New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill
2019 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability
How much more confident are you with a year under your belt?
"I'm a lot more confident playing inside of the offense right now than I did last year (or) obviously my rookie year coming here. I think the progression as a quarterback, you get more time on task inside the offense and you get more confidence getting up to the line of scrimmage, things start to slow down a little bit. I think that's the great challenge of this game for a quarterback is getting to the point where you can play fast enough and take the mental part out of the game."
As you look around the league and, and because obviously this is a copycat league, there's always a lot of talk about the next Taysom Hill whenever a backup quarterback or another quarterback is versatile, what kind of sense of pride do you get when you hear your name attached to that?
"Honestly, I don't think about it too much. I like creating other opportunities for guys like myself in the NFL. It's not an easy leap to make it in. If you can create opportunities for guys that can do different things. That's been a really cool thing and I know I've had a lot of fun with it. I look across the NFL and other guys that are asked to do similar things and, man, it's a lot of fun to be out on the field competing."
For example, up in New England right now, the Patriots are tinkering with the Danny Etling. Do guys like him reach out to you and try to pick your brain as to how to prepare?
"No, I haven't had any conversations with other guys that've been doing similar things. Our paths haven't crossed, but maybe in the future we'll have opportunities to sit down and compare notes on things that they've been asked to do versus the things that I've been asked to do. It's been a lot of fun. I'm excited to see kind of the transition and see how things go."
Would you feel more pride in being a quarterback or a football player?
"I think at the end of the day I have been a quarterback since I was a little guy and that has always been the end goal and the end opportunity. I want to play quarterback. Coach (Sean) Payton and the other guys on staff have made it clear that they care a lot about my progression at the quarterback position, which gives me a lot of pride. That is definitely a priority for me. Making sure that I stay up on all the other things that I'm asked to do."
What's a typical practice like for you balancing so many different positions?
"Honestly, I would say right now my emphasis is playing the quarterback position and then doing all the special teams stuff. I'm really heavily involved in special teams right now, but everything else I'm playing quarterback. I think at some point that will start to transition where I start to get other reps in different positions and get the reps that I feel like I need that the coaches feel like I need to be ready to go come season."
How many position meetings do you have to go to?
"Really, I just go to the quarterback meeting and then the special teams meeting. As we get to the (regular) season, as other things start to become more gameplan-specific, the meetings that I go to are special teams and quarterback as well, but Coach (Joe) Lombardi takes a step back and he coaches me at those other positions when I'm asked to do that. And then if I feel like I need more reps or a better explanation or more time on task, then I'll go to that specific position coach and get some work on the field with him."
You've done this for a while now and you seem pretty even keeled about it, but I guess in your private moments do you think about how unique this really is?
"I was an undrafted free agent that had a lot of injuries in college and so as I entered the NFL, honestly my mindset was to go take advantage of every opportunity and do my best to make a team and then help the team win. So I haven't really taken a step back to look at the situation and what I've been asked to do. I've just tried to take advantage of every opportunity and, honestly, I've had so much fun doing it and I'm just grateful for the opportunities that have been created for me. And like I said, having four season-ending injuries in college, my mindset look into the NFL (was to concentrate on contributing whatever way I could to make a team). I knew that someone was just going to have to take a chance on me. And luckily they did."
Speaking of opportunity, when you look at your production to field last year, do you think you've earned maybe 25 to 30 snaps a game?
"That question is not for me. I think the one thing that I've realized in the NFL is that you have to prove yourself every year. You have to prove yourself every week because it's a really competitive league. Everything is, is fresh, it's new. I don't have any expectation and my mindset going into this season is just take advantage of every opportunity, but I'm certainly not putting some snap count on myself or on the coaches. But I'm confident they'll put me in the best situation to be successful."
To the earlier point about the uniqueness of the situation. In the long run you might not end up being a trendsetter even though people speculate that you might be just because maybe it's really hard for a lot of teams and athletes to pull it off. Just from what you've learned about the experience, what do you think is the most likely scenario? Do you see it as an opening of eyes of what the possibilities are already or is it more like don't try this at home?
"I don't know. I will say that I think you have to have a coach that's willing to take chances and willing to take a risk. Coach (Sean) Payton has done that which is a unique deal. I do not know, I think that if someone has a negative experience, it is hard to go back to it. But fortunately for us and for me we have had a positive experience to this point. As I said earlier, hopefully that it does continue to grow and it creates opportunities for other quarterbacks throughout the NFL and other guys like me to make a roster."
Is it ever frustrating that you aren't getting to put all of your attention at the position you're here to play?
"I have not felt any frustration that way. As I said earlier, I feel like Coach (Sean) Payton, Coach (Joe) Lombardi, Coach (Pete) Carmichael, they have made it very clear that hey, when we get to OTAs, when we get to training camp, we want you focused on playing quarterback, we care a lot about your progression at that position. Then as we get to the season, the focus obviously turns to gameplanning, making sure Drew (Brees) is comfortable with the gameplans going into it. And then at that point I get to make sure that I am ready to go at other positions. And honestly, I have not felt any frustration that way. It's been fun because I've been involved in all the gameplanning from week to week."
Are you someone who maybe might enjoy training camp a little bit more than the average person because you get to play the position you have always wanted to play?
"Training camp is fun for me for that reason where you actually get reps at quarterback and stuff. This is a time of year that I look forward to. Training camp is a grind and it's a challenge for everybody, but I have a lot of fun being with the guys and having the opportunity to be coached by this staff, and (having) Drew (Brees), and Teddy (Bridgewater), and everyone else in our room, J.T. (Barrett). It's been a lot of fun."
What goes into establishing that quarterback-receiver relationship and getting the timing down, especially with somebody you're be just kind of newly working with possibly at a skill position?
"It's difficult where you have limited reps and then knowing you're going to step into the preseason and you have limited reps with different guys. I think overall what I try to do is try to learn how the older veterans run their routes, how they do things, and then make sure I'm helping the younger guys do what they're doing. So it doesn't matter who's in or who I'm throwing to. We have some rules that we can stick by to try to eliminate like, oh, I haven't thrown a lot of reps with this guy, but I have an expectation because that's what it should be across the board. And I will say that's kind of what I focused on with the younger guys."
Are you completely comfortable now in the playbook now in year three? Do you feel like there's no part of the book that you don't understand?
"Look, it's hard. You ask that question and I will say, I don't feel like I'm where Drew (Brees) and Coach Sean (Payton) are. But I will say comparing it obviously to where I was two years ago, to where I was last year, I feel a lot more confident in the gameplan. But by no means do I feel like I'm where Drew (Brees) is and it's a constant learning experience for everybody. That's just the progression as a quarterback, but I'm definitely still learning."
Do you do much to try and emulate Drew and do you feel comfortable with that?
"I think the goal is to get to his level. He's been playing at such a high efficient level and he's been playing at such a high efficient level for so long that that's where we're all trying to get to. It's difficult, but we are (all) trying to get there. The expectation is for us to be there and we're coached that way. The short answer is yes. We are trying to do all those things that he's doing."
Even though you are not going to necessarily break through with Drew at this point, you have been through so much in your young career, you've seen some crazy stuff. Has that helped your progression and going so deep into a playoff runs and doing what you've been doing and getting you where you want to be?
"Yes, I certainly think so. I don't think that experience trumps everything. You have the experience to play in (the) playoffs my first two years and actually play in those games. That was a great learning experience for me. Obviously the last two years we've had some really difficult losses and I feel like managing that and handling that and then being able to see the way Drew and Coach (Payton) and everyone else has handled it has been a learning experience just being able to observe those guys."
Photos of New Orleans Saints during Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on July 28, 2019.