Taysom Hill will likely do more than annihilate opponents on special teams for the New Orleans Saints this week.
Hill is almost certain to throw his first pass as a quarterback for New Orleans in the team's preseason opener Thursday at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So far, fans have yet to see Hill the QB. They've heard his coaches and teammates rave about him. They've seen his big-hit highlights on TV. And, who knows, Thursday could increase fans' infatuation with the reserve QB.
Below is a question-and-answer session held with Hill after practice Monday.
Editor's note: This Q&A was transcribed and provided by the New Orleans Saints communications department.
How much do you want to be a holder?
“Certainly, any opportunity to get on the field, I am excited about. Wil (Lutz) is a good friend. I'm excited about the opportunity to be out on the field with him at the time and experiencing the opportunity (for him) to kick a big-time field goal at a big-time game. I am excited about that. It is a new thing for me. I have never done it before, but excited for the challenge.”
How is the transition going with that?
“It has been good. I think, historically, a lot of backup quarterbacks have held for kickers. It’s been a natural transition for me, because I'm used to handling the ball every play, so getting the snap is familiar to me. Obviously, it's a different motion and the transition is a little bit different, but I would say it's gone smoothly.
How much more excited are you looking to get on the field as a quarterback?
“Oh yeah, I'm fired up about it. We've talked about this several times, that this has really been my first opportunity to play quarterback in this offense. Next week on Thursday, will be my first opportunity to play quarterback in this system, in a game. I’m fired up about that, and I’m excited for the opportunity and challenge.”
Do you get a lot of following and love still from your Brigham Young faithful?
“Certainly. BYU has the best fans in world. The nice thing about BYU is that it takes in a wide area. There would be times where we’d travel and be on the road, and we'd have more fans than the home team that we're playing, a lot of really loyal fans. I felt a lot of love through playing at BYU. I had a lot of ups and downs through my career at BYU, through different injuries and stuff. The fan bases have always been right there to pick me up and support me through all those injuries.”
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What did you learn about playing in the preseason from your time with Green Bay?
“I think getting used to and acclimated to the speed of the game, and the timing and all that, is big. I would say that was really important for me in Green Bay. I didn't get a ton of reps in Green Bay, so I look at this preseason, again, as another unique and great opportunity for me to get some game-time experience in the NFL at quarterback. I am excited about that. I'll prepare as if we're going into a big-time game and do my best to move the ball up and down the field.”
Is there anything different or challenging about going in for a brief time as opposed to being able to play the whole game?
“Yeah, I think so. I think it's natural for you, as a quarterback, knowing that your time is going to be limited and knowing you're trying to put a good display out there. I think it's normal to feel like you need to press, try to make all the big plays, and all the big throws. The challenge is to try to get rid of that mentality. Go to your receivers and make the right throws when they're there and shake it down if you need to.”
Do you think trying not to press and just doing your job during a preseason game makes it a little harder since your adrenaline is flowing?
“For sure. Again, I think there's this fine line where you want to give other guys opportunities to make plays and you want to put balls up there in one on one situations, so guys can go up and make plays and get good film out there, as well. I think we'll find a good balance there. As I look at it, the biggest thing for me is to operate inside the offense and do that as efficiently as possible. This offense is built to take shots, so take the shots when they're there. We always talk that if we do call something for down the field and it's not there and you check it down and get five or six yards, it’s a positive play. We’ll continue to call those if that is what we are doing when we call them. Other than that, just having that mentality, taking your shots when you have a chance and playing smart football.”
Are you looking forward to facing a different defense, not one that's seen you guys every single day?
“For sure. This is a time of camp where everyone knows everyone’s calls. There's a lot of talking going back and forth. I think everyone's excited to get on the field. Everyone is worked hard. It's exciting for a lot of the vets to be able to support the young players in the system, knowing that they'll get an opportunity to go out and play. It's a great team building exercise to go out and play in these preseason games. I'm excited to get the opportunity to play with them, but I'm also excited to watch my teammates go out and play.”
Are you going to run any special teams during the preseason game?
“We're still working all that out. I haven't had any conversations with any coaches, offensive or special teams coaches, to kind of see what the plan is, but I anticipate doing a little bit.”
Are you excited to go full speed in one of those drills?
“Yeah. I'll be ready with whatever it is. We'll have those conversations, but certainly excited to get out and run around and make some plays.”