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Transcript: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith training camp interview - Wednesday, Aug. 26

Smith spoke with media about the importance of staying healthy at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Tre'Quan Smith
Training Camp Video Conference with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Is there anything in particular you're working or have been working to improve on this offseason in your game
"Yes, Christopher. The main thing I've been working on is basically knowing like, last year I played mainly outside and then at the end of the season I got kind of moved into the slot. So I've been doing a lot of learning the slot, both the Y position and the F position because it kind of interchanges in this offense. So my main thing was just coming in and like really knowing the playbook. I thought I knew it a lot last year but I feel like I'm way way farther along with that. So that was my biggest thing, learning more of the playbook."

Are you feeling better physically? I know at one point last season, you were dealing with some injuries, but are you feeling kind of more like yourself?
"Definitely, I would say it was a long season for me last year. Playing through injury and dealing with injury. It sucks for anybody who has to deal with injury because you want to be out on the field 100%. But knowing this game, that's a slim chance. So right now I feel healthy. I'm 100% and I feel great."

I know your coaches said they wanted you working inside more. And I know when Ted Ginn Jr. was here obviously he was running a lot of outside routes. So it is important to know both, but do you think with Emmanuel Sanders coming in now and being able to play the slot sometimes, do you expect to get more opportunities in your more natural position this year?
"Yeah, definitely in this offense, a lot of our receivers interchange between inside and outside, depending what the coach wants and Drew (Brees) wants. You can end up in the outside or inside so it's best to know, you know, the whole offense and that's what I'm doing now."

And then what would you say, I mean, ankle injury was obvious, but if anything has held you back from finding that consistency so far?
"Like you said, it definitely was the ankle injury. I had it the second game and then I came back and did the same thing over and over again, it's very nagging. So my biggest thing is just really staying healthy, staying out of the training room. They say you can't make the club in the tub."

You have had kind of an unconventional journey to the NFL and considering injuries that you played through last year. Year three, a lot of times for players is a big year. How big is this year for you and your career?
"It is very big going into my third year but, I kind of got to treat it like any other year. I do not really try to look into the future. I just come out, take it day by day because tomorrow's not promised so you got to make the best of each opportunity in a day and hopefully when you do that, all good things come out at the end."

You've had a couple of really big games in your career, is that the potential that you think you have that you can bring to this offense? Some of those really breakout performances you've had?
"Oh, yeah, without a doubt. I know what I'm capable of when the ball is in my hand, I have just got to get the opportunity in this offense to showcase that and I can't do it being hurt. So it's a lot of things that play a role, you know, me staying healthy, me knowing what I'm doing in offense. And then, you know, when I do know what I'm doing, I do get the ball in my hands, you know, I'll get a chance to showcase my talent."

Curtis Johnson was telling us that like one of his challenges with you was making an outside receiver an inside receiver. What's the biggest difference there and learning how to play that transition if you've been kind of an outside receiver most of your life?
"The biggest transition from playing outside to slot is, I feel like you have to be a better receiver with your eyes, because your eyes tell it all. You got to be able to read a defense, you got to be able to read the linebackers or the nickel or the safety. So, it is a big thing to just, not (only) being a talented player but really being a smart player and knowing defensive schemes and knowing how to read defenses."

With you missing that much time last year and you getting ready to come back and then missing more time. How much more motivated are you this year to put together a complete season?
"I'm definitely motivated, like my whole mindset and my whole training regimen changed. Like it was more of me like, taking care of my body instead of me really focusing on being stronger. Like I took a lot of time really focus on stretching, I really focus on getting massages, like really taking care of my body, focusing on me really lifting weights, I got time to get that in, but it's more of me really focusing on my body and trying to make sure I get every little sore and kink out before the season starts. So I won't have any problems going into training camp and going into the season."

How have you seen that pay off so far?
"Definitely. I've seen it pay off a lot. I was less sore going into training camp as the days stack up. I did more in the training room like getting in the cold tub, getting in the hot tub, taking care of my body and it's really been paying off. I'm feeling less sore than I was last year. And I noticed I'm moving a lot better on the field."

A couple days ago in the two minute drill we saw Drew (Brees looking for you in the long pass, the fourth down and a couple of other passes. How much of that has to do with what you talked about earlier, learning the playbook and or does it have to do with maybe some other you know things such as, just developing chemistry and that kind of unspoken communication in those situations?
"It has a lot to do both honestly. Especially with the communication. You've got to know what Drew (Brees) is thinking. If he sees the safety come down, if he wants you to break it across or like he feels like you should stay straight. So, it's a lot of communication between you and Drew (Brees). You have to be on the same page with a lot of things. But we have meetings a lot with Drew. So we get a chance to interact and see what he thinks and see what's going on his mind as a receiver and get a lot of talk in with him. And also it's a big thing that you know what to do. And you have to be able to read defenses yourself, so you could be able to adjust, you know and see what he sees."

Drew had talked to us about working on his deep throws and you caught one of them. How would you describe that particular pass? I'm talking about the deep one over the middle in the two minute drill a couple days ago.
"Yeah, I remember that one perfectly. It was a perfect ball right there on the money. I believe you're probably talking about one over Anzalone (Alex). So, it was a perfect ball. He hit me right in stride, like I couldn't do nothing but catch it, because it was like right there in my hands."

This is your third year playing with Michael Thomas, what have you just learned from being around him and maybe even something he's just talked to you about directly?
"When I first came in…I will say one thing about Mike (Thomas), he's always been consistent. And he constantly told me as soon as I came here, like, man, listen, you have got to take care of your body if you want to be in this game a long time. And then he made a big emphasis on everything that Drew throws to you, you have to catch it. That's how you build trust with him. So like about Mike (Thomas), basically, like I said, he's always been consistent. And he never steered me wrong. He told me how he caught up on the game so quick, basically taking care of his body and always doing what Drew told him to do, and building trust within Drew."

Yeah, kind of along those lines, you were talking about how you were paying closer emphasis to taking care of your body this offseason, how much of an influence did Mike (have on you in that? You talked about in the past, where he giving you advice on getting in the training room after practices and stuff?
"Yeah, like I said, that's always been a high emphasis on Mike's list. When I came in as a rookie, he told me, make sure you're getting massages. As a rookie, I was like massages, what (do) I need a massage for, I've never gotten one before. But that was always a big thing about him. I really see it pan out going into this year versus last year where I was just kind of like, eh, I might get one this week. B ut, I really started listening to Mike and he stayed on me quite a bit, you know, because it's not just him on the field. We've got to take care of each other. And how does he, expect me to be my best if I'm not taking care of my body."

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