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Postgame quotes: New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers | 2023 NFL Week 2

Dennis Allen, Derek Carr, Tony Jones Jr., Chris Olave, and Cam Jordan talk about their division win


Opening statement

It was a good win for us. Obviously, starting the season off 2-0 and getting a divisional win I think is huge. Certainly, it wasn't as clean as we would like it to be but at the same time, I saw some improvement in a few areas. Look, we're just going to have to be able to keep working and keep grinding and keep continuing to get better but as we do that to be able to get wins along the way is a good problem to have. I thought we ran the ball better in this game. Overall, I thought we ran the ball effectively. We were able to get some explosive plays down the field particularly in the second half. Defensively, with the exception of the last drive, I thought we played pretty well.

On the impact of Tony Jones, Jr. on the game

It was awesome. It was great. He ran the ball effectively. I thought we blocked it up front and he made the right cuts. With the two touchdowns for the game, I thought it was big for him and big for us.

On the use of the running backs during the game

We figured we had a couple of options there that could get us out of the game. I don't think that we were anticipating Jamaal (Williams) going down early in the game like he did but I thought Tony Jones stepped up and did a really good job.

On the impact of Chris Olave's 42-yard catch in the third quarter on the offense

Yeah, we had a couple of explosive looks down the field, one to him and one from (Rashid) Shaheed. I think that's something both of those two players provide to our football team. That play is always sitting in your back pocket which is a good feeling to have when things aren't quite going exactly how you want it to. You're really just one explosive play from making something happen.

On if he sees the theme of the offense starting slow before improving in the second half

Probably the biggest common theme is that we haven't done as good a job of protecting the quarterback early on in the game. As the game goes on, I think our guys have gotten better and improved on that. Look, we got a lot of new pieces on the offensive side of the ball. We have a new runner back there, Mike Thomas coming back, a new quarterback, a new left tackle, there's some growth that's going to come with our football team. Here's the deal. These games are won as a team and lost as a team and I thought that these last two weeks we've been able to put together two good team wins.

On the biggest issue with passing game

I didn't think our execution early on in the game was good in terms of guys being in the right spot and doing the right thing every single play. Obviously, that got addressed at halftime and I thought that we were much better in the second half and being able to do that. I thought we ran the ball better in the second half which I think opened things up too.

On the defensive front being able to open things up as a play caller

It makes a big difference. Overall, I was pleased with the way we played the run today. The longest run was the quarterback scramble early on in the game which we just missed it. Other than that, I thought we did an effective job in the run game. And in the passing game, I thought rush and coverage worked together. There weren't a lot of big windows that I could see to throw the ball to and therefore it gave our rush an opportunity to get around the quarterback and I thought we affected him.

On how impressive to not allow a touchdown defensively for nearly two games

I think it should have been two games so I'm not satisfied. But defensively, I think that we're doing some good things and I still think there's a lot of things that we can do better. We're not going to sit around and pat ourselves on the back. We're going to go back to work to try and correct some of the things that we didn't do as well and try to keep doing some of the things that we did well. I thought the front and coverage worked well together today and I thought we did a good job particularly up front.

On the physicality of the catches from Chris Olave and Michael Thomas during the game

You're going to have to do that in our league. There may be a few times where you may get some wide-open targets but for the most part, you're going to have to be able to make catches in contested environments. I think that's been something that we've probably been a little bit better at this year. Certainly, we hope we can continue that.

On Chris Olave's development in making contested catches

Yeah, look I mean the play he made today was a hell of a play. One I thought he might have kind of been interfered with a little bit in terms of holding that arm down and not allowing him to really get that second arm up, but I thought his concentration there, focus all the way through the catch point, all the way through the ground, maintain possession. I thought was really big. I think that is a step forward for him.

On Derek Carr working on timing when in the red zone

Yeah it comes with work. It comes with repetitions. We are not there in the passing game where we need to be quite yet, but I feel confident that we are going to end up getting there. It is more of a consistency issue in our passing game right now than it is ability wise. Because there are some really good things that we are doing. And yet there are a lot of things that we can do better.

On the importance of preventing Bryce Young from getting comfortable on offense

Yeah it was part of what we planned on doing. That was part of the game plan was obviously be able to stop the run and make it where he was going to have to be able to beat us throwing the ball. And felt like maybe we might be able to get some pressure and kind of make him uncomfortable a little bit. That was part of the game plan.

On the defensive game plan

Obviously, we've got a significant number of pressures that we have in our back pocket to run, but we felt like we were doing a pretty good job of being able to get a little bit of pressure on him with our front four or our odd package on third down. Things of that nature. So, didn't feel like there was a need to blitz a lot.

On the impact on defense

I think any team that can rush the passer with four and commit seven to coverage and be effective getting pressure on the quarterback that is a recipe for success in our league. It always has been.

On the defensive performance two weeks in a row

I think it is a unit that expects to go out there and perform at a high level and they have proven it time and time again that they are capable of going out there and doing that. So that is kind of the expectation. Those guys want to be great and they hold each other accountable. We have got a lot of great leadership in that defensive room.

On the instinct of offense to close out games and finish

Yeah it is awesome isn't it? You know what I mean? It is just awesome how we were able to do that two weeks in a row. Obviously, I don't feel like we should have let it get to that point, but I thought our offense, they kicked the field goal there in the third or fourth quarter and the offense responds right back and goes down with a score of their own. That is kind of the way this team is built. There is some ebb and flow to the game. The defense needs to be picked up and the offense has been there to take over and certainly the defense has done its part to help the offense.


On the timing with teammates in the red zone

Well there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We had a few opportunities for sure. Not to get into all of them but you saw them. We had a few opportunities. Missed throw. We had one in the back of the end zone we almost had. That is a tough play. We had another one where I was expecting him to look and just timing of things and there is so much that we have to clean up, but it feels so good to clean it up when you win. We are 2-0 and I don't think that we played at the level that we are all expecting to play at yet, but we are going to keep striving, keep working and make those corrections. But it feels good to do it with a win for sure.

On passing inconsistencies

That is my fault. It is my fault. I will get it fixed. I will get it corrected. I have had moments where it is a little tougher of a road and I have had moments where we get it back together and we are clicking. This is our second game together. I am glad we won so I can say that. Because it is our second game together and we still won the game. We are going to continue to get better. We are going to continue to find that timing. I learned things about my receivers and everybody today that okay I got it. He sees it that way and now okay. I was pissed and I moved on and thankfully our defense kept us in it so when we came back in the second half and we started clicking and started hitting big plays we could pull away and try to win the thing.

On leaning on the Saints defense

That is a very big part of the reason why I came here. Any team that I talked to was a team with a defense. I played these guys. I knew Dennis Allen. I know what it is like and how difficult it is. All I want to do is win. So, I was like, shoot, if I can go there and have a day like today. Didn't play my best in the first half, come back, play good in the second half and win a game? Like I didn't have to be perfect for four quarters and we won. That is awesome. I don't like that still. We won, but I am still sick because I should have played better. I can help the offense more. I sit back and I am already analyzing it right? But to have that defense to hold us, keep us in there until we got clicking in the second half I mean it helped us win the football game.

What happened on the interception?

I saw him coming down and I saw Chris Olave going behind him and when I saw him step down, it was a terrible read. I knew he didn't have anything affecting him. I should have known he was going to get back there. I saw Chris, I threw it and as soon as I threw it I was like you idiot. Like it was terrible. It was my fault all the way.

Any areas he wanted to improve on tonight?

Yeah, I think in the first half I was just too quick. I was playing way too quick. In the second half I was just like I have got to slow it down. I told Pete (Carmichael) and I told RC (Ronald Curry), I told the guys I got you, trust me. Like I am going to be much better in the second half. We are going to win this game. I want them to feel that confidence from me too. Like hey I know what I am doing. It was not my best half of football at all. But we still went into halftime with the lead which is great. That is a great feeling as a quarterback. That you know you can go out there and play better and hopefully go finish the thing and get a win.

On adjustments on offense when you lose a running back

Pete does a great job and our coaching staff does a great job of making sure we are prepared just in case stuff happens. They had a plan that Taysom Hill would be ready just in case something happened and Taysom went in there and did his thing. We put him at running back like you said a couple of times and it is unbelievable what he is able to do. He went one for one. He ran the ball. He ran a route. It is really unbelievable. He is an amazing football player and it is a luxury to have someone who can do all of those things for us.

On the trust he has built with receivers letting them make plays

So much trust. In the first half, like I said I was so quick on some things and there were some things I could have done better to help them get the ball more in their hands and things like that. In the second half it was really nice, no one would know with the naked eye, but we corrected those things. I slowed down, got on the ball a little bit more. I have always had trust in them. Just because the first half didn't go, that was my fault. Those guys have been making plays, you guys have seen it, all camp. In the off season. I have my brothers and my friends sending me tweets because they don't live in New Orleans, like another deep ball to Chris Olave. Like you guys tweeting them out. They have been doing it and so my trust in them it at an all-time high. Especially when they are doing it against our defense. I think that is the most impressive part.

On Chris Olave improving on his physicality

His mentality is unbelievable. I think I've said that to you guys before but I love the talent. You guys see the talent. He just wants to be better just like we all do. We have all the right mindsets and seeing that in him has been a really beautiful thing.

On his message to Bryce Young after the game

Just God bless and that I'm here for you and that I'm rooting for you. He's going to be a great player. I love watching him. My kids loved watching him last year when he was at Alabama. I heard them run around the house, 'Bryce Young throws the ball!' They just love football and they pretend to be everybody. I'm okay with that because Bryce is a good guy but now that we're rivals, I may have to tell them to chill out a little bit.

On being 2-0 after getting a couple of tough wins

Every win matters. We'll see where we are at the end of this thing but they all matter especially against a division opponent and an NFC opponent. Getting that win is huge for us and that's why we play the game is to win. How this thing looks at the end, hopefully it will be cleaner, hopefully it will be better on my part and our part and we're all in here just to win and hopefully we can continue to do that.

On what he said to Rashid Shaheed before the start of the fourth quarter

I wasn't mic'd so unless he was or someone else was around us. They hide microphones everywhere. I said some things but I don't think there will be any videos.

On the long completion to Shaheed

It was a double move. They had been playing aggressive and Pete (Carmichael) took his time with that shot. We knew that we had a few other completions that he liked and we were able to hit those and that one just presented itself in that moment and again, he's so fast. I ripped that thing and he tracked it down like it was nothing. It's unbelievable. He's an unbelievable football player because y'all saw last week just the speed, the go route. Today, he runs the double move and I've been saying that he can run the routes and he's a good receiver. That threat to run by especially against one of the fastest corners in the league says a lot about Rashid and having that weapon is awesome for the offense and for me.

On Bryce Young's performance

Any quarterback that stepped out there this week I say that it's the hardest thing to do in sports. Except Deion (Sanders) said hit a baseball which I might agree with. Playing quarterback is difficult especially at a young age. I'm sure he learned a lot of things today and I hope he learned a lot from me. Don't throw that ball when the safety is there. I just think the world of him. I think he's got a good head on his shoulders and he's going to work hard and he's got good people around him in this organization from the owner, to the general manager, to the coaching staff that's in the room with him on both sides of the ball. He's going to get loved up, he's going to get positivity and he's going to get corrected in the right way and I think the sky's the limit for him. But hopefully, not yet.

On working with Tony Jones and his performance

It was awesome. You got to love stuff like that. He had been here before so when he came in everybody was talking to him and I felt bad because I was like 'Was he here?' and I didn't know he was somewhere else. To see him come in and play and took the role of running back for us when Jamaal went down and to see him score. Again, whoever scores, we do not care. It's big team, little me. It's what D.A. (Dennis Allen) keeps preaching and that's what we keep believing in.

How impressive to not allow a touchdown defensively for nearly two games?

I think it should have been two games so I'm not satisfied. But defensively, I think that we're doing some good things and I still think there's a lot of things that we can do better. We're not going to sit around and pat ourselves on the back. We're going to go back to work to try and correct some of the things that we didn't do as well and try to keep doing some of the things that we did well. I thought the front and coverage worked well together today and I thought we did a good job particularly up front.

On the physicality of the catches from Chris Olave and Michael Thomas during the game

You're going to have to do that in our league. There may be a few times where you may get some wide-open targets but for the most part, you're going to have to be able to make catches in contested environments. I think that's been something that we've probably been a little bit better at this year. Certainly, we hope we can continue that.

On the trust he has in the team

Hopefully, we can show as an offense that they can trust us at the end to put it away. We've been able to do that early on. We're building trust and a lot of things as a team. The trust has always been there with this defense. That's a given. They're unbelievable. The trust with myself and the receivers as we continue to grow. I've always had trust in them when that you have one-on-one and the games on the line that I'm coming to you, it's your moment to go be on SportsCenter. They continue to show up and they continue to make those plays and like I said, hopefully we can continue to prove to our defense that when the game is on the line, no matter what, we can help put it away and be able to do those things and so far we've been able to do that.

On taking steps forward with the protection on the offensive line

I thought that we did some things really well and there's some things that we need to fix. It's not something that is easily fixed overnight but with repetition and with time on task and experience. We'll go back and look at it and be hard on ourselves. That's the best thing to do after a win is to be even harder on yourself to say 'How can I take what I did in that game and be better at practice?', 'How do I make Wednesday better?', 'How do I make it better from what I learned and as long as we continue to preach that and have that mindset, I think we'll continue to get better at it. There's some things that were better and some things that we need to clean up. When we needed them, they were there for us so they did a great job.


On getting the chance to play

Coach says, "It doesn't matter who is out there. When guys are out there, we're playing for the whole group. So with me playing it's just like Jamal playing, Kendre, all of us are out there. It doesn't matter."

On the help of his offensive line

"I mean the coach told us before the game we were going to have to run through the trenches. I think we did. And to be honest, our line ran it. Our line was pushing off the ball three yards or four yards, it doesn't matter.

On how he feels about playing on Monday Night Football

"It's big. I am a journeyman. I have been on three teams in the past 12 months, so I mean God is real and glory to him. That on the field wasn't me, it's all him."

On being one of the few running backs with Jamaal Williams on the roster for today's game

"I didn't even know it was going to be just me and him to be honest. Coach had us out there running drills, and I was like dang it's only two of us. So you got to thug and fight through it. That's all you got to do."


On the offense starting slow

"That is just how football is. It is not always going to go our way. We got off to a slow start but, we just fought through adversity and being able to get to 2-0 was the most important thing. We know we have a lot of things to fix up especially in the first half, but hopefully we can get back next week and clean those up."

On staying patient on offense

"Just with that slow start it was still a close game. We were still leading most of the game. We know our defense is going to hold it down. They have been holding it down all year. We just have to stay patient and wait for the ball to come and when your number is called you have to make that play. So, somebody has to make a play and I am glad they threw it to me."

On Derek Carr

"He just has a calm composure. Through all of that we know he is not going to panic. He is not going to do anything bad or turn against us. He has been in the league. He is a veteran. He is a great leader even when things are bad. When things get down or when things get hectic we can't turn against each other. We have to leave on each other more and that is what we did today and we came out with the win."


On first impression of Bryce Young

"He is a good kid. I think that he has a lot of room to grow. Our ability to keep him in the pocket, crush the pocket, make him feel uncomfortable, that clearly was the plan and I think we succeed in that. I do think he escaped more than we thought he would. We went in thinking that he was a pocket passer, and he has some speed to him. He was able to slip out those A and B gaps. We will know that for the next time we play him. We have to play him a second time. As he grows, as he matures, this time around some will say he is a little young if you shall."

On Young's ability to escape the pocket

"No, not at all. I think the one time I really had him, one of the offensive linemen peeled back and got a good shot at me. Kudos to them. I think, again, we collapsed the pocket. I hit him with the offensive linemen a few times this game. The one time, between me and (Bryan) Bresee had a sack, I think a penalty happened. I had the ball in my hands, I mean that's a fumble. Where does a penalty come from? It's cool, it's just stats off the board for me. Don't worry about it, it's just my legacy."

On limiting teams to no touchdowns

"At the crap time. Like fourth quarter when we need it the most. I hate that. I think that we have done a great job the first game, not letting any touchdowns happen. I think we are on track. You have to finish all four quarters. Two minutes left, whatever it is, you can't let them score like that. That's just things we have to tighten up on."

On stopping the running game

"Yeah, I mean absolutely. I think we have guys like Khalen Saunders and Malcolm Roach really focusing on stopping the run. They are doing a phenomenal job this year. I think with Bryan Bresee rotating in with Nathan Shepherd, again I think we have a great possibility to have a great interior line. We have to keep on growing. I think that Carl Granderson, again, if you try and chip me, Carl is turning up and he is turning up the heat suddenly, rapidly. I love the way our defensive line is playing right now."

On Carl Granderson

"Nothing, what've you seen differently. I have been talking highly from two, three years now. You guys are finally listening. Once we got beyond the reverse worm that he tried on his first sack, after that we are doing great."

Check out the game action from the New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season.

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