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Transcript: Taysom Hill video conference call - Sunday, April 26

Saints quarterback speaks to media following his new contract with New Orleans

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill
Local Media Zoom Availability
Saturday, April 25, 2020

"Obviously I have a lot of emotions right now, number one being gratitude. I'm so grateful of the opportunity I've had to be a part of the New Orleans Saints organization. I look at the path that my wife and I took to get there and I think of our path to Green Bay and getting released and to New Orleans and to sign this extension and so it's been overwhelming. I've felt a lot of love from the organization, the fan base and I'm grateful for the executives, Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley), those are great in doing this contract negotiation. I'm grateful for Coach Payton. I look at Drew (Brees) as a mentor and a friend. It's been the best thing for my career. Overall, I'm grateful and so excited that the next chapter of my NFL career is in New Orleans.

Going through restricted free agency was this contract what you were looking for both in terms of commitment and potential snaps?
"Yes, the start of the conversation, we started a couple of months ago. I think both sides agreed early on that a two-year deal made a lot of sense for everybody. We kind of mapped out what that would look like and then kind of got into the nuts and bolts of the contract. I'm very happy and again, I think it's a fair deal and it's been great."

Did you consider any other interest or look at any other teams?
"Yes, it was really the Saints all the way through. My agent was kind of building some of those conversations and he was obviously having conversations with other organizations about other players and things. I think the first round tender made it difficult for someone to really make a run at me. At the end of the day, my wife and I always wanted to stay in New Orleans, so this worked out perfect."

Do you anticipate exactly the same role or do you feel there may be a dial back in some of the things that we do?
"I think it's hard to say right now, I think right now the plan would be to probably limit some of the things that I was doing from a special teams standpoint and the role will be more focused at the quarterback position and finding way to involve me offensively. I looked at what we did against Minnesota last year in terms of snap count, creativity and stuff like that and as I looked into 2020, I think that's kind of my vision for it."

You say a two-year deal makes a lot of sense. Could you explain that to us?
"I think as you look at long-term contracts in terms of guaranteed month and what that looks like, I think this contract creates a clear trajectory and opportunity for me to compete and be the guy in New Orleans in 2021 if Drew decides to be done. If he's not, we'll figure out another contract or my role will continue to be what it is. As we looked at it, this was the way to prevent me to get to free agency next year and it created some structure for both me and my family as well as the organization."

What was your reaction to the first round tender. Are you surprised it was a first round tender?
"No, I wasn't. After the season, I had a sitdown with Mickey (Loomis) and we kind of talked through the process and kind of what to expect. They said they didn't know for sure what was going to happen, but he alluded to that it would be a first round tender. When that happened, I wasn't surprised."

Does the jack of all trade role make you feel better about it with this contract since now you have some more personal and financial security as that is more taxing on your body?
"Yes, I think so. I think playing this sport you're at risk to get injured, but at the end of the day my goal has always been to get on the field and to compete and as we talked before, my mindset has never changed. I had a hope and a gold to have the opportunity to compete to be the guy for an NFL franchise. So, I think this contract is reflective of that. It's allowed me to still utilize my skills and as far as what I did for the Saints last year that I'll be able to do this year and it creates the opportunity for me to compete to be the guy the next year. But as far as to answer your question, I think the short answer was yes, but that certainly wasn't my primary concern."

Have you talked to Drew Brees about this and what have your conversations with with him been like regarding your future now and forward and his future in 2021?
"Yes, Drew and I have had a lot of conversations, a lot of them were early after the season was over. We were both kind of navigating what the future was going to look like. I don't know what Drew is going to do, if he's going to play two more years, one, three, four and I told him this at the end of the season that I hope that you come back. The NFL is better if you're playing and starting for the New Orleans Saints. I've always felt that way and so if he wants to come and play in 2021, I'm all for it. I'm his biggest fan. I think as far as what my role is. This contract secured an opportunity to be that guy if Drew decides to retire."

You alluded to that Minnesota game and the route-running, it seemed like in that game towards later in the season, it seemed like you were having a lot of success. How much work do you put into that and is that something that you're continuing to try to get better at?
"Yeah, I think a lot of my workouts, my primary focus is being the best quarterback that I can be, but I am still hyper focused on becoming faster and stronger and all of those things. And so I think that that is a natural carryover to running routes and stuff. And look, I'm still learning all of that. Like that's still a foreign thing for me. But I do think playing quarterback and we talk about it in our install meetings and my mindset is if I was playing quarterback, I want to run the route that I would want somebody to run it. Or if I'm playing quarterback, I'm going to get to where I would want a tight end or receiver to be if I was quarterback. I think that transition has helped me because I spend a ton of time with Drew Brees. I spend a ton of time with the coaches and understanding it from a quarterback philosophy. I think it's a natural thing. My workouts aren't hyper focused on that part of it, but my workouts are going to help me become a better football player, which will work for me."

What was your reaction to seeing the agreement with Jameis Winston coming in?
"Coach (Payton) and I had a conversation before free agency hit, kind of what his plan was for me. I had had multiple conversations following that and I knew that we were always going to bring in another guy. I didn't know who it was going to be, but no surprise there. I think Jameis is a good football player and he's a good quarterback and I think nothing has changed for the New Orleans Saints. The goal always has been and I think will always be to win the Super Bowl and so I trust Coach Payton, he's created so many opportunities for me and I think it's great."

Did you see the comment yesterday from Tommy Stevens, the player they drafted out of Mississippi State comparing himself to you and Sean (Payton) comparing him to you? He also had a funny line saying that he's excited to be in the room with Taysom Hill and other guys in the room.
"(Laughter) I didn't see that. I did have a conversation with coach about Tommy as well, and look, I am fired up about it. As I look at my career in college and my career in the NFL, it's just all about creating opportunities. I think Tommy's taking it in stride. That is an important mindset that Tommy has to come in and to be willing to contribute in any way he possibly can to help us win football games. I think he is doing it the right way. I'm not the primary one that he should be learning from, but I think he comes in, he's got a great mentor in Drew (Brees). I'm certainly happy and welcome the opportunity to help him maybe navigate some uncharted waters in terms of playing other positions or doing special teams or whatever that is."

Can you say why you think you can be an outstanding quarterback in the NFL? You haven't thrown a lot of passes in the league yet, but I know you're totally confident that you can do it, why do you think you'll be such a good player in this league at that position?
"Look, I know what it takes to be a good quarterback. I've had the opportunity to learn from Drew. I think what makes a great quarterback is decision-making, accuracy, arm strength. I feel like I have all those, the capability to do all those things at a high level. You look at it and a lot of people have been critical of the number of balls that I've thrown is as you've mentioned or completions or whatever it is, but at the of the day I look at my career in the NFL and I've done my best to take advantage of every opportunity that I've been given. Because I've thrown 13 passes or whatever that number is isn't indicative or that does not mean that I'm not capable of doing it. I feel capable of doing it. I trust in Coach Payton's system and his process and I hope to have the opportunity."

How much did you pay attention to that stuff that you see out there?
"None. Yeah. Not hardly any. The things that are important to me, I certainly care about my teammates and those around me, coaches, my wife, things like that. That's about the extent of it. You've played quarterback long enough and you realize that that's how it has to be."

I saw where Cam Jordan and Demario (Davis) on social media both posted nice things about your deal. Have you had players reach out via social media just to congratulate you and talk about the deal in some way?
"Oh yeah. I've had a lot of people reach out, a lot of teammates reach out and congratulate me, which is what it's all about. Again, part of the gratitude that I felt is the love and support that I felt from the community, from my teammates. It's been a really special day for my wife and I."

Where are you for the offseason?
"My wife and I are in Utah. We offseason in Utah and we've been here trying to do our best to stay safe and stay in shape and everything else."

Has Utah been getting a lot of earthquakes?
"Yeah we have which is not normal for this area. I know we've had some in the past, but 2020 has been kind of a crazy year. But the earthquakes (haven't been) too significant, nothing too severe and fortunately for this community and this area the coronavirus hasn't affected this area in a really a really difficult way and I think everyone is doing their part and we're certainly mindful of all those in the community. Certainly, New Orleans and this area with what's going on."

When you were claimed by the saints a few years ago, did you ever foresee yourself being in this position?
"Yeah, I mean that was always the hope. I can tell you, I had four season ending injuries and I was going to give everything I could to try to make an NFL roster, but the goal has never changed and so as I got to New Orleans, I had the same goal in mind and we took a few detours to get here, but we got here. I always felt like I was capable and again, (Head) coach (Sean) Payton and the others on the staff created opportunities to allow me to get here."

Do you feel like Tommy Stevens is a guy who can maybe relieve you of some of your duties?
"Yeah, I think so. I haven't seen a ton of his tape, but I've had enough conversations with the coaches and different things and I've only heard really, really positive things about him. I'm not too sure what their plan is or what his path is going to be, but I certainly think that he's the guy that would be capable."

How do you maintain that patience waiting to be a starting quarterback in the NFL?
"Drew's (Brees) has been so good to me. I don't think that I would be the quarterback that I am today without Drew. He's been a great friend, a great mentor. He's allowing me to follow him around and learn from him and he's one of the greatest to ever do it. And I will not be part of the reason why he retires. That's not right, I will not ever put any pressure on him that way and again, I genuinely hope that he plays for as long as he can and as long as he wants to and I told him before the season was over, I was like, man, I don't want you to retire and if that means that I have to go somewhere else to get an opportunity, I'm okay with that. But that's genuinely how I feel."

Does it make you that much more appreciative of the journey to get here knowing you had various detours?
"Yeah, absolutely. I look back at my college career and to get to where I'm at and going through the injuries and look, I'm not naive, I knew that I wasn't going to get drafted coming out of college because of the injuries and everything else. But I continued to keep my head down and coach (Sean) Payton has always said in his first team meeting when we get back with the rookies is, I don't care how you got here. I don't care if you we're drafted, if you're undrafted, but you're here and that's what matters. And now what we care about is what you do now that you're here and I'm a prime example of that, but as I look back at everything, certainly it's been a journey and it's caused me to reflect on all those people in my life that allowed me to get here. Again, overall I'm just grateful."

"I appreciate you guys' time. Thanks for your questions and I look forward to seeing you guys hopefully soon."

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