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New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen says no staff changes forthcoming, offensive improvement continues to be addressed

'Four games into the season, I don't think anything is drastic. I think that'd be ridiculous and yet, we have to be better'


Coach Dennis Allen said Monday there will be no staff changes at present for the New Orleans Saints, or any changes to play-calling responsibilities.

Specifically, entering Sunday's game against New England at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., the Saints (2-2) have struggled offensively through the first four games, having reached the 20-point mark once while averaging 15.5 points per game, 13.8 if Rashid Shaheed's punt return touchdown is subtracted.

"We won't make any coaching changes," Allen said. "I've never seen that to be the right answer, particularly when you're four games into the season. And yet, we have to be better.

"And I understand everybody's frustration, and believe me, everybody in this building is frustrated with it. Because we have to find ways to put more points on the board."

The Saints totaled three field goals in Sunday's 26-9 loss to Tampa Bay in the Caesars Superdome, and have gone 10 games since last scoring 27 points.

Allen said the team isn't burying its head in the sand or glossing over an obvious issue, but the sky isn't falling, either.

"Four games into the season, I don't think anything is drastic," he said. "I think that'd be ridiculous and yet, we have to be better.

"I think they'll respond well. And, look, we'll find out this week. Two weeks ago everybody was feeling great, you have a couple of losses and everybody wants to think the sky is falling. I don't think there's any panic here, and yet, there's a sense of urgency."

The noticeable target for improvement is offensively. The Saints totaled 197 yards Sunday.

"I think it's a combination of things," Allen said. "I think we've got to put our guys in better positions to be successful, and then I think we've got to do a better job of executing it when we do.

"There's a few plays in the game (against the Buccaneers) where we have some opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them, and then we get down there in the red area a couple of times and end up taking some negative plays, which forced us into some longer situations and we weren't able to convert.

"It's frustrating because I think we can be better than we are, and yet, we're sitting here four games into the season at 2-2, one game back in our division. And so, we're not going to sit here and act like the sky is falling and the season is over. Do we have to get better? Frickin' A right we do. And we need to do it quickly."

New Orleans is one game behind Tampa Bay (3-1) in the NFC South Division standings, tied with Atlanta. But the Saints were leading Green Bay 17-0 in the fourth quarter before being overcome in an 18-17 loss, and the offense and defense faltered Sunday against the Buccaneers.

"Up until the last six quarters, I think we knew there were some challenges and some things that we needed to improve," Allen said. "And yet, we were in a pretty good position. We've got to look at it and see where we can get better. What plays are we calling, who are we doing them with, what are we asking our guys to do, are we asking them to do the right things? After every game we look at that.

"I told the guys today, there were a couple of calls in the game defensively that I hated. And I told them on a couple of occasions, I put them in a bad spot. That happens from time to time. And there are going to be times where I'm going to make a crappy call and I need the guys to bail me out, and there's going to be some times where I'm going to put them in a great position to have a lot of success.

"This is a team game. We're all in this, coaches and players alike, and we all have our hand in it and we all have to be grown men and accept our accountability for where we're not functioning well and look for ways to improve it."

Allen said that offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael knows the offense hasn't operated at peak efficiency, and understands that criticism of his position goes along with that.

"I think he knows that, I think we all understand that," Allen said. "And obviously, the play-caller is always the first one that has the target on their back. And yet, he knows that that's his responsibility. He's fully aware of it, and he's working hard to get it fixed."

CARR UPDATE: Allen said he was fine with the decision to start quarterback Derek Carr on Sunday, a week after Carr sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder. Other than a couple of incomplete passes intended for receivers Michael Thomas and Chris Olave, Allen said he felt Carr was on target.

"I don't second-guess whether or not Derek was the guy to go into that game," he said. "I still think he was the guy to go into that game. Unfortunately, we didn't play as well as we needed to."

Carr's shoulder likely factored into the Saints not running a quarterback sneak from their 1-yard line with 41 seconds left in the first half, after Isaac Yiadom's interception at the goal line. The plan was to gain a yard or so, to provide space for a couple of kneel-downs to close out the half. But on the first play, fullback Adam Prentice fumbled, Tampa Bay recovered and two plays later, the Bucs scored a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead entering halftime.

Carr possibly will follow last week's practice regimen, where he was limited Wednesday and Thursday and then threw Friday and Saturday.

"As we sit here now, I would say that the plan would be somewhat similar," Allen said. "And yet, probably how he's feeling (Tuesday) and when he comes into the building Wednesday morning will probably dictate a little bit more in terms of how we manage him this week."

AK WAS OK: Running back Alvin Kamara made his season debut Sunday following his three-game suspension, and rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries and caught 13 passes for 33 yards.

"I thought there were some good things that he did," Allen said. "I thought particularly in the second half, I thought we ran the ball much better. I thought early in the game he was operating a little bit fast, in that I thought there were a couple of cuts there that maybe we could have gotten a little bit more out of. But I thought overall, it was a solid performance."