What They’re Saying: Sean Payton, Pete Carroll, Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill on Saints-Seahawks week

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New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Media Conference Call 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Can you give us any update on Drew Brees?

“The latest today, he will have surgery on his thumb. It will be done in Los Angeles. I am not going to speculate on a recovery timeframe, but I know just having texted with him and visited with our trainers and doctors (that) we are optimistic. I know it is being done this afternoon.

I know you won’t speculate on an injury timeframe, but when do you have to make a decision as to when short term injured reserve is a possibility?
“We’ll look at that each week as we go. But, right now I don’t think that’s the plan.”

How much do you have to monitor what you do with Taysom Hill now since he might be your number two guy? Do you have to monitor what you do as far as using him?

“I think you do and that’s you making the assumption he’s the number two. We will approach his game with two quarterbacks and we’ll see where we’re at with it. We will have the right plan relative to what those guys are going to be doing.”

You have experience from 2015 preparing for a game without Drew (Brees) when Luke McCown played. Does that experience at all help in this case considering how much you’ve had there for all the time you’ve been there?

“You pay attention to the strengths of the players that are playing in the game. I thought in that game Luke (McCown) played real well. We’ll have a plan in place that we think gives our team the best chance to win.”

Does the two different abilities that your two different quarterbacks bring, do you think that gives you a tactical advantage for defense that hasn’t had to prepare for the possibility of both guys like this?

“Yes, I think so.”

Can you just talk about preparing to get your quarterbacks ready, the challenges of that, how does that work, splitting reps, and things like that?

“These guys have been here now two seasons and it’s just kind of taking a step back and looking at the things that we want to do with those guys in the game and putting that plan in place during this week of practice.”

Having had Teddy (Bridgewater) as you mentioned and him starting the season finale last year, does that kind of give you a leg up on preparation in terms of knowing exactly what it is he’s capable of doing?

“In fairness to him, the game last year really was a tough evaluation. I don’t know that it gives us a leg up. I think we have a pretty good idea of what he does well.”

Are you getting any closer to knowing when Sheldon Rankins is going to come back to play? “We’ll announce it when we get closer.”

Do you plan to announce a starter at quarterback before the game or will you keep the option open?

“I probably won’t make any. I’m more apt to not make any announcements. That’s just typically what we don’t do (make starting lineup announcements).”

“I know that the production hasn’t been there in the two regular season games that Teddy (Bridgewater) has played significantly, but what have you seen from him in those games that leads you to believe he’s a good fit developing in his second year in this offense?

All the snaps at practice, all of the things that we’ve done. If you watch the tape closely from last week, you watch it, and you study it, you see that there’s some tough situations that I think would have been difficult for any one of our guys playing. He’ll be ready to go. He’s the guy that’s won before.  The most important thing is all the other pieces around him.”

You invested quite a bit in Teddy (Bridgewater), a draft pick and then you signed him again in the offseason. Can you talk about why you made that investment? What you see in him?

Back to what I said before, we’re looking at a player that we valued coming out, looking at a player that played well in Minnesota, a guy that the players respect. This guy has good arm strength to get the ball down the field and he has the traits you’re looking for at that position.”

You mentioned that the game last year that Teddy (Bridgewater) played in was not necessarily a fair evaluation. What were some of the factors as to why that is the case?

“I’m on the record like five different times with this question. (It isn’t like being asked about) Two backup tackles that had never been in the game on offense. I think you can look it up.”

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

With Drew (Brees) needing surgery today, does that make this a little bit difficult to prepare for, just with the fact that he’s been the guy there for 13 years now and they haven’t really had a whole lot of other people run the offense?

“Yeah. It does. We have to kind of wait and see. You know, it’s a little bit like the first game of the year (to) kind of see how they (come out), any adjustments they may make. Drew has been such an incredible player for so long and he and Sean (Payton) have been so connected for so long. We’ve seen Teddy Bridgewater play before, and now we’re seeing Taysom Hill. We see that they’ve got some other things that they can do with these guys, and we just need to wait and see, and be ready to adapt as the game opens up.”

What impresses you about Teddy Bridgewater having seen him before?

“Consistency. He runs the game well. We’ve played against him before in big games and he just runs the game well. He’s in control, in command. You can count on him. Over time he’s a winning quarterback and over time he’s got more touchdowns than picks and he’s a very reliable quarterback and player.”

Are you approaching this game as if they’re going to play both guys, or are you thinking maybe it’s just going to be Teddy?
“We’re preparing for everything. We have to.”

What are some of the challenges that a guy like Taysom presents?

“Well, I’ve really been impressed with him just as a ballplayer. Let’s go the other way with that, too. Sean (Payton) has done a great job to make him a role player that with an expanded role. That makes him an issue. And that’s no surprise that Sean would figure that out, but it’s a problem. And he’s just a good ballplayer. I think, probably (what I) like best about him is he’s tough. He’s a tough guy, and he blocks you, and he’ll give you great effort when the ball is in his hands and all that. It just gives them some flexibility. They’re down to two quarterbacks, so they got to figure out what they’re doing and we’ll just have to wait and see. (It’s) interesting.”

Has anything in particular stood out about the Saints defense through the first three games?

“Well, just offered last year in watching them throughout the year in the summer and all of that, I think Dennis (Allen) has done a really good job of playing to the strengths of the players. They’re really aggressive. They hit you, they run well to the ball, they do their stuff. The multiple stuff that they do around the base defense, they’re on the attack. And I really like the way they play. The first game was such a crazy game with the big plays and all. The stats don’t bear it out, but I have a lot of respect for the way and the style they play. I think they give you a lot of problems.”

A bit of a random question for you here. The defensive line coach, Ryan Nielsen, you coached him at USC and you helped him get his first coaching job. Do you remember – it was his GA job at Idaho, do you remember what went into that?

“What went into getting him the job or just supporting him as a coach?”

Just how you played a role in helping him get his start as a college coach?

“First off, Ryan was a great team guy for us. He was one of the guys that we relied on early in the program when we were developing the new approach and all that. He has always been such a good guy and he was such a hard worker that it was natural that he would kind of fit into being a coach if he wanted to do that. So, he had my support from the get-go. And when the opportunity (at Idaho) came up (for him), I just remember calling on his behalf. But for me, it’s once a guy becomes one our guys, I’ll do anything to help them. And Ryan is that way, will always be that way with us. Just the connections that we made early on (at USC). I’m sure he’s doing a fantastic job on their staff, as well as coaching guys up. But, no surprise about his success.”

What did you see out of J.T. Barrett with his short stint in Seattle?

“He did a nice job jumping in. Good ballplayer. (He) Really handled himself really well. Smart, got along, worked hard, focused, all the really good stuff. And we have not, we’ve been kind of in and out of the third quarterback thing. So, we just kind of, I was feeling that one out right now until something settles in, but he did a nice job.”

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Post Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Opening Statement:

“It’s another week. We’re getting ready to face a tough opponent on the road. We know how important this game is for us and we all know what’s ahead of us and now we just have to do one thing and that’s focus on the Saints.”

How ready would you say you are right now?

It’s Wednesday and we’re still installing a gameplan and putting things together. I can say that getting out that last week prepared me, got my feet wet again, and I’m excited going into this game.”

Would you say you’re looking forward to the opportunity?
“It’s another opportunity to just go out there and play. You work hard with these guys throughout the weekend and just to have an opportunity to go out there and play, of course you look forward to it.”

You’ve been a starter before, is this a familiar feeling for you just kind of getting back into the groove of it?

“It definitely is. I mentioned to someone that I had not played any meaningful football since 2015. I was able to play in the game last year against Carolina Panthers, but we had already sealed our place in the playoffs and I was able to play in the preseason the past two years (for the Jets and the Saints. But it is nothing like being out there during the games when it counts the most. (I’m) Not saying that the preseason doesn’t count. Never take the game for granted, but just to be able to go out there and compete at the high level just brought back memories.”

In the same respect, people haven’t seen you play meaningful football since 2015. How much do you try to avoid putting pressure on yourself to use this as your showing everybody who you are in a limited amount of time?
“For me, it is just all about being myself and that has been my message to the guys. When we’re out there on the field, just be you. You don’t have to be anyone spectacular. You don’t have to go out of your way. If everyone just can be the best version of themselves, we’ll help this football team win football games.”

You talked about running this offense or looking at this offense in college. Has it been a lot of tweaks for you to play to your strengths?

We’re going to put together a game plan that’s just going to help us win. And that’s what it’s all about. Putting us in the best position to help this team win.”

How different was it for you guys being out without Drew (Brees)?

“It was a little different, but Drew (Brees) sets a great example for the guys on his team to conduct themselves. You sit back and you watch Drew operate and you tell yourself, hey man, just because Drew isn’t are here that doesn’t mean the show must slow down. He sets the tempo and he is the standard. Whenever we’re out there, we have to up our games and elevate our teammates.”

I know what he does before the typical regular season and playoff games, where he breaks down the team, is there any daily things that Drew (Brees) would normally do that you took over today?
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch through and study his process over the past year and a half and Taysom (Hill) as well. We’ve been able to come in, whether it’s on a Monday after a game, paying attention to what Drew (Brees) does or understanding his Tuesday routine and just picking up his weekly routine. That has been very beneficial to all of us. Of course you pay attention to the things that he’s done and you try to apply it into your game. But at the end of the day, Taysom (Hill) isn’t Drew and I’m not Drew. There’s only one Drew Brees and we know that, like I said, he’s the standard, but at the end of the day there’s only one Drew Brees.”

Sean Payton said today that the plan will probably include both you and Taysom. Do you invite that as a way to give Seattle a lot more to worry about?
“Yes, definitely. Like I said, it’s all about doing whatever we can to help this team win. So whether it’s Taysom (Hill) out there making plays or it’s me out there making plays it’s all about the team.”

Do you expect to start?

“Moving forward, I hope so. I think being able to play last week was just (important). I have been the backup here and whoever’s out there, whether it’s me or Taysom (Hill), we expect to lead this team and do what’s right.”

How much different is preparation when you know you’re backup going into the game as opposed to being a starter heading into the game?
“The preparation is totally different when you’re backup. You never know. You’re one play away so you don’t know what play it may happen, but you have to stay ready. I think our coaching staff does a great job of preparing all the guys in that room to be able to just go in when the number is called and try to make plays.”

What do you remember about your last trip to CenturyLink Field back in 2015?

“It was loud. It’s pretty loud here, but we know that and we know that they’re going to be some things that we have to deal with. There’s something you have to deal with every week playing in this league.”

How will the team be different with you and Taysom (Hill) as quarterbacks?

“That’s a tough question and I just feel like we both have a skillset and we can bring something different to the table. Whether it’s generating plays to use Taysom (Hill) or generating plays to use me, we just want to do what we can to help this team win.”

Do you think though the offense Drew (Brees) has run in the two years you’ve been here is similar to what suits your skillset? Like you don’t think they have to make a lot of changes to feature you necessarily?
“This coaching is great for a reason and whether it’s me out there or Taysom (Hill) out there, they’re going to do whatever we’re comfortable doing and what we are comfortable doing ultimately gives us a chance to win football games. That is the mindset moving forward. Whatever’s called, we’re going to make it work.”

You touched on this briefly, but when you woke up this week with this opportunity after everything that’s happened, how did you feel?

“It just showed me how faithful God is. All the times that I may have questioned him or doubted would I ever get an opportunity, he showed how faithful he is to me. Unfortunately, it had to come this way, but I’m a huge believer, firm believer in Christ and I get to use this platform to show how mighty he is.”

What’s your excitement level like?  To have the opportunity to play meaningful football for the first time in a while?

“I’m very excited. Just knowing that going into the game, you have more opportunities. You watch these guys and you watch us work and we practice really hard and study extremely hard and we give our all to play this game. To be able to go out there and go to war with those guys is just a great feeling,”

Do you think the Saints fans have gotten a chance to see the real Teddy Bridgewater yet? “I don’t think so, but we play this game for different reasons. Ultimately, I play this game for the guys in that locker room, for my family, and the fans of course. But at the end of the day, it’s about those guys in the locker room and how we all feel about each other.”

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill

Post Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

How ready would you say you are to possible get a chance to play some quarterback this week?

“Ready in terms of like excitement?”

Excitement.

“I’d be really excited. I think this is what every kid dreams of. Having an opportunity to play in the NFL and so I’d certainly be ready and excited, but we’ll see what happens.”

Is there a balance there in that this increased role at quarterback might decrease your role in the other areas?
“I’m going to do what they ask me to do. I think as far as (special teams) schemes, those questions would be better for (Darren) Rizzi and (his) staff. My expectation is to still be very much involved from a special teams standpoint and offensively (as well). Obviously, today we had our first practice, first install of kind of what we’re going to do. We’ll kind of see how things develop as the week goes on.”

Sean Payton said today to us his plan is to use two quarterbacks. How grateful are you to hear that you’re part of the plan?
“Any opportunity that I’ve had to get on the field, I’ve been very excited about. I love being out on the field. I love competing. I love playing with my teammates. My mindset is no different than it was last week or the week before. I’m going to prepare the best I can to take advantage of every opportunity and try to make the most of each of those opportunities. The preparation, the excitement, everything is the same. We’ll see kind of what that role is going to.”

How different was it not having Drew (Brees) out here today?

Drew has been the heart and soul of this team for a long time. It was hard when he went down. I’ve been with him for the last few years. I know how hard he works. I know how he prepares each week. To see a guy put so much into the game and go down is a tough thing to swallow. I think, personally my mindset, I don’t want to speak for everybody on the team, but I think the mindset is that man, we’re going to do everything we can to win football games for that guy because he did so much for us. The hope is then in a few weeks he can come back and we’re in a great position for him to step back in and do his thing.”

How impressed have you been just early on so far this week seeing Sean Payton’s ability to get creative in a situation like this and then have an effective plan B?

“Again, our base install was today, so I think there’s still a lot more to come. I would say Drew’s been the heart and soul, as I mentioned earlier. But Coach Peyton is leader of this team. I will tell you from the day that we arrived here until now, his spirits have been really positive, really good, and that energy and his positivity throughout the week has been something that we’ve all felt. I know that I’ve certainly appreciated it.”

Is there a difference in mentality at all knowing that you’re kind of one play away from being the quarterback in terms of kind of the style that you play regardless of the role that Coach Payton assigns to you on Sunday?
“Sure. This is a new role for me or something I’m not used to. My expectation was to get on the field and play previously and I had to make sure I was up to speed with all of that stuff, but now I cannot really focus in on what that role is going to be. I have to be able to know the ins and outs of all the gameplan. That mindset is definitely different. I’ll be ready and I’ll prepare and go from there.”

Have you and Teddy Bridgewater been in conversation with Drew (Brees) and has he talked about how you gameplan for Seattle?

“I have talked to Drew. As far as preparation and everything else, I haven’t had any conversations with him about that, but look, I have been following Drew around since the day I got here. I know how he prepares and I know what it takes to play at a really high level. Drew’s not here, which is disappointing, but I’m sticking to the same routine. I’m doing what he’d do is if he were here and if he was preparing to play. That same mindset mentality is something that he taught me and something that I’ll continue to do.”

How would you describe your relationship with Teddy (Bridgewater) and your ability to work together in a situation like this?

“It’s great. I love Teddy. I think from the second he got here last year and through this year, we’ve become friends and I think our QB room is really close. I am rooting for him. I know Teddy’s rooting for me. We were there to support Drew when he was the guy. That mindset is no different. I think we both have the same goal and that’s to win football games. It’s a good room and we’re definitely cheering for each other.”

Playing time is not often divided up between quarterbacks, but if it is, you’re confident that the two of you will be okay with however it’s divided up?

“I have no ill feelings toward Teddy at all and I know Teddy feels the same way towards me. Again, as I mentioned, the number one goal’s to win football games. We trust Coach (Sean) Payton and the staff to put together the best plan to help us do that. We’re going to do our best to execute it.”

How were Drew Brees’ spirits when you talked to him?

“They were good. Look, it’s a disappointing thing to go down, something that I am familiar with (in college). The mental and emotional aspect of that’s very difficult, but Drew’s a top class guy and he handles everything he does with dignity and this has been no different.”

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