New Orleans Saints Offensive Lineman James Hurst
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, May 28, 2020
What made you decide to join the Saints?
"I think just everything that the organization has done and continues to do. They are winning team and winning organization, great coach, great players. It's going to be so much fun to play with guys in that offense. I'm just looking forward to contributing and being a successful player that helps the team out."
What would you say really sold you to sign with the Saints?
"Yeah, the success (overall), speaking about the offense, obviously it's a great team, but I'll be on offense. So many great players and such great history and pedigree. Coach (Sean) Payton has been so successful, so much creativity has come out of his system and just seeing what they have been able to do and seeing how I can fit into that is exciting. To have an opportunity to play on a such a successful team."
What did you know about the Saints offensive line group as a whole?
"Having watched them on film plenty at this point, you just see how well they played, so much talent individually, but also as a unit. You can see on the film that the communication is excellent. That's so important as an offense lineman. Obviously, from a coaching standpoint that's instilled in those guys and those guys go out on Sundays and put it together. It's fun to see on film and it's fun to watch. I'm excited to be a part of that and hopefully help out where I can and gel with those guys."
Has the coaching staff discussed your role and where they see you fitting in?
"We've talked about tackle mostly for sure. That's most of what I've played. I've had starts at a lot of places for sure, but most of the time's been spent at tackle. We talked about that and I talked to coach (Dan) Roushar yesterday and just talked about my versatility and how that's so helpful to an offense to be able to have a guy that's played at multiple spots. Whatever they need, that's what I'm going to be. Whatever my role (is) from week to week, I'm going to embrace it and give it everything I got. I just love playing and want a chance to play and they gave me that."
How much leadership do you think you can bring to a team that's already a pretty veteran group?
"Yeah, it is definitely a veteran team which is different from last year (in Baltimore). The Ravens were a really young team, so it'll be a big difference this year. But I'm excited about that having some experience and to help where I can. I just want to bring what I've learned, give that to the team and hopefully learn things in return. I am excited about that. I think anytime you get two experienced groups that come together they can learn a lot from each other and at the end of the day it's going to make your team better. It's a really cool aspect being on this team."
What did you learn last year being a part of a Ravens offensive line with the best run blocking and rushing unit in the NFL?
"Yeah, like I mentioned earlier communication is so important. Having a group of guys that really gel and that like working together, that like playing next to each other, that's really important and we had that in Baltimore. From what I've seen and what I've heard about the o-line group in New Orleans. It's a lot of the same thing, watching them on film they are a successful group and have so much talent and I think that scheme always helps. Scheme helps anywhere you go. If you've got the right play call, it's going to make everyone on the field look good. It's just a combination of all those things and I think New Orleans has that and it's just a great opportunity to be able to go from one good unit to another. I'm excited to help and join that group."
You talked about the culture, the team and things like that, was there anyone you talked to prior to your decision to join the Saints, whether it was Mark Ingram or a coach or a player who's currently on this team for advice about the organization?
"So I've actually talked to six, seven, eight different guys that have formally played there and people that have been in the city, around the culture, the football culture that's in New Orleans. Everything that I heard was so positive. There was never a statement but this: it was always great. So I'm just excited to go to a new city, a city that loves football and a city that has had some success in football, to join that culture and to just get into it and see what it's like."
Do you have any connections or have you visited New Orleans before?
"I've visited just to play. I've played there three times maybe. I'm really excited about being on the home sideline. It's not a ton of fun on the visiting sideline, but yeah, I've visited there just during those times and not really visited the city as much. I'm excited. Everyone says such great things about it. I'm a foodie so obviously everyone knows the food in New Orleans is great so I'm excited to get there and just experience it all."
You're a competitor, everyone wants to play, everyone wants to start, but how much did joining a winning organization factor in?
"That was a huge factor in my decision. We had a great season last year in Baltimore and once you taste that it's hard to go anywhere else. I was really glad the Saints were interested, honestly. Just watching them on film and seeing the success that they've had, it's easy to see what they can do, how good they are and how good they can be. That was a huge factor in deciding just to go to a great football team and help them out wherever I'm called to."
The offseason isn't going to a traditional one without OTA's and minicamps and training camp might even look a little bit different. Do you think that's going to be a hindrance or are you expecting any problems maybe catching up to speed on the offense?
"No, I feel really good about it, honestly. It allows you to create your own schedule and focus on what you need. Having played six years, I feel like I've got a good idea of what an ideal offseason looks like about when to work, how to work, where to work and obviously you're not in the meeting rooms with the coaches so that kind of hurts, but that's just the times we're in I guess today. They've already set me up with a playbook and made sure I know how to find all the film, find all the files I need to find. So I'm able to do that and study that on my own and obviously I can talk to them and call them and text them about any questions I have. I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to being able to come into training camp ready to go with the offense under my belt as much as it can be without actually playing a snap. I'm excited about it and I feel like we've definitely got the resources that you need to be fully caught up."
Are you a little bit more motivated to show what you can do since you're going to have to miss the first few games because of the suspension?
"Definitely. I feel like I am a very, internally motivated person. For the most part, it doesn't take anyone saying something to me or something I see or read to motivate me. I just want to accomplish my goals and be a great teammate. Those are the things I strive to do and I'm going to work as hard as I can to do them every single day. I will just be excited when it is past me and we can go back out and play some ball on Sundays."