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Transcript: New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston training camp interview - Wednesday, Sept. 2

Winston spoke with media on his impressions of his first Saints Training Camp at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston
Video Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Coach Payton was saying how you've pretty much grasped the offense. Can you give us a rundown of how you feel like you've acclimated to what they're trying to give you and teach you?
"Well, my main goal is to come in and do the best I possibly can. And when you've got two great quarterbacks who have been in this system for a long time, one of them for a particularly long time, you get a chance to gain experience by seeing them, by getting visible reps and actually doing the reps yourself."

When we've asked your teammates about, you know how you are in the huddle, all of them get this big smile on their face. Is there something that happened or a backstory as to why everybody is just so happy and is laughing when they think about you in the huddle?
"Oh, well, one thing we're going to do is we're going to have a lot of fun. But with that fun, we want to make sure that we want to execute properly. And we want to make sure we give it our best effort. So when I'm in the huddle I'm just making sure everyone takes a deep breath and makes sure they're out there having fun and getting ready to go."

Can you just talk in general about how you think you are playing right now and how strange it is to be in a training camp with another team for the first time in your career?
"Just in terms of my performance, my goal's to get better every single day. I believe I've done that. From the first day I stepped foot in here, into this facility to today. So that's my main goal. I can evaluate performance later on, but right now my focus is getting better every single day."

And as for being with a new team?
"Man, I'm honestly, I'm just so blessed that I get the chance to be a part of a locker room like this. Yeah, I know, I was the enemy the past five years, but man, these guys really took me in. And I got a chance to gain a lot of great friends. It helps having a great friend in P.J. Williams and teammate (from Florida State in) Mario Edwards. But this team is just amazing, man. And I'm just blessed to be a part of the Saints organization."

And can you talk a little about what you did before camp started to get acclimated to this offense without having OTAs and the minicamp.
"I think it was just, visually. One thing that was great that I had Tony (Jones). Tony is our running back number 37. He actually lived in Tampa. So we were able to, to kind of go through things together and learn. Go through the learning stages with each other. And it's always good to have you a nice running back. So you can know where your checkdown is when it's time to go out there and play with him."

This is the 15th season Drew (Brees) and Sean (Payton) are together. I just was wondering what your kind of read is on their relationship, being a newcomer on to this team?
"Man, I think it's not just with Sean (Payton). It's with the whole coaching staff, with Joe (Lombardi), with Pete (Carmichael). You just feel the continuity and a lot of people talk about unity. But man, these guys are really a family, you know, and I'm just happy to be embraced by this family and being allowed to, to kind of see firsthand you know, how this team has been so successful and how this quarterback has been one of the greatest quarterbacks to play this game."

You set a pretty high expectation there when you were joining the Saints, calling it a Harvard education on quarterbacking. So I'm just curious if it's lived up to your expectation so far. And if you think you've been learning a lot about how to play the quarterback position from people like Sean and like Drew?
"Oh, yeah, absolutely. They haven't short changed me one bit and Taysom (Hill) is included in that mix. Like I said, this coaching staff offensively, these quarterbacks, our quarterback room is probably one of the best quarterback rooms in the league. So, I'm definitely blessed to be a part of that group."

When you came into this locker room for the first time, in your other stops, you have always been 'the guy', did you come in sort of with the idea that you know what, I want to make sure these guys get who I am. You know what I mean? Because your personality seems to have come across in a big way on the team early on. Was that something you said before you got here? I want to make sure that I come in in a good mood and all those kinds of things, was that something you actively tried to do?
"Well, no. I think the only thing that I tried to do is, is to serve. I think that's an important part of leadership. I see number nine, doing it every single day. Just find a way I can serve each and every one of my teammates, whether it's on the offensive side of the ball, whether it's on the defensive side of the ball. If I can serve them and get a give back in return, it just would be respect. And as long as you're genuine with these guys, like a spade, a spade, can call a spade, right? So long as I'm serving, and I'm just trying to be the best teammate I possibly can be."

And I'm guessing there's a value to having guys as loose as possible, right I mean, your experience, guys play better if you can keep them loose?
"That comes with having a veteran locker room. When you got great leaders like Drew (Brees) and Demario Davis, you got Marcus (Williams) and Craig Robertson. You got all these guys who just, you know they take pride in this organization first and foremost. And they just take pride in their day to day job. When you have got a punter, like T-Mo (Thomas Morstead) who is working out harder than everyone else on the team. You just, follow in line, see how you can serve those guys and let those guys do what they do best."

Michael Thomas. He's always bringing intensity, super competitive, like the other day he wanted the ref to call a push off in practice. What do you see from your perspective, as to what he brings the offense and making every position better?
"I just think, like you said, that tenacity, that will to compete. The guy wants to win every single play. And that is why he has been successful in this league, since he has gotten here. So I'm excited to have a teammate like that. Everyone wants a teammate that wants to win and wants to compete. And he's just going continue to get better and better as his years count up."

When you signed with the team, you kind of talked a little bit about some of the offseason changes you made in terms of the LASIK, but also your diet and workout plan. Have you noticed any of them or are you reaping any of the benefits of that now that you're in training camp and doing real football activities?
"Yeah, absolutely. When it comes to just training you know, obviously it's always like the Good Book says, you reap what you sow. And definitely by changing up my diet and going all out this offseason, you definitely see the improvements. And the LASIK has definitely helped me out, just seeing a clear picture. But one of the best things I get man, it's a privilege again to be in that quarterback room and see firsthand from one the best that's ever done it. And that experience alone, is an experience you really can't put your finger on. But I can just say I'm blessed and privileged to have that opportunity."

Are you lighter than you've been in your NFL career?
"Yes, I am."

What are you playing at right now?
"225."

How do you describe your risk reward style? Obviously that was a big topic last season, but we've seen you in training camp and you're obviously not afraid to take those big shots. Is that always going to be a part of the game? Do you want to always continue to be a part of your game?
"I think it's a happy medium. And I'm never going to shy away from playing football the way that I know how to play. But within that, like I said, man you get to learn from a guy that does it so well. And you get to talk to him about situations that he will take a chance, versus situations that he will not. So I think that's great to just see him and, and visualize myself doing the same thing."

What's your evaluation of that first team secondary and what makes them so difficult to go against?
"I think the best thing about our defense as a whole is the competitiveness, the live action, how we're really going after it during practice. And it goes beyond practice. We're taking the competitive side on the field into the locker room. And anytime that you got guys that are willing to talk about the details and bring that competition from on the football field into the locker room and really joke about it, have fun about it, but really be intentional about what they're saying is really fun to be around. It really makes the atmosphere contagious. And our defense, I played against this defense for a long time and you love the way that they handle the disciplines of being a defense. They run to the football, they find a way to create turnovers, and they stop the run. So being able to practice against this defense is definitely big for any quarterback."

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