Saints Quarterback / Tight End / Special Teamer / Do-Everything weapon Taysom Hill meets Steve Serby before Sunday's wildcard fight against the Vikings.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player and how much fun is your role?
A: I don't know how to describe or call myself a player. I think my attitude is that I will do what the coaches ask me to do. I am super willing because I enjoy it and I want to be in the field. So I would say that my mindset is ready to help our team win in every possible way. So I'm not sure what you would call that. I still see myself as a quarterback in my heart. As much fun as I have, I had a lot of fun doing what I did, a lot of fun being with Drew [Brees], It's a great experience to learn from one of the greats to play the position while playing with him, and I think it's such a unique perspective for me and my development as a quarterback that it really means a lot to me , As for the other things, I don't really think much about defense. I have spoken to people we played and there is always a plan for how they will do it. Really, I'm thinking of the New Orleans Saints and how I can help them win games.
Q: What are your favorite large pieces as a saint?
A: I think my first thought would be to block a punt in 2018 and get your hands on a punt in Tampa Bay. I feel like I could give this game a spark when we needed one. I think blocking a punt is so unique because it doesn't happen very often, and it was kind of a perfect storm. It is a piece that comes to mind. Otherwise it is difficult. Picking up another punt this year in Atlanta was another point that struck me as it was the game's first drive, the fourth game of the game, and it was great to start this game the way that we wanted it. That being said, it is difficult to determine one touchdown that was more crucial than the other.
How long did it take you to survive last season's defeat against the Rams in the NFC championship?
A: I don't want to speak for everyone, but for me the off-season – February, March – was a heavy swallowing defeat. When we came back for OTAs and I was hanging out with the boys, I was sure about it. When we were together we were all very motivated to go back there and then the rest went away. Is that still motivating for me? The way we lost doesn't motivate me. The feeling and experience of playing in the NFC championship game motivates me because it was one of the highlights of my sporting career to be able to play in such a game.
Q: Describe your mentality in the field.
A: I have a feeling that there is no secret in what role I am in this team. I know what my role is. My mentality is to go in and add a spark wherever I can. Whenever I go to the field, I want to be a guy who plays with a lot of energy. I want to bring energy to the field. When entering the field, my top priority is to play with passion and energy and do my best to make my game successful.
Q: Do you have an anecdote about Drew Brees?
A: I think one thing, because people are familiar, is the video Reggie Bush posted a few weeks ago when he was going through all the mental repetitions in his head the day before our last game on Monday night. For me, that personifies who Drew is. He will flip every stone over to prepare for a soccer game. The other thing is that this guy has been doing this for 19 seasons and is still preparing in the same way, and it's stunning for me. That makes him something very special.
Q: What do you find most fascinating about him?
A: The preparation. It's hard to say because I haven't spent much time with other people. But I think Drew is really in a league of its own when it comes to preparing for a game. No situation makes the guy nervous. One of my favorite things about him is that you could watch him at any point in the game and not know if you were up 50 or 50 or if he is ready to lead our team on a 2 level. Minutes drive to win the soccer game. You cannot set how long it plays. If you look at Drew's numbers this year and last year, he's been the league's most efficient quarterback in recent years. It is simply incredible what he can do. I think the question for him really is how long he wants to play and when it gets too much for his family.
Q: What makes Receiver Michael Thomas so special?
A: Similar to Drew, these two have similar characteristics in terms of how they approach each game week. Mike walks up to each exercise staff as if it were a game. We're going to take a tour and the guy flies around and gets his routes down, his timing down, his footwork down. I would say he takes practice and continuity replications very seriously.
Q: What is an anecdote that trainer Sean Payton summarizes?
A: Sean is one of those who have balanced being a coach / player trainer better than anyone else I have ever seen, and so he will be in the locker room for a moment and one of the boys chatting with us and hang out and suddenly we go to the practice field and he challenges you, he follows you in a way that challenges you to see how you will react. Sean is very, very detailed. He and Drew are very alike in that they won't leave any stone unturned.
Q: What is the best soccer game you have ever played?
A: This is a difficult question. I look back on my college days [BYU]I think of a few games. We had played at the University of Texas in 2013 and 2014, and these two single games were some of the better games that I personally played for me, and we won both games in a big way. I don't remember all the statistics, but I remember being close in 2013 [259 yards] break a quick record for a quarterback for most fast yards in one game. In 2014 we all played very well on the street. The other thing you noticed was that we played against Houston in 2013 and won a close game, but I threw over 400 yards, rushed over 100 yards, and did a few touchdowns, though I did a few interceptions too. These are the games that come to mind. It is a difficult question for the NFL. I feel that the Thanksgiving game in Atlanta stands out when it comes to getting my hands on a barge [deflection] and have a few touchdowns.
Q: Which college injury was your lowest?
A: Every injury was different, difficult to handle and overcome. The one that came to my mind was 2015 when I tore my Lisfranc in my foot. I had an injury in 2012 as a newbie, I made it in 2013, 2014 had a great year and was injured. When I look at my injury history, it felt like I was playing really well, had the injury and my attitude was that I would have a great final year in 2015, and then we play Nebraska. I felt like I was really playing good. It was the first game of my senior season to suffer a Lisbon tear and it was mentally and emotionally the most difficult to get my head under control.
Q: How did it motivate you not to be designed, and still does?
A: To be honest, I've dealt with a lot of injuries. I didn't expect to be drafted because of the injuries. It didn't really bother me. I think my attitude was I wanted an opportunity. I was given an opportunity. I didn't know what it would really look like from the injury, but we were able to work through it. Does it still motivate me? I don't really think about it. When I arrived in Green Bay and was in New Orleans for the first time, both were coaches [Mike] McCarthy and Coach Payton have said several times and say: I don't care how you got here, the reality is that you are here and that's all that matters to us, and now we're going to pay attention to how you act and play . So it doesn't really bother me.
Q: Why Green Bay first as a free agent?
A: I felt like they liked me from the start. As I said, I felt there were other teams that liked me, but the injury, which was the last game of the season as a senior, worried a number of teams. Green Bay never wavered, so I felt comfortable with it. I felt that there was a cleaner way for me to create this roster that I felt they had a clear idea of what I was going to do and what I could do there. That's why I decided to sign there.
Question: Who were your favorite childhood / quarterbacks?
A: I feel like when I was growing up there were a handful of people that I saw. Peyton Manning, of course I grew up with him. Interestingly, I had a brother who was a little too small, so I felt like he grew up watching Drew, loving Drew, and everything he had done. His story had somehow resonated with him, so I became a big Drew Brees fan and watched him play because my older brother was a big fan of his. I would say I really notice these two quarterbacks.
Q: When and how did your NFL dream start?
A: Of course, I think, just like any other child doing sports, I wanted to be able to play in the NFL, but I think the first real opportunity or kind of experience where it was an opportunity was when I got to college a freshman. I felt able to play at the NFL level and really didn't know everything it needed. I think with the injuries and everything else, there was still some uncertainty going into the NFL. I then had a few experiences in Green Bay that I felt I could do.
Q: Who were your biggest influences?
A: I think when I grew up I spent most of my time with my family. You have always been so important to me. When I look back at my childhood and what shaped and shaped me as a man and as someone who was willing to work hard and do difficult things, I think that this was done using the example of my siblings and my parents. I watched both parents create every opportunity for me and my siblings, and then I had three other siblings playing college sports. I saw her go to high school and be successful and play at college level and be successful, so this kind of set was not so much the standard, but somehow showed me the possibilities that I have.
Q: What are your favorite memories of high school soccer and basketball?
A: I had played in High School Football State Championship games [Pocatello, Idaho], but I finally won my last year. I was on the team, didn't really wear my first year, but was there when we lost the state championship game. In the second year we lost in the state championship game. Last year we made it back to the national championship game and won. I would definitely say that this moment, this game and the opportunity to experience it with my high school friends and coaches was definitely a highlight for me. I would say there is no special moment in my basketball game except my junior year when we had a really good team and went to the state championship tournament. We lost in the second round of the playoffs, and I think especially in this junior year and what we were able to achieve.
Question: Describe your Mormon mission in Sydney in 2009-11.
A: It was a great experience. It was very difficult to serve one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I felt like it gave me a lot of perspective on what is really important in life, and it was an incredible experience for me.
Q: Describe how your older brother Dexter, who suddenly switched from an addiction to opiates, became an inspiration for you.
A: Dexter passed away in my last red shirt year in 2016, and it was an easy decision for me to change my number from 4 to 7, and I wanted to do it so that I always remembered it. Dexter was one of the most competitive guys I've ever seen. I really felt like I was always after him, I wanted to be as good as he was. He was also a quarterback. I'm still looking at where I can wear number seven and decide to wear number 7 because of my brother Dexter, and I want to honor that number. I made this change for him. It was very motivating.
Q: What drives you?
A: I just want to be successful. I think as an athlete you are able to fight and go through some difficult things and I would say to myself that I want to be successful. I want to make sure that my preparation makes me successful so that I can make my wife and family proud of me. That motivates me.