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Transcript: New Orleans Saints senior offensive assistant Curtis Johnson  training camp interview - Monday, Aug. 31

Johnson spoke with media about Michael Thomas' competitiveness at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Senior Offensive Assistant Curtis Johnson
Video Call with Local Media
Monday, August 31, 2020

I want to ask you about Emmanuel Butler. I know he had a really good camp last season. How has he kind of been here in year two?
"He has been up and down a little bit. He did not have as many opportunities as he did getting the ball thrown to him, but the one on ones have been really good. He has been playing. There haven't been great plays that we saw last camp, because we just haven't had the team opportunities."

Michael Thomas. today he got heated in practice wanting to push off. You know, that's just one example but what does that say about just how competitive he is all the time regardless of it's a practice or in games?
"I think this guy could compete in anything. He is so competitive. You love to see it. You just want guys (like that). That's one of the dimensions of being competitive. You want guys to be more and more competitive. But I'll tell you this though. I love it. I love it about him, because you take a guy, at this point in time in camp. It's just outstanding."

Deonte Harris we're sort of seeing him get a little bit more involved in the offense, I guess is this kind of the vision you had for him when you talked about it a little bit before and then just how have you felt he's kind of picked up these wide receiver things?
"Very, very good. We love him. We didn't know much about him last training camp, but I always tease him that this was really his first training camp. But now we're starting to see what he can do. We love everything about him. We noticed it last year, RC (Ronald Curry) and I just really wanted to do more with him, but we just couldn't because he didn't have a training camp (to develop) because he was hurt the whole time."

Following up on Deonte, how much or how natural is he as a pass catcher? How much does he understand the concepts? I don't know how much training he had in previous stops to be a receiver. How much are you sort of teaching from scratch with him in a way that's maybe more like your college days?
"He is a gifted athlete. That is one thing. You always want something to work with, (and in this case) you got a good amount of clay that you can mold. Two things. One thing is that he does not have very many bad habits. If you have got a guy that doesn't have very many bad habits (that's a positive). I think he's a natural pass catcher and naturally transitioned getting in and out of breaks. So you want to start him off, always start him off on some things that he is accustomed to. He is a returner (in his first experience with this team). So, we want to do some things like get the ball in his hands as soon as we can. That's one thing that we know that he's good at. Then the other thing is, he can really judge a ball well downfield. Now what we got to work on, me and RC, we have got to work on the intermediate stuff with him. But all the other stuff I think it will come. But he's one heck of a little athlete."

Having grown up at the time when you did and I'm not sure if you ever got a chance to meet him. But can you kind of talk about the impact that John Thompson had on coaching and just society or what you know, just what he's meant to, to you as a black coach, maybe?
"I met John Thompson a long time ago. They (Georgetown) were playing in Seattle, Washington in a Western Regional, when (Patrick) Ewing was in school and I was, happening to be going back to Canada because I was playing in the CFL at the time. We got an opportunity to meet with him and sat with the team and shook all their hands. Because everybody would say, he was so guarded of his players back then, what a classy, what a great guy. Truly a model, truly an inspiration on all of us. It is a terrible passing because he was one of those guys who understood. He was a great mentor in the community. You can look at some of the old stuff, how he coached and the stuff that he's done over the years. I try to emulate a lot of my stuff behind him because I'm vocal just like he was. Tough minded, tough guy. You never, never let anything go. Just a great man. Just a great man to follow. We are going to miss him so much in the coaching profession."

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