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Postgame quotes: New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans | 2023 NFL Week 1

Dennis Allen, Derek Carr, Demario Davis and Rasheed Shaheed talk about their season opening win


Opening statement:

"Obviously, it's a hell of a win for us. I thought our guys showed a lot of fortitude in just hanging in there to keep battling. It's a really good football team that we just played. They have been, perennially, one of the teams in the AFC that you talk about all the way until the end. I think they're well-coached. I really thought it was a heck of a game, and I was proud of our guys for being able to hang in there and make just enough plays to win it."

On the three turnovers:

"The guys made some plays. I thought the blocked punt (note scored as one-yard punt by the NFL because it landed out of bounds one yard past the line of scrimmage) gave us a little bit of energy early in the game. Then, I think our guys had opportunities to make plays on the ball, and they finished and capitalized on it. That's probably something we didn't execute as much in the previous season, but our guys made some plays when they needed to. It was good to see. Defensively, I thought it was pretty good."

On Marshon Lattimore coming out of the game at a certain point:

"It wasn't injury. I'm not sure exactly what it was in terms of why he came out. I think part of it was he got gassed a little bit, which is kind of to be expected. We played a lot of down safety. We played a lot of man to man. He was having to cover receivers every single down. I think he played a hell of a game. I thought our secondary made some plays on the ball. I thought the Titans, everything they got they had to earn. I thought we did a good job up front being able to get a little pressure on the quarterback."

On the fourth quarter execution:

"The best teams are able to finish in this league. We were able to get into a competitive game in the fourth quarter and make enough plays to win the game. I'm proud of the team for being able to do that."

On the dime working defensively against the Titans:

"I think it's a combination of rush and coverage. I thought our guys did a good job of executing the pass rush patterns we had up front. We did a good job of being tight in coverage and not giving them easy completions for the most part. I think that's the key to good pass defense. You need to have both elements involved there. I thought both elements were there in the game today."

On if he wanted the defense to close out the Titans' last possession:

"I wanted to win the game. At that point, the ball's not in my court, but I was comfortable with whatever outcome we had because I had confidence our offense could run the clock out. That's exactly what we did."

On the Saints' run game:

"I thought we weren't able to run the ball very effectively at all today. Obviously, that's a good front we played today. They led the league in terms of run defense last year. We knew it was going to be difficult to run the ball. I thought that made it a little more difficult, in terms of protecting the quarterback, early in the game. I thought we did a much better job as the game wore on of being able to get a little more protection for Derek (Carr). We started to be able to hit a few plays down the field. That's something we've got to improve on. We're excited about the fact that we won the game against a really good team, yet we know there's a ton of stuff we have to clean up. There's a lot of things we have to get better at and a short time to do it. We're going to enjoy this win, but we're going to turn our focus to Carolina and get ready for a divisional opponent."

On if they made any adjustments in the pass protection:

"We made a few adjustments, got a couple of chips over there, particularly to Trevor (Penning), to help him out over there. That's pretty common in our league. You go in with a plan, you have a few things and you see how things are working. Then, you have to make some adjustments. I thought our offense did a nice job of making a couple of adjustments to get some opportunities to make some plays."

On Trevor Penning's play:

"No, I am not concerned. This guy's going to be a good player. You have a young guy that's playing against an extremely good front. Does he have to get better? Absolutely. Am I concerned? No. I think we just keep our heads down, keep going to work. We will keep getting better. We will make our evaluations when we get to the end of the season and see where we are at. I think this kid's going to be just fine."

On using the Titans' strengths to strengthen the Saints' play:

"Our guys have been competing for the last month and a half or so. I thought we had a great camp. I thought our guys worked extremely hard. I thought they were focused on what we had to do in the game. I did think we were a little out of sorts early in the game. We had to kind of calm down a little bit. Once we kind of settled in, we did alright. After the opening kickoff and turning the ball over like we did and have the defense go out there and force a field goal in that situation against a team who's been a really good red zone offense, I thought that was huge for our confidence for our team."

On Derek Carr's performance:

"I thought there was a lot of good things that I saw. I'm sure there's a few things that we need to look at, maybe get fixed. I think early on in the game, like you said, I don't know we did as good a job as we needed to, in terms of getting protection for (Derek Carr). Once we kind of settled that in a little more, I thought you saw in the second half a little bit more effectiveness in the passing game. We felt like there might be some opportunities downfield. The big pass play there to Rashid (Shaheed) there in the end, obviously the big touchdown pass, those were big plays in the game."

On Rashid Shaheed's ability to handle the emotional highs and lows of the game:

"I think overall (Rashid Shaheed) did well. You have to remember here's another young guy that doesn't have a ton of experience and missed a ton of camp. Look, that's the first time he had ever been tackled since last season. Those are all lessons that you learn. They're much easier lessons to learn off of a win."

On Blake Grupe's performance:

"I thought (Blake) kicked the ball well. The 52-yarder there was a huge kick in the game. That was great to see the kid knock that thing through. I thought he kicked the ball off well. I was pleased with the way he performed."

On the offensive answer to the Titans throughout the game:

"It was big. I think the big difference in the game is obviously the turnover-takeaway ratio. That was one thing that was a big factor in the game. I include the blocked punt in there. If you said that, there were four takeaways in the game, four plays that changed the field position and the momentum of the game. I thought that was huge. With the exception of the kneel-down play in the end, we were 1-of-3 in the red zone. They were 0-for-3 in the red zone in terms of scoring touchdowns. I thought that was a big factor."

On Carl Granderson:

"Carl (Granderson)'s been a guy that's worked extremely hard, and he's just continued to get better and better and better. That's a testament to the way that it works. The guy comes in and he doesn't say a whole lot. He just comes in and does his work, does his job and keeps getting better. He's a guy with talent that's willing to work. I feel like we can help him be a better football player, and he's kind of making his way into that."

On the pump-and-go:

"It was something we felt like we might have an opportunity against them [the Titans]. I thought Pete (Carmichael) called it right at the right time. I thought (Rashid) Shaheed - I don't know if it was the greatest route in the world – he just ran by him. Derek (Carr) put it in a good spot. It was awesome."

On his trust in Derek Carr, specifically with two minutes left in the game:

"I've been saying it. I have confidence in our offense. When it's time to go make the play, we're going to call the plays and make the plays we need to make to win games. I feel confident in our ability to do that."

On the crowd's impact on the game:

"The crowd was awesome. I've said this, I've told Demario (Davis) this. This crowd is the best crowd in football, particularly when we're playing well on defense. That's really our responsibility defensively to keep the crowd in the game. I think they were a big part particularly early in the game."

On Rashid Shaheed's growth:

"(Rashid Shaheed)'s much further along than where he was last year, yet there's so much more growth available for that kid. I just see a ton of potential in him. I don't think he's anywhere near where he can be. I'm excited about continuing to watch him grow as the season goes on."

On Shaheed's knowledge to let the clock wind down:

"Look, a couple of things – I thought there was excellent communication going on from Pete (Carmichael) to Derek (Carr) and Derek to the guys in the huddle. We all knew exactly what we needed to do on each one of those plays. We all knew the importance of staying in bounds. Obviously, he executed the play just like we would've liked him to."

On the defense containing Derrick Henry:

"Overall, I thought we did a hell of a job. One screen play got out on us. That would be probably one play I'd like to have back. Other than that, overall, I thought, we did a pretty good job of minimizing what they were able to do offensively."


That big third down connection there at the end, what was the mindset going into that play and what did you see?

"Yeah, so it was funny. Derek (Carr) before the possession started, he came right up to me. And he was like, just run as fast as you can and I'm going to throw it. I knew going out there that he was going to give me an opportunity, and I was able to create some separation through a great ball and I was able to get two feet in and maintain that drive and maintain that win."

On the touchdown, how much have you guys been sitting on that one and sort of waiting for the right opportunity?

"I felt like we were waiting for forever. I kind of had it in the back of my mind. I knew that the play was going to be called, it was just a matter of when and I knew that I had to execute and the play was perfectly executed. Derek saw me open and he delivered a great ball and all I had to do was catch it."

It looked like you kind of stutter stepped a little bit in front of the guy and sort of caught him flat footed. Is that what you saw?

"Yeah, that was the plan once I saw him flat footed. No, I knew that I could just burst by him and score a touchdown."

Speak to the difference in how you felt pre-game beginning of last year to the pre-game of this year as well as the confidence level.

"Yeah, no, I was so confident. I was just out there having fun, just enjoying the moment, not getting too caught up in any of the stuff, just going out and playing football. I felt completely different, I wasn't in my mind. I wasn't thinking, I just knew that I was prepared and I was going to come out and play the best game that I can."

Was the game a little slower?

"It was 100%."

How do you analyze your work on film?

"Yeah, like I just said, the game is slowing down a lot. I've been taking more time in the film room and spending more time just focusing on the little things and I knew that, going into the season, that will take me to the next level. There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm definitely proud of how far I came."

How do you feel emotionally, from the opening kickoff to the touchdown to one of the clutch plays in the game?

"Yeah, emotions were everywhere. It was a hard fought game and (there is) a lot of stuff that we have to clean up, but we got the win, that's all that matters and the emotions are high right now. We are going to enjoy this for the time being, but we know that we got to get back to work next week. Got a tough opponent. The emotions were kind of up and down. My teammates kind of kept my head high after the turnover on the first play, and I knew I was going to receive more opportunities, so I just had to make the most of them."

Did that take a minute to get past that? Like, what is your process to get past that?

"You kind of just got to just shove it in the dirt, move on to the next play. I knew that I was going to get more opportunities in the back of my head and I knew that there's plenty more game to play. So that's kind of what I was thinking."

On the kickoffs, do you kind of have that opportunity to kind of make that decision the ball's in the air about whether you want to take it out?

"Yeah, absolutely Riz (Darren Rizzi) gives me full go on that, whether to take it out or keep it. He believes in me and he believes in my decisions."


"Oh man, I got a lot to say. So, buckle up. I started to realize something. Man, we played his game on Sundays. And it's really the Lord's day. And when the day we should be worshiping the Lord, a lot of times players are getting worship, and we get to go on his ballfield. So, since so many of us didn't get to go to church today, I have a word that I want to share. It's a little untraditional so like I said, buckle up."

Revelations 320 says, "See I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and eat with him and He with me."

"I want to tell you all about a knock that I heard this week."

"A lot of people don't know this, but on Friday, my daughter, she's four years old, had her third epilepsy seizure attack. This is my same daughter who survived retinoblastoma. She's been totally cleared from that, but she had her third seizure. And it's been almost two years. She was about amonth away if she would have had no seizures for one more month then she would have been off of the medicine, but now we have to start that clock all the way over. It was on Friday when there was a bunch of kids over at the house and she was playing and I noticed something was off. I told her momma I thought she was having a seizure and her mom is pretty good. She saw it, my wife, and we took her in the room, didn't want to cause a scene, and she started to foam at the mouth. It was her worst seizure. For 30 minutes She seized and we had to call the paramedics and they came. So, over a course of time, in a total of 30 minutes, they got her in. My wife got into the (medical vehicle) paramedics with her, and I got behind them driving. You can imagine all the thoughts that are racing through your mind as the last sight you see of your daughter is she's totally out of it. Got to the hospital and my wife told me that my daughter stopped breathing in the car twice, so I am of course praying. We get to the hospital. They give her a bunch of medicine so that the seizure stops. She's laying there. And at this point if she seize for 30 minutes you start to fear there could be development issues that could mess with the brain. She stopped breathing, there was no oxygen going into her brain. You know you're starting to think about her speech could be slurred or anything or worse. So we prayed and we prayed and she had medicine and my wife and I had to stay overnight at the hospital. And in the middle of the night, probably about 3:00, I heard a knock. The knock was my daughter. I pray for her. I said, "God, let this just be an attack from the enemy." They are just trying to be a distraction and let him have overplayed his hand and my daughter come back stronger than before. When I heard my daughter talk in the middle of the night, and my daughter she doesn't have any developed development issues, Praise God. She doesn't have any slurred speech prior to this. She woke up talking clear that she was talking before and anyone who has dealt with epilepsy knows that it takes a few days for them to come back. You know usually they can get back to normal wherever they were, but it takes a couple of days. They're groggy, it's a lot, because what their body's like is like the TV, just static in your brain. She was talking clearer than before and it was three o'clock when we heard her talk and we let her talk for about 20 minutes we said, "Hey baby, it's nighttime. Let's go back to sleep." I just started saying praise God, praise God. The next morning, when she got up, my daughter was so sharp. She was able to talk to me (and) her mom, I mean clear conversation. She's sharp for a four year old, no stuttering, all her words clear. And my daughter, like I said my daughter was already sharp, she was sharper than before. And if any of you were able to have a conversation with my daughter, you wouldn't know anything had ever happened. We had a birthday party for my seven year old daughter that day, and she got to be released from the hospital. She came back home and it was as if nothing was happening. She was playing with the kids the day before, she had the worst seizure that she had ever had, and the next day she's back out there playing with the kids. Now of course we can't let her get overstimulated. We have to keep bringing her in, had to keep cooling her down. Can't let her do too much just because of protocol. But when I tell you I got a chance to hear a knock from God. And what I want to share is, we get to play this game and it's great. There's so many amazing things that have happened in that game, and everybody wants to hear about them, but when we leave this game, we go back to being regular people. Regular people are living life, and people are waiting for a knock. And the word says, who Jesus is, he's knocking at the door. All you got to do is get up. So on the way, man, I'm nervous, but I'm praying and I'm trusting and I'm believing and I'm asking for my daughter to make it through. I'm not asking that she's better than before. God gave me just what I asked for plus some. I was blown away. And at that point, I knew what the game was already. The game was gonna take care of itself. My knock had already been answered. And I just want people to know, like if you got stuff going on in your life, lay it before the Lord. Lay it before the Lord and trust and be expecting to have a knock. The word says what you have to do is, you have to get up and open the door. He's not going to open the door for you. He's going to knock, but you have to be listening and waiting for the knock and when you see it, you have to get up and open the door and your blessing is going to be there. I'll be here to talk about football next week. I wish y'all well, Happy Sunday, and Praise God." Thank you.


Your thoughts on the first game?

"It was a lot of fun. We won and that's all I wanted to do, and that was one of the more physical games I've played in my 10 years, very physical football game up in the trenches. But proud of our guys where we bounced back in the second half, and we're able to get that win."

On that last drive do you want that shot to go to Rashid to try to put the game away?

"Yeah. Well, me and Pete (Carmichael) talked about on the sideline, and I told Pete that was a play that I liked and he trusted, Shid (Rashid Shaheed) and I to make the play, and the offensive line gave me time to throw it. And when he's that fast, I just was just trying to throw it out of bounds and he ran a great route, caught it. It's exciting, but that goes back to Pete's trust on us. He asked me what I liked throughout the game. Before that drive, that was something that I really liked and he called it. So, he has a lot of trust in us as players and that means a lot as a player."

What did you see on the touchdown throw to Shaheed?

"Great route by Shid, ran a double move, came over, motion, double move. I tried to give a little pump fake when he was settling his feet to try and get the corner to stop, and Shid is so fast that it is really tough on a corner to get back started when he gets going. Shid ran a great route. Again, that's another play that Pete had called up, dialed up. I really, really enjoyed working with him and his demeanor throughout the game because you kind of know what's coming and you know what to expect. He calls them and he counts on us to make plays for him."

What does it say about Shaheed to be able to bounce back from opening kickoff and be available to help make those plays to get you guys a touchdown?

"Well, it's very veteran thing of him to do. It is a very, very grown up thing. Usually when young guys make a mistake early, it's hard to get them back focused. It is hard to get them back right for the rest of the game. That is just the NFL. It is just overtime, you see that. He made that play and no one blinked, no one flinched. But I was really proud of him. When something like that happens, his mindset, his demeanor was great. So, when something like that happens like man, I hope he gets to make some plays after to get that confidence back. But from what it looked like to me, he didn't lose any because he came out and caught a lot of passes for us in some big situations."

What does this mean for the offense as your first live game of meaningful action?

"The exciting part was that everyone wanted to talk about the weapons and throwing the ball down the field, all that kind of stuff that things we've been doing in camp, but this we showed that we could win the ultimate physical type of game, right? Yeah, we showed that we can win a physical football game, and we're going to have to be able to win in any kind of different way. I'm just glad that we hopefully got that one out of the way."

How proud are you to be able to execute the drive to run out the clock and seal the deal?

"Well, it felt really good, obviously. You can tell I wear my on my sleeve sometimes, so I was really excited, fired up. The one that got me the most excited was the run that creased at the end, because that is the one that did it. The O-Line called it right, they blocked it right, and Jamaal (Williams) made the right cut and got down. He did exactly what coach asked, get the first and get down. That right there is what makes me proud because it's the game on the line. We get this, we win, and we didn't have to put the defense back out there. That makes me happy."

Talk about your connection with Chris Olave as well as Michael Thomas?

"Yeah, I think today was awesome because the ball spread around so much. Chris obviously went over 100 and that's fantasy people's favorite thing ever. When we can spread it out, no matter who gets the 100, no matter who gets the touchdown. As long as we keep that mindset of big team little me. Hopefully we will see a lot of good days for Chris and Shid and Mike and Juwan (Johnson) and everybody. Everybody made their plays when they were called upon, that is good to see for a quarterback because now I can trust them all. Now if they're doubling hammer, they're playing robber, I can go to this guy and I can trust him to win. It helps me with my decision making for sure."

Can you explain what you saw on that last drive to win the game?

"Yeah, that's all Pete Carmichael, just trust in us as players. It's a play that we talked all game and before that drive was a play that him and I had talked about, and I was like Pete I love this. What was awesome about that is that this is our first game really playing together with all the situations, all the scenarios, game on the line and he trusted us to make a play. As a player, that means so much to us that he would trust us in that situation and go get that for him and for the team. Hopefully we can continue to do that because he showed us that he trusts us, so we got to keep proving to him every week that we can earn that."

So, it was designed to go to Shid on that play?

"Yeah, if they gave it to us. If we had the one on one and a good release, but if not, we had something else. We were trying to get it to Shid."

So, you guys had been sitting on that double move, the one that turned into the touchdown? What was sort of the origin of that, like did you guys talk about that last night or something? Or in the last few days, when did you identify that and know that was something you wanted to go to?

"Well, we saw something in practice a couple weeks ago. We thought it would be kind of cool if we did this and sure enough, as you watch the tape, it looks kind of good in this situation to call it. We ran it at practice and we actually didn't connect on it in practice funny enough, but today we connected and those are the ones that matter."

What about the defense, just the way how they played and what that does for you as a Quarterback?

"If they don't play that well and we lose the game, everybody's mad at me, and rightfully so. That's how it should be as a quarterback. This is the ultimate team game. It takes all 11 on the field at once, all three phases. All three phases had some plays that they'd like back, but all three phases played their butt off and played physical and grinded and did everything they could to win. Yes, I'm so proud of our defense. Yes, I'm so thankful with the takeaways that they got and kind of washed ours away and helped us in that. They would say they expect us to finish the game just like we expect them to get us the ball back. As long as we keep that expectation for each other, knowing that, hey, if it doesn't happen, we got your back, we'll take care of it. Keep that kind of mindset. I think we're going to have a good season."

Talk about how physical it was during the game. Tell us a little bit about your ability to maybe sit in that pocket a little bit longer in the second half and make some of those throws?

"Well, that's all the offensive line. I try my best to not be a statue back there to let my guys get open and let them run and when I have to get out, try and go get as many yards as I can and or make a play with throwing it. But they did a great job in the second half. This is without watching the film too. In the second half it just felt better, the timing of things, whatever. However it worked out, it was just better and very proud of those guys. I think everybody offense, defense, or everybody felt a little rusty that it's week one and you hate to say that but it always happens. We cleaned it up really fast and we're able to bounce back to get the win."

You have been waiting for this game for a long time. How did it feel emotionally to finally get that first touchdown after grinding it out?

"Yeah, it felt great. But again, in that situation that was the expectation. We got to score, we have to get a touchdown to win this game, and thankfully we did. I just try my best until the game's over to stay here. I guess I get emotional after that touchdown. It's like so far in my head. I'm like, oh, cool, first touchdown. And then like, literally half a second later it's out. It's like okay, now what do I have to do next. The best part about it is that we win the game. We won the game. That's literally the only reason I came here and wanted to play this game so bad was to win. This game, so that we can hopefully continue to keep stacking them."

What was your view of Mike from today?

"I love Mike, the ultimate competitor. On gameday, I love the communication that we have. It's a different level man. He reminds me so much of Devante (Adams), the way that they both approach the game and it makes sense because they're two of the best receivers in the whole league. His mentality, his violent route running. You saw the one he caught over the middle on second down to get us back into a third and manageable and took a shot. He told me, he's like if you have to throw it in there, throw in there and he let me throw it in there. He took the hit and he bounced up. Just that mentality that he brings elevates everybody on offense. It means man I got to do that for us too, I have to match that. And I'm just so proud of him. I know it's been a long road for Mike, now (to) be able to start the game off big down the sideline, I know how much that meant to him. But knowing Mike he couldn't care less. He cares about the next rep. I think that's what we've all fallen in love with Mike (for0 and I'm the same. I haven't been around him as much as y'all but it didn't take long for me to see what he was about."

What makes Mike's communication a little bit different or something that stands out that he does?

"He sees things that a quarterback sees. He sees things from certain reps and certain routes. Like he was like a third in the progression on that one, but now I know if these are shut out, I know he's going to do it. Right when we see that, so it just helps you so much. You get to him quicker. You know even on that third down, I almost gave him a hand signal just because I saw something. There was one earlier in the game where I gave him a hand signal. He ran it perfect. We were about to hit it when they hit the ball. I wish we had that play for Mike, but I don't know, he just sees things the way I want him as a quarterback to and it's really impressive."

What happened on that interception?

"I was dumb. I was way too excited just to be honest with you. I know it's funny right now because we won, but it wasn't funny at the moment. I took it very seriously, but that was just about me being stupid."

Head inside the New Orleans Saints locker room postgame after the Saints' win against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season presented by Bud Light.

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