New Orleans Saints Quarterbacks Coach Joe Lombardi
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 20, 2020
How big is it to just have this understanding for a few week that you guys are able to build around a quarterback with Drew Brees, Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston all being three different quarterbacks here?
"Yes, I think it's very helpful. I think it's something Sean's (Payton) always done very well, just designing the gameplan for the players regardless of whether it's receivers, running backs and obviously quarterback. It's going to be our offense, but tailored to the skillsets of whoever's playing. We've had to do it when Mike's (Thomas) been down then Alvin's (Kamara) misses a game or two. You kind of adjust your focus a little bit. It's no different with a quarterback."
Taysom said his offseason after he re-signed wanted to improve his quarterbacking and obviously that's a goal for a player going in any situation. But taking less reps with special teams and taking a focus on that. How have you seen that progress?
"He's been great. It's a shame we weren't able to have the offseason and a shortened preseason for both those guys, Jameis and Taysom, but they came in and made the most of it, all through training camp and through practices. They just keep getting better, getting more comfortable, operating faster, all those things, getting use to seeing the looks. They both have been magnificent improving every week."
If you had to pick an area for both Jameis and Taysom for where they have improved as members of the Saints, what would that be for each?
"I think for Taysom, it's just been timing. The quarterback position there's a certain timing that goes with every play and trusting what you see and getting the ball off on time and there's no one better at it than Drew (Brees). I would say that when Taysom got here maybe the ball came out a hitch later than you wanted it. Not always. There were times where he was going to wait a tick longer before he threw it and I think just his anticipation level, understanding what the receivers were doing and the timing of their routes, matching when he's throwing the ball to that. That's been the biggest improvement. For Jameis (Winston), it's hard to say, because I've only had him this year, because it's hard to compare it to years past. He's just been impressive to me and how quickly he's learned the offense, his decision-making. Part of his mentality watching Drew is understanding that every play doesn't have to be a home run and checking the ball down to a talented running back is a good thing and not having to push the ball downfield every single play, (seeking) the home run play every time his hands touch the ball. Just that decision-making and sometimes taking what the defense gives you and then making a play when it presents itself, you don't have to force it."
When Taysom goes in every two games and throws a pass is it fair or possible to make an evaluation of who he is as a passer off those random moments. Is that position more rhythm-based?
"For sure, it is unfair, except when he throws it well then you can judge him (laughter). A lot of these plays that we have doctored up for him when he goes in are these heavy play fakes and I'm not saying they're look-dependent, but I'm not saying there are five options to progress through. If the look's not there, sometimes people are like 'there's nowhere to throw it' Well there was no one open and the great thing about him is when that happens and pulls the ball down and runs it seems like a ten-yard gain. So it gives you a lot of comfort level that he can make things happen when maybe the look we were expecting doesn't present itself, but when it does, when things are clicking and the route that we design is open, he gets it there. If Drew misses as pass, and he doesn't do it often, if he's 80 percent completion rate in a game that's seven or eight incompletions. He gets up on the next snap and has the next pass to get a completion. With Taysom it's kind of he may get one or two passes a game and people think if he doesn't complete them maybe he didn't have a good game, but I think when he's playing, if he's throwing the ball 25 or 30 times a game you'll see that rhythm and see that success come."
How much can it help a quarterback that the gameplan is for them, they're going through that list of plays and talking about what they're comfortable and that whole process you guys go though?
"It's huge. I think you saw, last year, Teddy (Bridgewater) had to go in early in the (Rams) game and at times that can be a challenge, but when you get the whole week to prepare, you're repping those plays with the guys you're going to be throwing to not just mentally. You get a chance to work with the things you like and are comfortable with. It's a whole different ballgame, same thing with Jameis (Winston) last week. It wasn't really until after halftime that we knew Drew wasn't going to be able to go, so we were like you're up and he was playing right away, so that time to prepare is good for any quarterback clearly."