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New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen set for deep review of team during mini-bye

'We'll spend some time dissecting where we're at in terms of the first seven games, things that we've got to improve on'

New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 7 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 7 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Perhaps not everything will be subject to review for the New Orleans Saints during the mini-bye that comes along with having played Thursday night and having the weekend off, but much will for a team that's 2-5 and has lost two straight, and five of six since opening weekend.

"I think we'll look at a lot of different things," Coach Dennis Allen said Friday. "We'll take the next few days – I told the players to take the next few days off, we'll be back in on Monday with the players. We'll spend some time over the next few days kind of dissecting where we're at in terms of the first seven games of the season, things that we've got to improve on.

"And there's a lot of things that we've done well. I thought we moved the ball extremely well (Thursday) night. I think we've scored a lot of points in the last few games. So there's a lot of things that we're doing well. There's some things that we have to clean up so that we can begin to win some of these games, rather than coming out on the short end."

New Orleans' main cleanup areas from Thursday's 42-24 loss to Arizona at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., were turnovers (three by quarterback Andy Dalton, two returned for touchdowns) and a second consecutive game on defense where missed tackles were glaring.

"There's not this magic pill, this magic formula," Allen said. "I think we all live in the microwave society and we want to see things change right away. We're working as hard as we can to get it fixed, but yet, I think the process is, you've got to continue to work on it, continue to work it, continue to work on it. And as you do, the results may not be immediate but eventually, they'll come.

"Most of what I saw was in space (with missed tackles). I thought there was a little bit of leaky yardage at times in condensed areas, and I think that's something that hasn't been a problem for us in the past, but that's something that we've got to improve."

Across the board, New Orleans would benefit from a return to health from several starters.

Receivers Michael Thomas (four straight missed games) and Jarvis Landry (three straight) haven't been on the field together since Sept. 25. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore has missed the last two, and on Thursday night he was joined by fellow corner Paulson Adebo. Cornerback Bradley Roby left Thursday's game with an injury, defensive back P.J. Williams has missed three straight, left guard Andrus Peat has missed two (including Thursday night), tight end Adam Trautman was out Thursday and Dalton started at quarterback for the fourth straight game as Jameis Winston continued his bid to return to the lineup.

"The No. 1 thing is to try to get some guys healthy," Allen said. "I think getting guys back healthy will allow us to do some different things from a schematic standpoint that I think can help us, and obviously we've got some good players that are unavailable to play right now.

"That's the challenge that we're dealing with. We understand that that's a challenge. We accept that challenge and that responsibility, and we'll move forward and hopefully we'll be getting some of these guys back sooner rather than later.

"I do have optimism, and I think our medical people have some optimism. Now, there's no crystal ball to say for sure whether they're back for this next game (against the Raiders on Oct. 30 in the Caesars Superdome), but I think they're making a lot of progress and I'm hopeful that we're going to get at least a few of these guys back."

Allen said rookie cornerback Alontae Taylor, who made his first NFL start, showed great promise.

"I really liked what I saw out of him," Allen said. "I saw a guy that frickin' fought and competed on every single play, and that's really what we base what we do here defensively around, is guys going out fighting and competing. And I thought he challenged on every single play. He didn't win every one of them, but I thought he challenged on every single one of them. So I was impressed with his performance, and certainly if he stays healthy, I see him being a part of what we're trying to do as we move forward."

He also said that Dalton battled well after the turnovers. The Cardinals returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the last 1:50 of the first half, transforming a 14-14 game into a 28-14 halftime lead.

"Look, I think the game turned in those two minutes and 30-something seconds that it was, and it changed the whole outlook of the game," Allen said. "But I thought the way that he responded from that was very positive. I thought overall, he played pretty well in the game. And I thought overall offensively we played pretty well in the game.

"But we can't have the interceptions, we can't tip a ball up in the air and let a defender run it back for a touchdown, we can't allow our quarterback to get hit. We've got to eliminate those things so that we can begin to win some of these games, rather than coming up on the short end."

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