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Taysom Hill at ease with his normal roles with New Orleans Saints

"I think now, we just have more time on task and so, let's figure out what that is that you have been doing and give you the coaching you need to be successful at it"


"Normal" for Taysom Hill is abnormal for every other NFL player, so his definition almost can be tossed out the window. But the New Orleans Saints' tight end/quarterback/special team ace appeared on the final day of mandatory minicamp to be quite comfortable with the roles he has been asked, and will be required, to fill for the upcoming season.

"I feel like we're starting to figure out what is normal again," Hill said. "I felt like '20 and '21 were so abnormal that I don't know what that is now. We've had a lot of change here the last few years, and I feel like being here the last few days with the guys and the team, I feel like everyone is gelling really well.

"I felt like offensively we were in a really good place, and I was super pleased to see that, to be a part of that. What I was expecting and what I saw and everything else was all super, super positive.

"It's been fun. We have conversations and stuff with the coaches, but I'm kind of like I show up and try to be ready for whatever it is. But it's good. I think we're trying to find this happy medium and happy balance of like, hey, let's be realistic with what we're going to ask you do to this season and make sure that you're getting the time and the reps on those things.

"I thought the last three days has been really great from that standpoint. That communication between me and the staff and what that is has been really good as well."

Hill was in a training camp quarterback battle with Jameis Winston two years ago (after Winston was injured in Game 7, Hill stepped in and the Saints were 4-1 with him as the starter), and last year entered camp primarily as a tight end.

This year, his practice work will be designed around his game reps from last season.

"I think this year is the first time that we've been able to go back and we've looked at 17 games and we looked at rep count, where that was and what I was being asked to do," he said. "And so now we can take, hey, this is like the last 17 games and where your rep count was, where you lined up.

"And now we can tailor that to what they're asking me to do on the practice field. The hope is that we start to expand that. And so as a starting point, I think that's what we've done the last few days. And we'll continue to have these conversations and push the envelope of, hey, maybe we do this or maybe we put you in this position. I think that's kind of where we're at right now."

Last season, Hill completed 13 of 19 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns, caught nine passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns and posted career highs in rushing attempts (96) and rushing yards (575), to go along with seven touchdowns. He's the only player in NFL history to have 10 touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing (including playoffs) in his career.

He's hoping that his role will grow as a receiver.

"I think that's kind of stuff that hasn't been explored a ton with me here," Hill said. "The throwing stuff as a quarterback or running, that stuff we've been doing that for a long time and that's come really natural for me. I think running routes and catching balls, that was a foreign thing for me and I also think because of that, we haven't done a ton of it and I think there's some opportunities there that we just haven't explored yet. As I look at next season, I think the hope and the expectation is that that expands a little bit."

"You throw him a pass and he throws it back just as good," quarterback Derek Carr said. "It's pretty interesting. He's got a cannon arm, he can run routes, he's tough. All those things. You can see why he's been such a productive football player.

"I can check the ball down because we have guys that still could get the first down. We still have guys that can move the sticks. You've got a guy like Taysom, you get the ball to him and he's faster than my truck. He runs through and he runs over a couple of guys and he gets the first down. You watch it on tape and it happens over and over and over again."

But that doesn't mean Hill wants to give up his role in the run game.

"I thought that what we did was effective last year," he said. "I think a lot of these questions are what does (offensive coordinator) Pete (Carmichael) and (offensive line coach) Doug (Marrone) and what do those guys want to do in the run game this year. I'm certainly hopeful that I still get my carries and there's opportunities that way.

"But whatever it is, I'm happy to do it. I think now, we just have more time on task and so, let's figure out what that is that you have been doing and give you the coaching you need to be successful at it."

New Orleans players participate in Day 3 of 2023 Minicamp at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Wednesday, June 15, 2023.

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