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New Orleans Saints coordinators talk about Los Angeles Rams matchup

Three coordinators held conference calls with media Friday

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with Local Media
Friday, November 25, 2016

If Gregg Williams watches your game tape how much would he recognize and how much would he say he added a lot of wrinkles?
"I don't know, there is certainly a lot of elements to the things that I learned when I was working here under Gregg and a lot of the things we do defensively both from a philosophical standpoint and from a schematic standpoint are similar, but there are obviously some differences in the things that we do."

Rob Boras the Rams offensive coordinator said that you are one of Gregg Williams disciples, what are your thoughts on that?
"I would say I learned a lot during that time. Those were obviously good times for us as far as playing defensive football here and a lot of the things that I have learned came during that time. I don't know what word I would use to describe that, but I'd certainly say there's a lot of things I learned during that time."

What are the factors that have led to the defense playing better the last month?
"I think there are a lot of factors that have led to that. I think we've gotten a little bit healthier on the defense, really at all levels. With being able to have (Delvin) Breaux back a little bit and (Dannell) Ellerbe and obviously Sheldon Rankins back. I think those things have attributed to that and I think as guys have gotten more comfortable into the things that we have asked them to do. When we had all those injuries early in the year we kind of had to change some things schematically, personnel standpoint and those things take time to kind of take hold because obviously if it wasn't important to be able to practice those things then why do we go through OTAs and minicamp and training camp and things of that nature. The overall kind of core principles haven't changed, yet the responsibilities of what we have asked guys to do within the scheme changed a little bit when we had the injuries that we had. I think it just takes time for that to continue to take effect as well as a lot of the young guys we had playing needed some time to get some experience and I think as they have played and gotten more experience within the defense I think they have gotten better. I think it's also a testament to our guys, our guys are a bunch of tough minded guys that are extremely competitive and they have continued to work even when things weren't going as well as we would have liked. They continue to believe in the things we were teaching and we are beginning to see some of the fruits of that labor, obviously we still have a long way to go. We still have several weeks left for us to try and continue to improve as a defense."

How much do you think the depth has helped from those early injuries?
"Look there is no substitute for experience and when guys get an opportunity to play, especially young guys when they get in opportunity to get in there and play. Every day's sometimes a little bit like groundhog day. Everything's new for them when the new day begins it's like kind of starting over again, but as they continue to put days in, stack days on top of each other they begin to understand a little bit more. Not just about hey, what's my job and my assignment and they start to understand what we're trying to accomplish in this concept? What is the thought process and what are we trying to take away? Because every defense has a strength and a weakness and so our ability to understand look when we call this this is what we're trying to stop and this is the vulnerability of that. Then we just have to be able to rally to those things. I think guys have gotten a little bit better feel of what we are trying to get done. I think that is where you have seen some of the improvement."

What is your relationship with Gregg Williams right now?
"We have contact every now and then. I still have a lot of respect for Gregg as a defensive coach. I mean again philosophically those are a lot of the things that we do or things that I learned under him and we pay close attention to their tape and what they do schematically and thing that they do well that we can maybe incorporate into what we are doing. We try to incorporate some of those things. I just think there is a certain style of playing defense and I think it's fun to watch."

How much do you think the league should look into technological advancements?
"I think in our league, being it that we are playing this game at the highest level. I just think we need to continue to improve our game in whatever ways that we can. Whether it be additional cameras or full time officials. Whatever those things are, I think we always have to be looking into improving this game and I think for the most part I think that's what our league tries to do and it's always a process of as things continue to come up it triggers a thought process as to hey maybe we need to consider this."

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 25, 2016

How much does Brandon Coleman add to that offense?
"I think he is a big part of what we do in both the run game and the pass game. He is very smart so you can do a lot of things. You can put him at multiple positions and you can depend on him."

In the preseason, Sean Payton made some public comments where he was expecting Brandon (Coleman) to be better; in what ways have you seen growth since the season began with him?
"I think that's one thing that Sean (Payton) is going to do when he feels like he needs to challenge a player, he's going to do it. He has clearly responded. He has made some contested catches and that's what we are expecting."

How do you compare this receiving corps as a whole to ones you have had in the past?
"With this group right here, they are all team players. We're going to do things every week where we may try to get some guys involved and other guys' balls. The one thing that is going to happen is, regardless of what play is called, they are going to give 100 percent effort, whether they are just clearing it out or they are the primary target. They might be the primary and then they'd cover it or we have to check the ball down. They do such a great job as a group and are always helping each other out. They all want the best for each other."

What do you think about the job (offensive line coach) Dan Roushar has done?
"I think he has been outstanding. He has really challenged those guys. He works them hard every day. He is all business and I really think he has done an outstanding job."

How much of a role does the quarterback play in some of the protections? It doesn't seem like there are a lot of pressures or a lot of hits.
"I think he does such a good job of getting the ball out. He and Max (Unger) work to set up protections. Drew (Brees) plays a big role in that with his ability to move in the pocket and find throwing lanes. But again, they have been playing very well."

How much has John Kuhn*'s experience helped that running back group?*
"I think just his experience is so valuable to that room and really to our offense. I think he is someone that is very dependable, whether carrying the ball or blocking and even just in protection we have used him some. He is a very dependable player."

Is that fullback protection thing something you have always done, or is it something you added specifically because you had John?
"I would say that we have done it in the past but not as much. It was very sprinkled in the past. His ability to know where the free rush is coming from and to be able to pick that up. I think he's smart and he knows what we are doing. I would say that as a full back, he has taken more of a role in that than maybe some other guys have in the past."

New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 25, 2016

I know these are unique circumstances when they have to bring in another special teams coach, I guess you probably have to set your pride aside a little bit when something like that happens. How did you handle all the decisions made and everything?
"Listen, I've known Kevin O'Dea for, golly, close to 20 years and he's a good friend. I've known him for a long time and I'm excited about it. He was in Tampa last year and so he was in our division and he and I have been around each other and then he and Stan (Kwann) worked together years ago in San Diego, so it's a great addition for us. He's a good veteran coach that's been in our league for a long time so really it's a positive move."

How does his addition alter your duties or responsibilities?
"Well it really doesn't alter anything, it's just an extra set of eyes, expertise, golly he's unbelievable with Will (Lutz), Thomas (Morstead), and Dresch (Justin Drescher), and the rest of the core guys. It's just an addition guy on deck that's a veteran coach. It's really exciting to have him around."

I know as a coach you probably accept responsibility, how much of the stuff that's gone wrong is stuff where you had to look at the scheme and had to look at significant changes or is just execution, random moments of untimely execution?
"Listen, we absolutely as coaches (understand) this is a bottom line league so I'm ultimately responsible for everything that goes out there in the kicking game. That's just the way it is and that's fair and that's fine. You hit it, we have to execute better, we have to make better decisions, we have to know where the sideline is to field the ball, we have to make sure that we don't allow a kick to get blocked, we've got to make sure that we don't have an untimely penalty late in the game, we've got to make sure that we are executing and are sound with our scheme so it's all exclusive but at the end of the day it's all on me."

Has this been a tough stretch? Normally special teams gets ignored I guess it's sort of like an offensive lineman or something to be under the spot light like this?
"Listen, the only time I've ever had to talk to you guys is when we haven't played well and I'm cool with that so look we've got to be better and there's an accountability and we're accountable to each other as coaches, we're accountable to the players, to the coaches, and the players to the players so we're going to address mistakes, we're going to get them corrected, and we're going to execute at a very high level because that's just the way this league is and that's the way it has to be for us to be successful and for us to contribute to winning football."

How much of a challenge is it to maybe fix some of the issues in the kicking game because it seems like with all the blocks it seems like a different issue each time?
"Certainly our (ability) to make good decisions on the back end is something that we have to continue to work on and we have to be able to execute it under pressure. Everyday you go out there and you're looking at your practice tape, you're looking at your game tape and you're addressing problems, you're finding ways to be better so this is all exclusive in all six phases. Punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, field goal, field goal block, and then all the situational things that are involved with it too so it's an all exclusive deal."

Is that accurate though? That the three blocked kicks have come down to a different issue as opposed to a consistent one?
"Well, certainly the protection is one of them that we've got to be significantly better (at) and the timing and the cadence and those type of things. We definitely have multiple things that we have to get corrected, I would definitely agree with that."

To what extent is Kevin (O'Dea) working with Will (Lutz) on trajectory and is that something that should be fixed when he's been kicking the way he has been kicking for so long?
"I don't think he's a low trajectory guy personally as far as overall. He's like all these guys, all 32 guys in our league, and then the other guys that are right on the fringe and stuff is the snap, the hold, the kick, the elevation, the follow through, and so it's no different than any of you guys that golf, which I don't, but you're always constantly trying to figure out making sure your stroke is correct but, this young kicker is really gifted and he's really good and we're excited about him. Having Kevin's (O'Dea) expertise and Stan's (Kwan) with those guys has been very beneficial."

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