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Transcript: Saints Legend Jon Stinchcomb conference call - Tuesday, July 14

New Orleans Saints legend Jon Stinchcomb talked with local media on Jul. 14

New Orleans Saints T Jon Stinchcomb
Legends Microsoft Teams Video Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Jon talk about your transition to the Saints preseason tv broadcast booth and the success of members of the Super Bowl team in the media post playing career?
"What's first and is important to note is that there were so many guys on that super bowl team that liked to talk and liked to hear themselves talk. It's impressive that they should ways to get paid for that very endeavor. I often tease Zach Strief that if people knew how much he enjoyed talking then he would offer his opinion for free. That there's no need for them to pay him. But obviously he's not alone I think it speaks to the exceptional group of men that Mickey Loomis, Coach (Sean) Payton and that entire organization was able to put together. It was a special group and I enjoy watching (Jonathan) Vilma and hearing Roman (Harper) and Deuce (McAllister) has done such a good job for such a long time. So not only as a teammate, but a fan of those individuals it's fun to see and hear them. Still to this day there's a lot of guys from that team that we don't get to keep up with or keep in contact with as much or as well. But just to hear them on a recurring basis is fun to watch and it extends to Lance (Moore) is doing some stuff and obviously Reggie (Bush). There's just a number of guys. For me when I transitioned away from the game you're trying to look at ways to stay connected with something that you're passionate about. A field that you feel committed so much of your life too and have enjoyed. We all enjoyed the game and it's been good to us. Being able to announce is just one way for me that I felt like I could stay connected and specifically with the Saints (on) some of the media stuff I do, obviously Saints preseason. But I also partnered with a local group, Dawg Nation, that reports on Georgia Bulldog football. So I am a total homer. I try to offer only a slightly basis report when you're talking about both those teams. They are near and dear to my heart and I'm just grateful for those opportunities."

What do you make of what the Saints were able to do this offseason?
"I continue to think there are wizards that work in that second floor over in Metairie. Because it always seems like the storyline at the beginning of free agency or whatever it is (is) how cash-strapped the Saints are and there one of the teams that has the least mobility because of the salary cap and where they've allocated funds. But yet they seem to find pieces that compliment that roster and what they have returning and do it in such an extraordinary way. I think part of it is the culture that's been created in New Orleans is one where it's desirable to play for the Saints. Guys want to play for Coach (Sean) Payton. Guys want to be on the same team as Cam Jordan and Drew (Brees) and Michael Thomas. Just that culture, notorious and well known across the league for being something special in New Orleans that they're able to draw guys and they've been able to pick and choose some of the ones (they sign). You look at this roster returning from last year to this (year) and there's not a lot of holes. I think they did really well in the draft and you were able to address some needs and really some wants. (You) Got to be excited about that first round pick (Cesar Ruiz) and (giving) more stability up front. Again, the way this organization's set up, it is not like they're chasing after some of these big contract guys in hopes of renovating and jumpstarting something that is not already preexisting. The Saints right now are in the discussion in the beginning, middle and end of the year as a Super Bowl contender. I think that speaks volumes to how they're built from the ground up."

How quickly can a team come together, especially with no offseason program. How quickly can they assemble and find a rhythm?
"That's tough, it usually takes all offseason to get to know guys and understand personalities and try and meld them together. But if I am thinking back to our Super Bowl year we had some new pieces that came in that weren't exactly sure how they we're going to fit. It comes to mind a guy like Darren Sharper, obviously had some great years in his career, but was really expected to be more towards the back end. I think there was another Saints safety (Malcolm Jenkins) that was added to the roster this offseason that might fit that bill and be able to draw some similarities. Hopefully they are restricted to what happens on the field and in the locker room and not extracurricular (activities). It seem like they have taken some different paths. But there are times where you have to get to know and assimilate with one another in a short amount of time and kind of learn on the fly. And you know what helps to do that? Is when you have exceptional talent and great core leadership and that's what the Saints have that other teams just don't. I would really, if you're a first year coach, if you've got a lot of turnover at key positions they are up against it. And I'm sure they are recognizing the challenge that was preexist under normal circumstances, but I think there is a real advantage to look at a roster like the Saints and say there is so much carry over and great leadership that you're built to kind of withstand some of the outside the distractions that other teams aren't."

What do you make of the current Saints offensive tackle duo that they have?
"It's the best in the league. The only question is how many games can you keep Terron Armstead healthy each year. Because they are the two best. In my opinion they're the best left tackle, right tackle combo there is. There are some really good ones out there, but (Ryan) Ramczyk I told him when I ran into him in the locker room this past season. I told him he plays the game the way I wanted to play it. He has the ability and the mindset and the execution. He's a perennial All-Pro for a reason. The guy is solid, he is consistent. They are the anchors for that team and have provided such opportunities. You look at some of these guys and they excel in the run game or they are really good at pass protection and both Terron and Ryan are both great in both aspect of that team and that approach. They are really good in pass pro, athletic, move well and create holes in the run game. Real strengths and you compliment that with some young talent and two first round draft picks that continue to stabilize the interior of that line. Man it's exciting to watch. You look at the Saints era under Coach (Sean) Payton and Mickey Loomis and that's been a hallmark, is the investment in guys up front and they continue to find combos and this is probably the best the NFL has to offer right now."

Was there a moment in your career that you look back on that makes you realize how Drew Brees can still be playing in 2020 at 41 years old?
"He's special. The guy, you talk about work ethic, approach to the game and understanding that there's more to it for him than just playing his position. We recognized it every day we came to practice, every day you went on the field with him. That he is just different. His approach to the game and approach to life (and) what he puts into it and his focus, I mean honestly, by what was it 2010, that's five years into Coach (Sean) Payton's system, for a lot of us it was a struggle to takes notes on plays we've been running for five years and you look over and you see Drew's folder and he is on page 52 of notes and it's stuff you know he knows backwards and forwards and can teach and knows every detail. But that is his focus level and his ability to stay engaged at 110 miles per hour consistently. He's different and you could recognize that, who knew that it would still be (happening) in 2020. But the way the game is set up now and the amount of resources that are available that guys tap into on a 365 day basis. You can see some of the careers of these quarterbacks extend well into their 40s. Having watched him play these last few years, I do not see a lot of drop off. Whether or not he's in the twilight years that we've come to expect from these quarterbacks that stick around for a year or two too long and they are just holding onto the rope, Drew wasn't anywhere close to that last year. I don't expect him to be this year either."

You brought up the focus, is there like an example of how that focus is maybe different from other people beyond just the ability to process things?
"It's kind of who he is. So it makes me think of (when) you come back for training camp and I've spent the last three weeks that we were apart at a training facility and getting ready for the conditioning test and trying to be prepared for the 20 week grinder of a season, postseason and all those things. It's really an inner-focus of preparing myself to be the best I can offer to my team and for him he usually comes back with, what do you think about this being our chant before the game? I read this book about leadership that I think would be really good and there's some things that I think our team can really draw from and that's his ability to be selfless and think about others that sticks out. That's kind of his approach and when I talk to schools, you talk about the work and dedication that he brings. In season when you're hurt, you have to be there by 6:30 to come in early, get your treatment, your first team meeting isn't until 8:00 and you're guaranteed to not to be the first car in the parking lot because Drew (Brees) is already going to be there. Then on Thursday nights, the offensive line usually goes to dinner and you need to get there by 6:30 and sometimes he's late and you have to order for him and he'll meet you there when the meal gets there, not because he's being rude, but because he's still up at the facility working on the game plan with the coaches and breaking down film. It's that level of commitment, aside from him stocking the Advocare racks with supplements because it's something that he believes in and you know the amount of care that he takes for his body. But it's just that holistic approach that it's never selfish, it's always selfless and it extends to literally every aspect of his approach to the game."

When you look at this roster, I know they've had a lot of success in the past at finding undrafted rookie free agents, do you think because of the depth of the roster and just all this uncertainty with training camp and whatnot it could be a really hard year for some of these unknown guys to stick around on the 53?
"It's going to be a challenge across all 32 (teams), but if you look historically at the Saints, their commitment to be the best 53-man roster, I think their track record speaks for itself. There was a little fella who didn't look the part last year, he was undersized and he's playing wide receiver (Deonte Harris). You stand him next to a guy like Michael Thomas and he looks pretty diminutive and by the end of the year he's a Pro-Bowler as an undrafted receiver. That's a good testament and something you want on your resume as you're recruiting these undrafted free agents is you're going to have a chance. If you're a player, you can make plays and can help our team, we'll find a spot for you. Yes, the window is smaller. Yes, it's an uphill battle, but if I'm looking across the board at the 32 opportunities of what might be a good situation for me as an undrafted guy, despite the fact that there is incredible depth in New Orleans at least I know I've got a fair shake. If I can before and I can play then I'm going to get my chance."

How do you think you would have approached just the strangeness of this offseason and the uncertainty of how this season is going to unfold?
"It's similar to the 2011 offseason that was the lockout. There's a lot of self-accountability. We're not at the facility. You're going to have to train. It's tough, man. The self-motivation, those players that can find it intrinsically, that motivation to keep pushing, I think there's going to be a very distinct difference between those guys that were able to keep your weight in check, keep your nutrition where it should be, mentally prepare, physically prepare and get ready for this season. As opposed to those who say, I think this is close, I think this is alright. I think we're going to see a real distinction between those players between those that have exceled on their own and found that intrinsic push and those that would normally relay on a strength coach or a nutritionist staying on top of them and getting them to where they need to do. It's a challenge, buddy, it is not an easy situation for anyone, but I think it'll be really evident when you watch you players take the field as to those who were able to meet that adversity and have those intrinsic skills and abilities to push when others can't."

You got to this franchise in 2003, obviously a couple of years before Sean and Drew got here. What has it been like watching the franchise grow from where it was when you got here to where it is now as a team with a Super Bowl title and one that's continuously year-in and year-out competing for a title?
"I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the organization and to represent it. I don't know that that's always been the case for former players that had a fleur-de-lis on the side of their helmet. It's not always been a situation where you would want to be boastful that you're a part of that organization. I live in Atlanta now and can't tell you how many times I harass the dirty birds in area that want to chirp and have things to say, but New Orleans has become an organization that's changed their national image. So much credit in my mind goes to Mr. Benson, Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and that entire staff. It took its toll on those of us who were around in that 2005 season because they had to create a new culture. That's a difficult proposition for any organization and for those that had to suffer through that training camp at Millsaps (laughter). It was brutal, it took years off our life, the coaches can joke about it now, but I still don't think it's funny. It was six weeks of torture and there was probably some crimes that were committed and they possibly belong in Guantanamo (Bay), but it definitely was for the benefit of the organization and you look back and you look at the way this team has competed and stayed at the top. There was a little lull for a couple of years, but aside from that, what New Orleans has been able to do on an annual basis is really impressive and we're still that one Super Bowl away from being that perennial, New England Patriots type team that stays at the top, but I think it's a real different New Orleans Saints organization and perspective and image today than what it was back in 2003 when my name was called on draft day. It's just commendable what they've been able to do."

How did you evaluate the play of Erik McCoy last season?
"He was a talented guy coming out of college and you see his skills from day one. There was definite development from preseason game number one to the end of the year. It is a long season for anybody, but for a rookie to step in, I thought he played exceptionally well given the circumstances. You're surrounded by Pro-Bowlers. That offensive line, from one side to the other, they've all been able to represent the NFC at one time or another in that Pro Bowl game so I think he leaned on that at times as well as he should, but the future is super bright for him. The way he moves, his physicality, you saw that offensive line coordinated and on the same page. Now you're looking at a veteran bunch that he's surrounded by so that definitely helped him, but he played really well start to finish. There's going to be growing pains. You come in as a rookie and you're going to take your lumps at times, but the leap that I'm expecting from that 2019 season to 2019, he's only going to get better and he definitely has the skillset to be one of the upper echelon centers or interior players in this league."

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