New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with Local Media
Friday, December 4, 2015
Is it hard to game plan for a quarterback like Cam Newton, who can beat you through the air and with his feet?
"Obviously, he creates a unique set of challenges. I know a lot of people look at him as a running quarterback but he has really improved himself throwing the football. I think they do a really good job offensively of giving him a package of things that he can do and execute at a really high level. He is doing a great job of reading the defense and it looks to me like he is making some checks at the line of scrimmage to get them in the best possible play. I think he is playing at a high level and I certainly think that anytime that you play a quarterback that can throw the football, and yet they have the ability to run, scramble and extend plays, they present a unique challenge."
You alluded to his improvement in the passing game; was there a time where you could get away with cutting off his running game and daring him to throw the ball?
"I think that would apply to any young quarterback. When a guy first comes into the league, I think there are different things that you can do, regardless of whether he is a running quarterback or he can throw the football. I think there are obviously some things that you can do to maybe trick them or do different things. Every year, you watch this guy and he has continued to grow as a quarterback in every facet of the game. He is playing that position as well as anybody in the league."
What was your takeaway from the defensive performance in Houston?
"I thought that we made some improvement, but we have a long way to go. It is not nearly good enough for us. It is not up to our expectations. I thought it was a solid foundation to build on. We have gotten back to work this week to try to continue to get better as a defense. That is what we look to do on a day to day basis. It is constant every day. (It is about) self-improvement and we don't really worry about what is out there in the future or the end result. We worry about the process. Let's continue to get better and if we do that, the results will take care of themselves."
With John Jenkins potentially being out, does that put Tyeler Davison in position to get a lot more snaps? What have you seen out of him since you've come on board?
"I like what we've been able to get out of Tyeler Davison. Tyeler Davison, for a rookie and a late round draft choice, I think we've been able to get a lot out of him. He has played, not only in our base stuff, but he has also played in our nickel and some of our third down packages. I continue to see him improve throughout the season and that is what you look for. You look for guys that, as the year goes on, they get a little bit better. That is what you look for, especially in all of our rookies. There are going to be some growing pains any time you play young players. They're going to make mistakes that are going to cost you big plays, and sometimes they cost you games. The key is, do they continue to grow on a weekly basis? I think Tyeler is one of those guys that has."
What needs to improve in the run defense?
"I think the biggest thing that we have to do is we have to swarm the football better. When you create population around the ball, you limit explosive plays. That is what we have to do. When you look at last week's game and you look at the rushing totals, which I think were 160 yards, (you assume) that they just ran the ball all over them (us). But it took them 38 attempts to get there and that is 4.4 yards per carry. It is not good enough but I think sometimes, you just look at the raw number of 160 yards and (assume) that they (we) couldn't stop the run. We're really about a half-yard off of what I would say would be decent run defense."
Sean Payton mentioned that you organized the call sheet differently; is that just a matter of preference?
"I think everybody has their own preference of how they want to see things laid out on the call sheet (or) what's easy on the eye. This is a call sheet that I have used before and that is the sheet that we used."
Do you like breaking it down into down and distance?
"I think everything you want to lay out. This whole game's played situationally. First-and-10's different than second-and-10. Third down's obviously different and there are different down and distance categories within third down. Red zone's played differently and short yardage is played differently. You have to look at the game based on the situation. That's one of the things that we talk to the players about all of the time. Don't just play the call, play the call within the situation in the game. If I make the same call on first-and-10 that I do on second-and-nine, you've got to play that call differently."
New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Conference Call with Local Media
Friday, December 4, 2015
Aside from the win/loss result, were you pretty pleased with the way things went offensively in that first meeting this season with Carolina?
"Obviously, we weren't pleased with the loss. Drew (Brees) wasn't able to play (but) we had all of the confidence in the world in Luke (McCown). We felt confident with him going out there and executing the game plan. Again, we weren't satisfied with the loss."
Does their defense change much with (Luke) Kuechly in it, as opposed to playing them without him the first time?
"They do what they are going to do defensively. They have a lot of great players on that defense and obviously Kuechly's one of the best in the league. I think he does a great job when he's out there, getting their guys lined up, communicating and getting that defense rolling. I would say that they've been running that defense (for a while) and those players that are there, know what they're doing."
Because this is an opponent that you play twice a year, you guys both know each other fairly well, I would guess?
"I would say that we know the base. They are always going to try to do something to throw a wrinkle in there. I think that is kind of normal for teams that are (within the same) division. You're going to get something different and you just don't know what that's going to be."
Sean (Payton) mentioned that when the offense has struggled, a lot of times it has been (because) of first and second down issues. What has the offense really struggled with on first and second down?
"I think some of it's just simple execution. Maybe it's one guy here or there, and he's right because we struggled with some first and second down executions, and instead we find ourselves in third-and-nine (or) 10-12. Those just are not favorable positions for any offense."
Is the sluggishness of the offense a concern, being that it seems like it has persisted beyond just one game?
"Obviously, it has been something that we have to get better at and address. We have to find ways to continue to execute and be efficient on first and second down."