If you can't get along with Mark Ingram you have a real problem. Since he's gotten here, he's been an awesome teammate. People raved about him before he even got here. Being with him, he's helpful, he's fun to be around. I can't say enough about him."

How quick has Mark Ingram's transition been since being back?
"You would think he's been here since OTAs or training camp. He's sharp. He has played a lot of football. He fits in well with the guys. He hasn't missed a beat, he's all over it."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Kenny Stills
Post Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 12, 2020

What was it like coming back to New Orleans?
"Honestly, just having the previous connections and people I knew for me just helped me to get settled really quickly and so I've been able to just focus on ball and not having a training camp and OTAs. So really just trying to get up to speed and make sure I'm in game shape and trying to figure out the best way that I can contribute to the team."

How much has Sean Payton changed from then to now?
"I mean people (change), we all change, we all grow. When I was 20 years old when I was here, so we've all grown up a little bit, we've all changed, it's all matured. And so I'm just happy to be back."

What is the biggest thing you guys have harped on in the receiver room about what you guys can do more consistently?
"We know it's just making our plays, you know, trying to help the quarterback out, trying to help out the offense, we kind of all took turns last week making our mistakes and so just knowing that when the ball is in the air, we got to make our plays."

How about the concept of getting open?
"Yeah, I mean, if you just look at last week, it is just a matter of catching the ball. There's a couple times I dropped the ball, some other guys drop a ball. And so we make those catches, we're not sitting here talking about guys getting open. And so just making our plays helping the quarterback out. We have space, you know, as I was in two contested plays that I should have caught, balls that I usually make. And so it's just a matter of catching the ball and making plays."

Why would you say there were so many dropped passes?
"Personally, I'm going to say it's just a matter of focus and locking in on the ball. So that is a different place for me to be, I am not one of those people that is usually making those types of drops, especially in previous times with me being here. So it is just something getting back out here and focusing on making sure we make those plays."

How did Mark Ingram II ask you if he could stay at your place?
"So Mark and I have been close since we're together here and I've kept our relationship, you know, as we've been on other teams, just the group of guys that we had, you know, my rookie year, my second year here, we were like family. And so Mark, when he first got back was like, hey, you know, I'm going to be kind of jumping around from place to place you got space. And I'm like, yeah, bro, I got an extra room whenever you're ready. And so I guess Terron Armstead's got family here. So now Mark moved in and like he said, it's like college, you know, we get to work together all day and then we get to go home, have some dinner, and really just relax and kind of catch up and do the stuff outside of football."

How's your mindset changed or matured since you were here last time?
"I mean, I've been through a bunch on and off the field. But as a young person, still very professional, luckily, when I came in having Lance (Moore)and (Marques) Colston and Jimmy (Graham) and (Darren) Sproles and all those guys just helped me to become a pro a lot faster. And so as far as football goes, I mean, I kind of came back right to where I started, but as a man I've grown a lot. I've seen a lot, being involved in the protests and doing all the things that I've done off the field has really just opened my eyes to a bunch. And so we haven't been able to do as much off the field with COVID. And just with our schedule and me just trying to get caught back up, but to be able to be back here in Louisiana and to kind of have my feet on the ground and be able to get involved in activism and stuff here is really important to me too. So hoping to be able to do that."

Did you know Demario Davis very well before you got into the activism and got involved and how much is he impressed you as you've gotten to know him over the years?
"No, I think the first time that we have really met and spent time together was when we did the league meetings early in 2016, or 2017. And yeah, Demario, Malcolm Jenkins, we've got a bunch of really great leaders on this team on offense and defense. And so to be able to kind of fall in line and see what they're doing and be able to work together, obviously, with strength in numbers is important."

What have been your early impressions of Trevor Siemian?
"I mean, I feel like, I don't know if you guys can kind of tell from the outside looking in, but when Trevor stepped in, it was like, no one missed a beat, Sean (Payton) went out I think the first day that he was in and called a play action pass and so I think the expectation here is when somebody goes down, the next person steps up. And so that's how this program is ran and so with Trevor in there, that is exactly how things are going. We're going to run our offense the way that we feel like is the best way that's going to help us win the game and we have all the confidence in the world that Trevor can help us do that."

Where's the ceiling for this offense?
"I mean, the stats sometimes tell a little bit of a lie, because if you have one bad game, then that's hard to kind of make those numbers up. And so we know that if we just go out and execute and score points, make our plays we're going to win games and so that's really the bottom line. We're not really focused on where we are on the stat sheet, who's scoring the touchdowns, who's got the yards, it's just about winning games. And so that's all we're really focused on."

Is the most important number wins?
"Yeah, I mean, stay away from turnovers, staying away from penalties, playing clean football, the defense is playing really well and so for us is just going out there executing, making our plays and the stats later on."

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill
Post Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 12, 2020

What do you remember about the hit you took in Washington?
"I remember the route, I remember the play, that's about it."

Did you black out? What happened?
"I never went unconscious, but I don't remember it."

What's the next thing that you do?
"Basically there's a 45-minute window that I don't remember. I remember being in the locker room. That's the first thing."

Was it scary?
"Yes, it's not an ideal situation to have a hit like that and have a gap of memory, so yes, I think anytime you're dealing with head injuries, it's a scary, scary thing. I think understanding concussions and how it works, I'm comfortable with…I know it was a concussion. I know it was a serious thing, but my ability to recover, I never felt like that was in jeopardy and to be fully healthy."

Have you watched the play?
"For sure."

Did you think it was dirty?
"I'm not him. I don't know what he's playing, what he was…I think anytime it ends up being a bam bam hit or collision, I don't know as a defensive guy how you can consciously make that decision in a split second. It sure looked like he wasn't trying to make a play on the ball, the way the hit happened, but I've never played defense. I don't know what that's like."

What was the route you were running?
"It was four verticals. I was running, the vertical number three."

Do you have a prior concussion history?
"No, I've had two in the NFL, one last year and this one."

Was missing the three weeks extra precaution or did the symptoms linger for a while?
"I do think that there are degrees and levels of concussions. Obviously this was a fairly significant one. I think for us, having conversations with the doctors and trainers, when you're dealing with concussions, when it starts to get scary is having the repetitive concussions. There's this whole protocol in place that the NFL has drawn up and it's obviously to protect players. We follow protocols. I was having symptoms. Obviously it took a little longer than maybe a normal concussion, but there's no way to gauge or put a timeline on how long it takes a brain to recover. We were just following those protocols making sure we were being safe."

What was bothering you?
"I think the biggest thing was the pressure in the brain, headache and that lingered for several weeks and then I was having some sensitivity to noise, those were really the main things. There was some fatigue and stuff like that. Aside from that, those were really the main things that lingered."

To someone who has no idea of what pressure in the brain is describe it?
"I think the easiest way (to describe) is you have a headache, so you have a little bit more pressure on different sides of your head or different parts of your brain. Mine was in the back of my head. It's just another way to describe a headache."

What was it like to get back on the field?"It felt great, obviously there were extenuating circumstances. The coaches were trying to be cautious of what I was doing and everything else, but I think it's hard. I was at home for two weeks watching the team play on the couch. You have moments like that and it helps you reflect on what your teammates and the game mean to you when you have to sit and watch it on the couch. It helps you realize how much you enjoy it and I know for me, it reminded me how much I loved playing the game. I missed being out there with the team."

What was it like having to see Jameis Winston suffer the knee injury?
"It's sickening. I hate to see injuries to anyone, let alone friends. Injuries are something that I'm altogether familiar with. Everyone talks about this physical aspect of dealing with injuries. The mental and emotional side of dealing with injuries, just is something that people don't talk about. You look at Jameis and his road to where he's at, how he's worked hard, team captain, all that, to have it taken away and miss the rest of the season. Emotionally and mentally it's a difficult thing."

A lot of players with injuries can go to games while they are out, but is it a concussion standard or because you are sensitive to light and noise?
"I'm not sure what the exact protocol is. Obviously I was still having symptoms in Seattle when they went to Seattle. I know for that specifically I wasn't able to go. We had conversations with the coaches and doctors and stuff about the Tampa game and that was a game that I probably could have gone to, but I think the coaches and the trainers made the executive decision to keep me home just because the only thing that could come from that would be increased symptoms in a loud environment like that and so the risk reward circumstance in a situation like that wasn't worth it, so they told me to stay home."

What's your approach to the quarterback position now with Trevor playing well? Is that something you hope to receive another opportunity at?
"Yes, of course, I think I've been transparent from day one about what the end goal has been for me, so I don't really know what to say other than you do your best to stay ready. There's this whole other role that's there for me. I'm trying to find a balance of staying ready to do that job at a high level, but it's not always the easy thing, because there's a whole other expectation for me of being ready for what I have to do, so I'm trying to manage that."

Is the role and preparation a little different now than when you were behind Drew Brees?
"Yes, when Drew was here and even with Jameis and Trevor there was always this understanding where Trevor was going to be the gameday two and everything else. I think there's a little added emphasis for myself being ready to go. Hopefully Trevor does not get hurt or anything like that because I'm spending a lot of my time and attention making sure I do this other stuff at a high level. Again, it's a balance I'm trying to find."

How does that affect where Alvin Kamara has been on the injury report?
"Maybe, obviously Alvin is a guy who has had a lot of touches, so without him how does that ball distribution play out? Maybe it creates more opportunities for me. I'm not sure. Where he's at and his ability and to play on Sunday, I think the thing you've seen before and seen with this Drew is this is a really good system and if you follow the system with all the steps, reads and everything else, we end up being pretty successful offensively and Sean (Payton) does a great job of putting guys in the right spot to be successful. Maybe there's more opportunities for me. Maybe there's more opportunities for Mark (Ingram) and Ty Montgomery and Kevin White and some of these other guys too."

How did your process go last week, how you got cleared, how fluid the situation was where you want to play but it's not determined until later in the week?
"There's this whole series of things that you have to go through to clear concussion protocol. I think I became completely cleared on Thursday after practice. I had to go through a full practice with the doctors afterwards. Later in that week I had to go through tests, interviews, you name it. Thursday was when I became cleared."

New Orleans Saints Defensive Back P.J. Williams
Post Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 21, 2021

What do you remember about the last time you played in Tennessee?
"I remember having to go to safety for the first time (laughter). That was a big change for me right there. That pretty much converted me for the most part, first game. That was good game."

You've got to feel a ton more comfortable playing there compared to back then?
"Yeah, no doubt. Just with time learning and even before that game I didn't get any reps. I was just pretty much thrown back there and not really knowing how to read offenses as much, but now a lot better."

And then ironically, if C.J. Gardner-Johnson doesn't play in this game you might be playing more back into your second position you played in this league?
"Yeah, no doubt. It's always next man up. We've got a few guys that can play nickel, a few guys that can play safety so I'm pretty sure we'll be rotating, but yeah, we'll for sure be ready. I played that position so I know how to play it. I know the defense so definitely going to execute when my number is called."

What have been your impressions of A.J. (Brown) and Julio (Jones)?
"Oh yeah, it's two of the best receivers (in the league). A.J. has been putting up great numbers the last couple of years and Julio has been doing it for a long time. So those are two real good receivers that we definitely are going to be keyed in on and make sure we do what we've got to do to slow them down."

New Orleans Saints Defensive Back J.T. Gray
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 21, 2021

Just how much energy does C.J. (Gardner-Johnson) bring? How important has that been for you guys?

"He brings a lot of energy, especially on the field. When we make a big play, like the fire person you want to look at a Ceedy Duce out there doing this thing. That gets us hyped to go out there and make more plays. Him not being out there, he is going to be very missed."

What are your impressions of Blake Gillikin so far?
"Crazy man that he's out there. He'd been doing it since last year. And now he's getting the opportunity to showcase what he can do on the field. And he's putting up those numbers and it's incredible."

It's not common that you go through five kickers in one season. But how have you seen Brian Johnson kind of come into the specialist room and do what he has done?
"Incredible on him being able to keep being put that situation, and him to be able to overcome the obstacles here, and just being thrown out in the fire, and him being able to show success on what he's doing."

Another undrafted rookie.
"It's amazing."

How do you feel that this season has gone for you personally?
"It's pretty solid so far, you know, there's still things that I can work on. Things that we all can work on as individuals to reach our ultimate goals. You know, with great challenges comes great success. We are accepting those challenges, and we're pushing forward."

What is the mentality of the guys on this team that obviously you guys have a winning record and you've won a lot of games, people look at, oh, they're missing Jameis Winston, they're missing Michael Thomas, but that you guys realize this is a lot more of a complete team than maybe what people view as that's the thing that would derail this team.
"Right. You can say that our mentality is pretty strong. We have all the excuses in the world to say that failure is an option, but we don't see failure as an option. We do what we have to do, and we go out there and win at all costs."

Did you play in college with Jeffery Simmons?
"Yeah I did."

What have you thought about him so far?
"Complete monster. He's out there dominating. He's put up those great numbers. He's a force out there on the defense and defensive tackle."

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