Head inside the New Orleans Saints locker room postgame after the Saints' win against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season presented by Bud Light.
New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen:
"I think any time you get to get a shutout in a game I think that is huge. They are hard to come by in our league and you know the defense was challenged this week in terms of stepping up and playing the way we are capable of playing. I think they came out and played with energy, passion and I thought they played with a swagger, which was good to see."
On the challenge the defense had this game:
"Look I think it was just more our guys just understanding that we are perfectly capable of playing the type of football we played today, and we had not done that up until this point, so it really is just about our guys maximizing their potential and I thought they answered the bell today."
On if the preparation was different for this game:
"No. Players played well."
On if this game is the blueprints on how the rest of their season needs to go:
"Well yeah, I don't think necessarily us, not just us, I just think that is the recipe for success in our league. We won the time of possession battle, we won the third down battle, and I feel like we were getting into a decent amount of third and longer situations. We did not have a ton of penalties in the game and still have some things we need to clean up and I thought we ran the ball effectively and I think we did a good job stopping the run and we did not give up any (could not hear) plays so yeah there was a lot of good things and I think that the ability to run the football, stop the run is a big part of trying to win in our league."
On Alvin Kamara being a leader on and off the field and his importance on the team:
"Well I think he is really important. I think that leadership has grown this season. I think he understand that when you really look offensively in some of the younger skilled guys, we have I just think that veteran leadership presence is important, and it is important to have that in your best players. So, I thought that was good to see him step up this week and you know what he did not just step up in his words but did in his actions and I think that is what a real leader does."
On if this is the most their defense of line has been able to affect a quarterback this season and how Marcus (Davenport) and Cam (Jordan) were able to do:
"Well, look, I think we have always kind of said that that is kind of the catalyst that makes our defense go is the way that our front plays and the way we can stop the run and that starts with the front and the way we are able to get after the passer that starts with front. I thought they played really well today and that was what we were hoping."
On the key things that helped the team hold Josh Jacobs just 43 yards and Davante Adams to a three-yard catch:
"Getting 11 hats to the ball against the runner and getting up and challenging the receiver. Davante is a hell of a player, and he is one of the best receivers in our league and I do think that Paulson (Adebo) and Alontae (Taylor) answered the bell in terms of the challenge. They played the way that we are accustomed to play in the game. There was not a lot of uncontested looks or a lot of free access, there was a lot of challenge on the line of scrimmage, it takes some guts to be able to do that out there against one of the best receivers in the league and I am proud of the way those guys competed."
On sticking with Andy Dalton this game:
"Yeah, I felt like he did. I thought he did the things we needed to do. There were some potential opportunities' where we could get the ball down the field. I think we had a big ball (possible opportunity) down the field. But then when it was not there, he was willing to take the check down. I thought he utilized Alvin in the passing game really well. Look I just think right now with what he is doing I think our offense is in rhythm, I think our play calls (are) in a rhythm, our offense is in a rhythm, and we are able to run the football which is getting us into a lot more manageable third downs and we are converting more third downs and keeping the other offense off the field."
On the excitement of seeing the team play this way and how they can build off it:
"Yeah, I think showing you say confidence born out of demonstrators ability and I think we demonstrated the type of team we are capable of being and so hopefully we can continue to build off of that and I think that is something unique about our team."
On how bad the team needed a win like this:
"I think any time you're not playing as well as you think you are capable of playing to get out and have a performance like this is uplifting to everybody and you know I think the reality is we got a lot of great guys in that locker room, we have a lot of great veteran leadership in there and you know they basically said alright enough is enough and it is time to go get this done and I think our players did a great job."
On the way Alontae Taylor competed in game:
"I think that is what our unit's been. I think that unit back there always play with a swagger, they have always been competitive, they have always gotten up for a challenge."
On having Alvin get the ball more often in the first three quarters. If it was planned or just happened that way:
"Little bit of both. I mean Alvin is one of our best players, so I mean we are going into every game wanting to utilize him. We felt like there were some opportunities in the past game that presented themselves to get the ball to him and I thought he ran some outstanding rounds, and he did a good job getting the ball but yeah, we go into every game thinking we have to get Alvin the ball."
On Alvin's comment about hopefully "whooping the Raiders" and how that made Dennis feel:
"Feel much better about it now (laughter)"
On Payton Turner and how he played:
"Look there is a reason why we drafted him in the first round and he is a capable player we have to get him out on the field and keep him healthy and that is us and him and all of us because he is capable of doing it and now it is just a young guy being able to be consistent and doing it game in and game out."
Saints quarterback Andy Dalton
On offensive method using Alvin Kamara:
"Well we know the matchup that we have with him. And so, in the past games, if you can get the ball in his hands in space, you can see what he can do with it. And the two plays today that we scored on, with him, it's just him getting open, getting him the ball and let him do rest."
On if the game is a sign for the offense:
"I think by far this is the most complete game that we've played up to this point and I think it shows what we can do when we play the right way. For us we got to keep that going, keep that as the mindset and the mentality that this is how we expect to play."
On the meaning of the game for Dennis Allen:
"Yeah, I think it's always extra special when you can get a win against a former team. Like AK (Kamara) was saying, he made it seem like it wasn't a big deal but it is. For us, I'm happy that we were able to get the win, not only win but win the way we did. I think that means even more."
On why Kamara is so hard to defend:
"Well, like I said, you got to give him the ball in space and he can create separation and he can win on those routes. So the matchup that we have with him on whoever out there is in our favor. And it showed today what he can do once you get the ball in his hands in the right amount of time with him to operate with it in his hands. So, I think that's the biggest thing is he's so talented and he can do a lot."
On the offensive line's performance:
"They've been playing great. To come out of a game to not only not get sacked but not really get hit at all either. That's testament to what they're doing and what we were able to do in the run game today as well. I think that's so important. Those guys have found a groove and those guys mesh well. Those guys have been playing great."
On how they can build on this game:
"Yeah, this definitely gives us momentum. And this is the expectation for us moving forward, to play a complete game. And so that's where we're at, and we just got to keep building on it."
On how often Kamara makes the right choice in the run game:
"He never makes the wrong one. He's got a choice to make, whichever one he thinks is best. Shoot two touchdowns today. That shows he's pretty good at it."
On what point he felt they got their swagger back:
"I think the tone we set early on. I think just the way we came out to play today and it's got to stay that way."
Safety Tyrann Mathieu
On Alvin Kamara:
"Obviously, he has always been that kind of player. Even throughout camp, you are having to deal with him every day in practice. I think that is really what we expect from him. I think personally you kind of saw it coming. You saw the passion coming out in him after the Arizona game. He was itching to get back on the field today."
On the the third-and-1 stop of Davante Adams:
"That was a big-time play. We kind of got hit on that play in London when we played the Vikings. I think (Marcus Davenport) took it personally to not let it happen again. I think any time that you make plays like that it not only gets the defense going, but the whole team.
On not giving up a big play:
"That's what we are capable of. Obviously, we are missing a few pieces. I think when we play loose and our kind of style and not pressing, then that's mostly what we are capable of. I think it is just one game, but it was a good one for us."
On if he felt like they needed a win:
"To be honest, I don't know if I have ever been part of a shutout. I've played in this league a long time, but to play the ball that we played today from the front end to the back end against a really good offense. I think that's what we need. Most importantly, as long as we don't press and stay loose, then that is what we are capable of as a defense."
On how hard it is to get a shutout and when did he start thinking about it.:
"I didn't think about it one time to be honest. To answer the first part of the question, I think it's extremely hard. These are the best athletes in the world. It is hard to keep those guys out of the endzone for 60 minutes. Hats off to our coaches and the scheme. The guys too. We put our heads down and put in the work. I think that we hear all of the noise about our defense, but we never really bought into it. We always knew what we were capable of. This was a good game. We have another big time opponent coming in here next week. You just want to separate this one and move on."
On Alontae Taylor having swagger:
"I've been around a few of them. He's one of them for sure. I think. It really comes down to preparation. He always into it throughout the week. He's one of the first guys on the practice field. He is always working on his craft. In the beginning of the season, we had a pretty deep DB room. He had a chip on his shoulder that he wanted to e able to help us. His time has come around. I think he is really showing up for us big time."
On limiting Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs:
"It was huge. The last five or six years this team has been a great defense up front stopping the run. We wanted to get back to that style and that spirit. That's what it is all about. Hats off to our coaches. None of those guys pressed us or anything like that. I think that is what it is about. Just staying together. Weathering the storm. The playmakers just have to go out there and make a few plays. I think we were able to do that today."
On the Raiders not crossing the 50-yard line until the last drive of the game:
"That's pretty rare. Like I said we have some of the best athletes in the world. Some of the best coaches as well. Hats off to our coaches we were able to fluster those guys for about 55 minutes in the game."
On getting his second interception of the season:
"I was just trying to get to the ball. I think tips and overthrows are a big part of the game. I'm kind of pissed of about the one that I dropped. I can't get that one out of my head. It's cool to make a play for the team at any time.
Running back Alvin Kamara
On the amount of touches in the first half:
"Any time I can get those touches in bunches and early and often, I can get going and really impact the game. I feel like I can do that every game. Luckily, I was able to get some plays dialed up that put the ball in my hand. The offensive line was on point. The outside receivers were on point. The tight ends were on point. We came wanting to impose our will. We wanted to get back to playing our style of football. Obviously, it looks like it is me, but it is a team thing. It was refreshing."
On how gratifying it was to have an impact on the game:
"I think Tyrann (Mathieu) hit on it. It goes in the preparation. I think after the Arizona game. I said what I said. I think everyone echoed and agreed. Some of the things that we were doing weren't up to par how we've played around here the last couple of years. During the week, I think that was in everybody's head and it showed during practice. We had a great week of practice and we wanted to come out here and start fast. We started fast and got on them early. When you get rolling like that and you are able to impose your will, then it means a lot. Moving forward, if we keep doing that, then we will be where we want to be."
On how much did the need to win:
"I feel like we need to win every week. Our defense played lights out. That's how are defense plays. That's how they are supposed to play. That's what we expect. Our offense went out there and did what they are supposed to do. That's what we expect every week. If it doesn't happen, then I am pissed. I'm sure the coaches are pissed. It's holding everyone accountable. It's like ethics. It's everyone being accountable to themselves and their teammate. We bring a certain amount of accountability and policing each other, passing woes and then looking for that breakthrough performance, then it's justifying and doing the things that you need to do."
On the talking about the opportunity that lies ahead with the other teams in the division:
" I'm just worried about this locker room. Whatever the rest of the division is doing, then that's what they are doing. I just want to focus on the Saints and getting us to where we need to be. Preparing every week and playing our best football. If we do that like we did today, then we will like where we are."
On if he was emotional spiking the ball after the second touchdown:
"I wasn't really emotional. I was having fun. I try to have fun every game. Obviously, when you get in the end zone, it's a little bit more fun. It was energy more than emotion. It's been the trending topic. That's what we are trying to get back to. Having fun. Playing with energy. Playing with passion and playing with swag. Having pride in the things that we are doing. Going out there and shutting a team out and having our way the whole game. It's fun. That's kind of what that was."
On if that was the farthest he has ever spiked a ball:
"It's going to be a point of emphasis on the film. Zach Line had a terrible spike a few years ago. I know that we'll see on film and we'll talk about it."
On if he feels like if the swagger is back:
"It's on it's way back. We had a nice performance right there. You can do it one time, but you have to be able to string it together. We have to do the same preparation for this week. I'm ready for next week. I expect to win every week. I'm not like hip hip hooray right now. I'm like cool. We put it together. Now, let's see if we can do it again. I'm calling for that. I'm going to have the same message that I did last week. Just because we had a good week this week doesn't mean that we can fall off or taper down. We have to do the same thing next week and the next week and the next week. Swag is consistency."
On if he pays attention to the trade talk:
"I'm not interested in playing anywhere else. With that being said if I were to be traded somewhere else I'd probably be eating popcorn somewhere. I don't really pay attention to it too much. My friends send it to me. They'll say I know it's not true, but I wanted to ask you. When something like that comes up, then it's either my mom or my friends. They'll be like what's up with that and I'll say that I'm not worried about any of that. They say I know that you are not, so keep doing your thing. If I were to get hypothetically get traded, then I'll probably be eating popcorn at Andy Dalton's house in Texas."
On Dennis Allen winning this game:
"He lied. During the week, he really didn't say anything about it. In the locker room, he said he lied and that it really meant a lot to him. I stick to what I said. We were going to go out there and beat their ass and we did that."
Cornerback Alontae Taylor
"We were told to challenge those guys, challenge the line of scrimmage, make them make the throws, I thought that's what we did. The biggest thing was the swagger. I thought we played with it. It felt different, good on the sidelines."
On how much the defensive line made it easier for the secondary:
"There were some times running down the field and you turn around and it's sacks. The D-line did what they do. You didn't see it, but (Demario) Davis came in here, he was talking to everybody, he was talking to the D-line, he was talking to the secondary. The biggest message was to go out there and play fast and that's what we do"
S Marcus Maye
On if Alontae Taylor's energy and mentality is something that the secondary feeds off of:
"Definitely, we do a great job of getting everybody going. We know what type of player he is, he has energy, physical. He did a great job in man coverage with Davante (Adams)."
On what it was like to have that type of performance defensively:
"It was big for us. Going into the locker room last week. We needed to get our swagger back, get back to playing the ball that we know we know how to play. That's what we were preaching all week. Getting to the ball affecting the quarterback, everything just fell in line. The D-line did a great job in getting to the quarterback and stopping the run and we did a great job on the back end."
"We need to go into next week with the same effort, same energy, same mentality and play football. We can't afford any slip ups or anything like that."
Guard Cesar Ruiz
"We all know that when 41 touches the ball magic happens, we all know that. It's definitely great to see him go out there and do what everybody knows he can do. Everybody knows what he does. For him to go out there and do that is great, make people miss in open space, it's great."
On what a win does for a team moving forward:
"This is like, look at this game and keep building off it. This is how it's supposed to gel. This is what we do, how we play football, that swagger, keep doing that, keep building off it and do it every week."