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Transcript - Taysom Hill Conference Call 12/2/20 | Week 13 at Falcons

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill talks about the Saints’ run game and the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive unit prior to the Saints Week 13 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 6, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

In your opinion what's your main objective when you're running that quarterback power play, like what do you have to do to make that a success?
"Man, I feel like up front we've been blocking that so well and really every play. My thing is reading Nick Easton. Nick Easton did a great job all week and in the game of pulling and really that's my key block. So when I get the ball, I pick up Nick and really cutting off his block. Most the time, it's been a short yardage situation. My idea is do what I can to get the first down and go from there."

Do you think just the fact that you've been asked to throw a little bit more in these last couple weeks, just because your roles changed here, has that opened it up at all? Or changed way defenses have to have to defend you there?
"Yeah, for sure. I think when I was coming in before for Drew (Brees), there were a few things that they could probably key on. And I don't know what the percentage breakdown is. But I'm sure we're definitely more run heavy than we are pass when I was going in for Drew. Now, the defense has to play it honest and play so many different things every snap. So I think that is more advantageous for us offensively."

Even before the last game, you guys seemed to have gone into overdrive a little bit in the running game in terms of production, if you look at the eight-game winning streak. Is there something you can pinpoint there where that production has really kind of jumped?
"Yeah, well, Coach (Payton) always talks about in order for us to have a good run game, we have to block the perimeter. And I think we're as good as anybody up front alignjwise. And then if you look at our backs with Alvin (Kamara) and Latavius (Murray) and those two guys are some of the best in the NFL in yards after contact and everything else. But I think what has separated us the last few weeks has really been blocking the perimeter. And so the two, three yard gains are going for four or five. And then when we do spring a five or six yard gain, it goes for 12 to 15. And that's been huge for us."

You've done as much work as anybody against this defense. Can you explain why this defense is as effective as it is right now?
"I think they're a really fast defense. I would say they're disruptive up front. But their linebackers are really fast, and they move really well laterally. And so as you try to get the edge, they do a great job of defending you laterally or making your stretch in the run game, but they move so well that it's hard to get the edge. And then I would say they've done a nice job with their safeties. Their safeties are aggressive, and good tacklers. And so they don't make a lot of misses. They've always been really productive."

Last week, you sort of talked about Drew (Brees) and how much he had to kind of help you in all this process. As far as off the field, what are some things you've picked up from Drew just away from football that he's just talked to you about?
"Oh, man. Well, I would say the things that are most important to me, I would also say are most important to Drew. I don't want to speak for Drew, but my family is incredibly important to me, my faith is incredibly important to me. And I've seen how important that has been to Drew. I've had the opportunity to really observe how he manages preparing and playing week in, week out and then also fulfilling his role as a husband and a father and those I would say are really what sticks out in my mind."

Looking back on last Sunday, this is kind of a two part thing. How hard was it as a guy trying to prove that he can be a starting NFL quarterback to dial yourself back in, you and Sean (Payton) both talked about dialing back the play calling once you realized what Denver was going to have. How hard was that? And then how much are you looking forward to this game to maybe opening it back up and getting to show what you could do in a full offense?
"Yeah, look, it's a hard thing to manage and I think mentally, as we got on the bus heading there (after landing in Denver), I didn't know what was going on with their QB situation. And so I was getting ready to go to Denver to win a football game. And then as we got to Denver, we had all the conversations, I kind of felt like the mindset kind of changed where, hey, we're going to win a football game, but it's almost like let's just not do something to lose it. And so it was a difficult transition to make for that point 24 hours. And then as you step onto the field, I had prepared a certain way that I needed to start making adjustments and making sure that we didn't do something silly to lose that football game. So to your second question now as I transition to this week, I would say my mindset is, obviously, Atlanta has been playing really good football. They're a great defense, they've got so many weapons offensively, but as we prepare for this, we're preparing to go win a football game. And I would say I'm back to that aggressive like, man, but let's go let loose."

I know when we talked to you last week before that game, you mentioned some things that you wanted to improve on from your first start, and you're getting the chance to play that same team, ironically, this week. Are you still aiming to improve on the same things? Or is there anything different that you've identified as an area that I really want to get better at?
"Yeah, I would say, just fine tuning. I would say, every play, you kind of have to put a thought process to that play, and you have to marry that to your feet. And I would say, I'm still finalizing all of that thought process, but then being able to adjust based on what the defense is doing. We kind of have a thought and in our head of what we're trying to accomplish, and being able to adjust and do that on the fly. So the timing element of making sure that my feet and everything is in sync with what we're trying to accomplish offensively and the ball is where it needs to be on time. So I would say again, like, as a quarterback, I would say that that's something that I will always work on, making sure my timing, my decisions are quick and clean and the ball's is out on time and typically good things happen when you're doing that well."

Just because of a schedule quirk, you are playing the Falcons twice in three weeks? Is that something that y'all talked about it being a little different? How does the preparation change, just knowing that y'all prepped for them really recently?
"Yeah, I don't think it changes, honestly. I think this was our schedule last year where we played them, played somebody else, and I remember who it was, but then played them again the next week. So we've done it before. And I would say, at least for me, and offensively what we're trying to accomplish, our schedule routine, everything is the same. We're getting ready to win a football game the same way we did last time against them. Obviously, there's some elements of how much carryover do you carry from the last game and the coaches will continue to handle that and we'll make adjustments that way."

What is it about y'all's offensive line, y'all are able to kind of drop pieces in there and not really skip a beat even when you're losing like an all pro like to Terron Armstead for a game?
"Well, I think it starts from the top. I think Mickey (Loomis) and our player personnel guys, they've done a great job of bringing in the right people. And then I would say Coach (Dan) Roushar and Pete Carmichael and Coach (Payton) and everyone else has done a great job of making sure everyone's prepared. So I think we found out we lost Terron on Saturday. And we were able to plug James Hurst in and played exceptionally well. Obviously, lost Andrus (Peat) as well. And so I would say that it goes to show you how good our organization is, and bringing in the right people, but then those people are always preparing themselves, week in and week out, which is not an easy thing to do if you look at what James did, knowing he's going to be a backup to Terron all week. And then all of a sudden Saturday, I really, it goes to show how well he prepared himself through the week when he was thinking Terron was going to play and that's pretty impressive."

Just on that question about managing the game and kind of mitigating risks in that, can you just kind of take us into the mindset like, does that cause hesitation? Are you kind of questioning your decisions more and over evaluating maybe, like, just how does that kind of manifest in how you approach the game?
"Yeah, look, honestly, I've never been in a situation like that and, honestly, it's never happened before where you're getting ready to play an opposing team and all of a sudden, they don't have a quarterback that can play in the game. So it was a unique experience for me. And I wish I would have done a few things differently. But yeah, I think you certainly don't want to take any unnecessary risks. I think the conservative nature of the game, you end up in a few situations that you're typically trying to avoid throughout the game. I don't know what the exact number was, or how many third and long's we ended up having. But it was just the nature of the game. And I definitely found myself being more conservative, which led me to be a little bit late on some of the things that I was trying to do, but again, we managed the game and we got the win. That was the that was the plan and then we did it."

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