Taysom Hill on being activated off of Reserve/COVID-19 list: “It’s nice to be back”


NEW ORLEANS ( WGNO ) – Saints quarterback Taysom Hill missed Monday night’s game against the Dolphins on the team’s Reserve/Covid-19 list.

Thursday, Hill spoke with the media for the first time since being activated off of the list.

Hill discussed what it was like to be away from the team and previewed Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers.

Here is the transcript from the call:

Can you talk about your experience over the past week and how you consumed Monday night’s game?

“I watched the game at the house, I was talking to my wife during the game that this is so abnormal for me in the NFL, this was the fifth game I missed this season not being able to play. It was a tough deal where you want to be available and you want to help your team and it is one of those things where you are stuck at the house watching the game. It’s nice to be back and (I’m) excited for these next few weeks.”

You’ve talked several times about patience and perseverance. How far has yours been stretched?

“Yes, it’s been a challenging year for a lot of reasons for me, personally and now you fast forward to the end of the season. We talked last week (where) I’m fully aware of the situation and the playoff picture. That gets to the point to where you compete from July until now to get into postseason play and then you have to deal with more things. It is just one of the things that we’ve had to deal with this season. We’re still in the middle of it and we’re going to control what we can control. That’s kind of the vibe of this season. With what we’ve had to live by, I feel we’ve been able to persevere pretty well to where we’re still in the hunt to get to the postseason.”

Are you at the point where you feel there’s nothing else that can happen to you?

“I’m never going to say that. You guys know my history. Football is a game that you can’t take for granted, because you never know if it will be your last. That lesson was taught to me several times in college. I’m fully aware this is a brutal league on many accounts, from an injury standpoint, a business standpoint. It’s a tough league to make it in and stick around. You need to have that mindset to take advantage of every opportunity you can, control what you can control. If you don’t it’s a brutal league.”

What was last week for you with the moving pieces, Trevor Siemian first going on the COVID-19 list and then it happening to you? Did you feel okay?

“Wednesday I felt fine after practice and Trevor obviously tested positive Wednesday. Trevor came in the facility, tested and was negative, but I had talked to him before we went to practice, and he said he tested negative but these were the symptoms he felt and he progressively got worse. So they tested him again, sent him home and he was positive. I woke up Thursday morning feeling the same way that Trevor described to me Wednesday morning. I obviously didn’t want to expose my teammates, came in and was obviously positive.”

Being such a physical player, was there any positive or silver lining of getting a week off? Do you feel physically better at all than if you continue to play?

“I would have said the answer was yes in some weeks, now there are some weeks you get banged up over the others. I would say by week 17 everyone’s dealing with something, but I would say physically my body has gotten used to the bumps, bruises and the banging, what’s asked of me on gameday. Honestly I felt fine. The issues between my finger and foot, those are issues I’ll have to deal with the rest of the season, so physically I felt fine last week and I wouldn’t say that there’s any noticeable difference from last week to this week. But that’s not always the case. Maybe some weeks a week off would do you some good.”

Obviously we know what team’s deal with. With your relationship with Ian Book and how you have mentored him, how difficult was it to see him have struggles in his first start given the situation?

“There is a range of emotions. I was disappointed in not being able to play, but my disappointment in not being able to play was balanced by some excitement for Ian. I dialed in on every zoom call and was part of every meeting we had last week from home and then had multiple conversations with Ian over the phone to support him. I was excited for him. Ian has been a great rookie. He’s been fun to have around. He came in here with the right mindset, wanting and willing to work hard and all those things, so when this happened and he was getting this opportunity, I was excited for him. The thing that was most disappointing going back to your question was that I wasn’t able to be there on the sideline, to talk him through different things, what they were doing, whatever that conversation would have been on the sideline. I think there’s a comfort level from training camp to now. We’ve been together a long time. I was disappointed I wasn’t here for him that way.”

Sorry to keep asking you about last week, but you won two games in the role and then that disrupted everything. How do you get back that winning mindset?

“I think the mindset is always the same. I came in here this morning fired up and excited and ready for the next challenge and opportunity Sunday. Last week happened and we lost a tough game, but I think in the scheme of things we’re in a good situation. Now it’s not ideal because we need some help. My mindset for me personally and where we are at is that we’re going to continue to get better, get healthy, get guys back and keep this thing rolling. What happened last Monday night is not going to derail our expectations of ourselves.”

Did you and your teammates talk about the league’s change in protocols after the fact when it potentially could have helped you guys get players back?

“No, we didn’t really say anything. Obviously as you had mentioned it would have been nice to be in place before Monday night, but so many of these things are out of our control and we’re aware of that and what we can control. I feel pretty good fortunately today and the rest of the week getting ready for this game.”

We just got word that Erik McCoy joined the COVID-19 list, now all of a sudden you have to work with a new center. What type of adjustment is that for you and what is it like to do it with short notice this late in the season?

“We ask a lot of our centers. Erik has been an anchor for us. I know he had that injury for us early in the year. He’s been an anchor for us up front. He’ll definitely be missed. With that being said I think from an organization standpoint, they’ve done a great job of preparing these other guys and Will Clapp stepped in and took quite a few reps at center today. I thought he did a really good job. As I look at Will, I have had a lot of reps with Will. My comfort level with him is really high. I am fine with that. I think he’s super-capable. There’s still a learning curve for he and I as we get more reps together, but I don’t see it being (a major issue).

Is it frustrating to be constantly thrown curveballs?

“This whole situation is not an ideal situation, but I think the overall health of our guys, all those things take precedence. The bigger thing is you don’t want to take risks on exposing other people. We all have family that we love, so I think it’s just another one of those things where it is what it is. The way the organization has handled it (has been great), everyone has been really responsible. We will handle it as it comes. It’s not an ideal situation as you get ready for a game knowing people might go down.”

Do you have any theory or explanation for the team’s struggles in the Caesars Superdome this year?

“You talk about team goals, expectations and stuff, having a good home record is always important, so I think that has been a little frustrating for us as a team that we have not played better at home. I would say we are not looking back, not looking on the past, not about who’s going to pop next (COVID-19 positives). Whatever happens is going to happen. As I said earlier, we have a one track mind of winning this football game on Sunday and then winning the next one and then seeing from there. I think that starts Sunday. Our fan base is one of the best in the country. I know they’ll show up and we’ll take care of every little advantage and all the help we can get and hopefully take care of this.”

{Transcript courtesy of the New Orleans Saints}

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