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Postgame Quotes: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers | 2023 NFL Week 14

Postgame quotes from Dennis Allen and players following the New Orleans Saints Week 14 win against the Carolina Panthers

Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season.
Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season.

Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen

Opening statement:

"Obviously it feels good to win, particularly here at home. I don't think that we played as well as we need to play. We played well enough to win this game, but we certainly need to play better, particularly on offense. I don't think we played the way we need to play offensively. I thought the blocked punt (note NFL later changed scoring of the play to a forced fumble/fumble recovery) was a big play in the game. Defensively, we came up with a couple of red zone stops that I thought were big in the game. Our ability to finish in the red zone today was the deciding factor. I think we were 3-of-4 in the red area today. We finished drives and scored touchdowns down there. There are some positive things, but obviously, there are a lot of things we need to fix."

On the negatives in the offensive performance:

"I did not think that we really had hardly any rhythm early on. Well, I shouldn't say that. I thought early on in the first quarter, I thought we did a good job on the opening drive being able to run the football. We were converting early. We stalled in the red zone, and then, we missed a field goal. Then, I think, for probably a significant portion of the game, I didn't think we had great rhythm offensively. I thought our guys in the fourth quarter responded, got a big play to A.T. (Perry). We scored down there in the red area. We had a fourth down stop basically down there in our red zone and hit another touchdown to kind of finish off the game."

On the exchange between QB Derek Carr and C Erik McCoy:

"Look, this is a highly competitive business that we're in. I don't think anybody gets too sensitive. Guys want to win. That's really what this is all about. We addressed it. As far as I'm concerned, it's water under the bridge. Let's move on. You know what I mean? Let's move on."

On the exchange being between two captains:

"I think if you're ever in a highly competitive environment and things aren't going the way you want them to go, yeah there are sometimes that you get frustrated. You lash out a little bit. I'm glad that both of them have the balls to at least stand up and fight. You know what I mean? This isn't like a – hell, my wife and I argue. It happens. Let's not make too much of it."

On if he's seen this type of exchange between teammates in-game:

"These kinds of things happen on the field. They happen on our sideline. They happen on our opponent's sideline. They happen in other NFL games. I wouldn't read too much into it. That's two highly competitive guys. I just think when you have competitive guys and things aren't going the way it needs to go, guys get pissed. Sometimes they express their emotions. You get over it on the sideline. You calm down, and then you come back out, you regroup and you go. That's what we did."

On the exchange and the fan interaction:

"Listen, stop. Stop. We're making way too big of deal of it. Let's move on."

On Derek Carr's performance today:

"Up and down. Much like the whole offense- up and down. There were some good things. There are some things that we need to do better at. That's how I
would assess it."

On if Carr's injuries required the offense to play more conservatively:

"I don't really think so. I just think we struggled to kind of get into a rhythm. I do not think our execution was where it needed to be. I did think we ran the ball well early on. Obviously, we weren't really able to throw the ball as well as we needed to. Then, we began to get a little more loaded boxes and things like that that made it a little more difficult to run the football. When we needed to go make a play to try to end the game, we made the play to end the game. I thought that was a positive."

On the hustle play by CB Paulson Adebo:

"I thought it was awesome. I think it's something we talk about all the time. Defend every blade of grass. (Paulson Adebo) could have easily just allowed him
to go into our end zone without having to pay the price. He hustled down there, stopped him short, and then, we were able to get a red zone stop. That's part of the culture of a winning team, and I thought that was exactly what we're looking for."

On the NFC South standings and the Saints' play:

"Obviously, I feel like we need to play a better brand of football. That's what we're going to continue to work toward doing. We talked about winning this week, and we took care of goal No. 1. Now, we will move forward and worry about next week."

On TE Jimmy Graham's third down catch:

"I thought that was a hell of a catch. For (Graham) to go up there like that and bring it in through contact is something we (have) missed a little bit and was
nice to see."

On the Saints' defensive performance today:

"I thought, particularly in the passing game, we did a good job. I feel like there were some opportunities to get the quarterback (Bryce Young) on the ground, and we did not. They ended up converting a few more first downs via (Young)'s legs than I would have liked. Then, we had one miss on a run that ended up being an explosive run. I thought, overall, they did some nice things. I feel like once we got them into a passing game mode, our guys took advantage of it."

On Graham performing well after being inactive early in the season:

"Again, let's start focusing on what we need to do moving forward. I think we've all been through those decisions and thought through all those things. (Graham)'s certainly given us a little bit of an uptick the last couple weeks."

On the design of the play that resulted in a Saints touchdown by D'Marco Jackson:

"Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how it got through. I know Nephi (Sewell) got through pretty clean and did a heck of a job taking the ball off the foot, and then D. Jack was there to pick it up and run it in. Obviously, the design of the rush was good, and the execution of the rush was good."

On the message to the team after the win:

"Every game you play whether you win or lose, there's going to be good things that happen in the game. There's going to be some bad things that happens
in the game. There has never been a game where that has not been the case. Ultimately, this game is about winning. We won a game today. Nobody is going to apologize for winning a game today. We're going to take the win. We are going to understand the corrections we need to make, and we are going to work hard to correct those things. That is the process you go through on a daily and a weekly basis."

On Zack Baun's expanded pass rush role recently:

"It is hard for me to comment on that right now, but certainly, that has been something we've kind of needed, maybe a little bit more speed on the
edge, especially with Cam (Jordan) being kind of limited. We'll evaluate the tape and see how it was. I would expect you could continue to see (Zack Baun) in that role."

On WR Chris Olave playing through illness:

"Oh yeah, (Chris) was battling through it, but he fought through it. It was a hell of play on the goal line to catch the ball for the touchdown. It was good, but
yeah, he was not feeling well."

On Graham's response after being inactive early in the season:

"Great, great. (Jimmy) responded great when he got in the lineup. He's a pro. He said he would be ready when his number was called. His number was called, and he was ready. That was good."

On S Jordan Howden's performance:

"Just on first take after just coming off the field, I thought there were some good things (Howden) did in the game. I think there are some things we are going to need
to correct. I probably can't give too much detail as to exactly how I think he played because it is kind of hard to do when you just come off the field, but I saw some plays that he impacted the game. I saw some plays that I felt like we need to do better there."

On Carr coming off the injuries last week:

"Up and down. I said (Derek) played up and down a little like the rest of the offense. It wasn't his best performance, but again, we won the game. We will make
whatever corrections we need to make, and we will move forward."

On the early focus of the run game:

"We felt like this is a really good pass defense. I think they were sixth in the league in terms of pass defense coming into the game. We knew that was going to be a
difficult challenge, yet felt like there were some opportunities to potentially run the ball against them. I thought our regular running game was much better in this game, particularly with us not having Taysom (Hill) available to us. We knew that was going to be something we were going to have to do a good job of – just hand the ball off to the runners and let them get yards. We did a pretty decent job of that."

On the crowd and the Saints' need to win:

"Look, I think everybody in that locker room and everybody in the city of New Orleans needed the Saints to win. I was glad we were able to do that."

On the defensive front four:

"Why don't you let me look at the tape before I can really comment on exactly what I thought? I did think we got after the quarterback more in this game than we have in previous games. That did kind of stand out to me a little bit."

Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham

On how he approached being inactive for a while this season:

"For me, it was a little different obviously, you know. I want to be in that jersey for the city and for this team you know, but it just didn't work out. I kind of knew my role coming in, that it was going to be limited and I needed to stay ready for the opportunity. So, I did a lot of biking and just made sure I was just mentally ready for it so I could rise up and make a play."

On his third down touchdown catch:

"Yeah, well, I kind of wasn't supposed to be there. But yea, I got rerouted and, you know, I mean, it just felt like a normal drill where he [Derek Carr] just trusts me and
just threw it up. It felt like the clock ticked back about a decade. And after that, I kind of lose it and start screaming and going to the sideline to hype up people. So, those moments are special. I have to say, that is the one thing that you can't replace whenever you leave this game. You know, the feeling of moments like that, when the crowd goes crazy. And when your teammates are on the sideline and you're able to celebrate with them. You know, that is what (I) came back (for), and these are moments I live for. And so, to be able to do that here, you know, I'll never get tired of it."

On last week's first touchdown catch for the Saints in the Caesars Superdome in the regular season in a long time:

"If you think about it, I spent a year away from the game. I ended up moving on to a sailboat, and just always felt like there was something missing. There is nothing like this sport in this city and for this team and in this jersey. It was magical and hopefully we get a lot more. I'm blessed to be able to play this game at 37. I feel like I've been kind of an underdog most of my life, so every play I get out there, I play with a chip on my shoulder. And I am always trying to prove people wrong.Today, I had to throw the walker to the side to make a couple plays, but, it's magical."

On team being in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC South:

"We feel very fortunate. We are going to take it one game at a time though. We will heal up, get the gameplan, and focus on going 1-0 every week."

Saints Quarterback Derek Carr

On how happy he is seeing Jimmy Graham being very productive:

"Our lockers are separated by one so we have had a lot of great conversations. We're both in there (in the building mornings) very early from training camp to now and it's just great to get to know each other, to become good friends and good teammates. We knew that he could do some of these things. Obviously, we hit him early in
Green Bay. And now the past couple of weeks, he's been a viable option for us. To see him still play at that level and still be able to execute at that level at his age. As you get older, you have to change certain ways that you do things, and he knows what he's doing. It's paying off for him because he's still executing at a high level. He made the best play with that catch you know, it's unbelievable. It is like, the only place I could throw it. And it's Jimmy Graham. You watch that play and you're like, he
looks like he's 28 years old, you know. I was really impressed. But I think the greatest thing is his leadership, you know what he brings to our team. Just the mellowness and his demeanor when it's tough, when it's hard, those grinding days on Wednesday or Thursday. He has been just fantastic for our team."

On the altercation between himself and C/G Erik McCoy:

"I mean, things happen and we were both had our reasons. We were both right for an aspect, we're both wrong for an aspect. But that's not the only time that's ever happened with me and another player you know. That stuff happens. The best part about it, I was always taught that those moments are going to happen. You're going have conflict and sometimes confrontation. But always circle back. So, I went and circled back. We looked at each other and we smiled. We both already knew. I know it looks more intense with all the cameras around that gets caught sometimes. But there is no problem.

On how he played:

"We got the win! I'm just excited we won the game today. People gritted through
some stuff this week and to see them happy and dancing after a win, that's what I'm happy about."

Saints Defensive End Carl Granderson

On how the defense played:

"We started off fast. We got a quick three and out on defense and gave our offense opportunities. We came out ready to play."

On how he continues to play well after receiving a big contract:

"I've come a long way. I started from the bottom and worked my way up with effort and energy and execution. I started off on special teams and now I'm a starting defensive end, so I came a long way. I put up hard work and dedication every day I come to work, and I play for my teammates."

On the defensive mindset today after two uncharacteristic games:

"We know overall, we're a better defense so, going into each game our objective's to stop the run so we can get after the quarterback. And that's what we did today. He [Bryce Young] may have had a few rushing yards, but we were getting after him. So, moving forward, we got to stop the run. Everybody is going to come in with a
game plan. We just got to execute better than them."

Saints Offensive Lineman James Hurst

On coming out with the win:

"It was important particularly being a division game. Those have more meaning in the standings. We had to get a win. We had to stop that losing streak. I'm very glad we
could do that at home."

On the conflict between Derek Carr and Erik McCoy in-game:

"It's two guys that are both frustrated at offensive failure. That is really what it is. A lot of times this season our offense has not performed to where we believe that we're capable of performing. Derek's frustrated and Erik's frustrated. They are competing. They are angry. Both of them. It's more than frustration. It's anger. I feel like we can go on and put a better product out there. At the time we weren't doing that and it just boiled over."

On the resolution:

"When the emotions temper off a little bit, then that is when you address it. They had a conversation and to be honest I don't know what was said between the two. They got it resolved and we were able to move on the rest of the game and put it behind us."

On the resolution:

"I think if you look at the stats on paper, then it is not pretty. It probably looks like we should have lost that game, but in the NFL it comes down to making plays when you have to make them. We were able to do that today. The special teams scored a touchdown and the defense played great all day. Credit to them. Our offense at times was able to capitalize the way our defense and special teams set us up and score touchdowns which was important. It helped us ice that game."

Saints Linebacker D'Marco Jackson

On the touchdown return of the forced fumble:

"We have been preaching all week that we need a game-changing play. I saw Nephi (Sewell) come through and block it. I was like alright perfect. It was
rolling so I was like pick it up and go."

On his mindset when seeing the ball there:

"Don't let me trip and fall. That was the only thing going through my mind is to not trip and fall."

On the play being a huge momentum swing:

"You feel like the crowd got up and the sideline has a lot more juice. Guys were playing with juice out there. That's the swag we are talking about."

On the key to the defense coming out to a fast start:

"I think it is really just preparation. We harp on a lot of things during the week. We need to be locked into the keys. Make the checks. Play fast and play violent."

Saints Linebacker Nephi Sewell

On the forced fumble/recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter:

"It was more like a defensive stay kind of call. It was more of like watching out for the fake. Every week they preach if you are a rusher to just rush because you never know when it's going to come free and it just so happened to be me. I rushed and was like I can actually block this. Right when I got there I was like just track the
ball. I'm glad DJack was there to scoop and score. It was definitely a fun moment especially with DJack scoring."

On how big that play was for the team:

"It was crucial. It was nice to have that comfort of space of being in the lead. It was definitely nice."

On what was going through his mind when Jackson picked up the ball:

"I was hyped. We have to work on our celebrations first of all. As he was scoring, we were like departing. Then, we basically jumped up in the air and celebrated with each other. I'm happy for Djack and happy for the whole unit in general. Every week we preach on being the best as a special teams unit."

Saints Safety Tyrann Mathieu

On today's game:

"There was a moment there in the first quarter where you thought the scoreboard said 21-0, but it didn't. We did a good job keep fighting back. Our offense made some plays.Defensively, I thought we did a good job of getting off the field when we need to."

On the special teams play:

"I asked him after the touchdown if he planned it. He said I didn't know what to do. I said did you keep the ball. He said no I don't know where it is at. I told them that they have to work on that. It is definitely a good feeling especially when the younger guys are able to step up and make plays. It's good to see those guys have success."

On winning the game at home:

"It felt good to win at home. It's been a while. It's good to come home and get a win especially against a divisional opponent. Hopefully, it will put a smile on our fan's faces for another week or so."

Saints Center/Guard Erik McCoy

On the conflict between he and Derek Carr during the game:

"We just had a disagreement. Emotions are high. My emotions and his emotions were high on how things were going through the game. I lost my cool. A public disagreement deserves a public apology. We talked about it already person to person but out loud I will say Derek Carr I am sorry. I let my emotions get the best of me and that's not ok."

On if it was a boiling point:

"I think it was just frustration. He was tired of getting hit. I was tired of getting hit. I lost my cool. I did. Derek Carr I am sorry. We are good. I love him. He loves me. We are on the same page."

On getting the win:

"It was nice to get a win. We dropped three in a row I think, so it was nice to come back home to be in front of our fans and get a win. It was not perfect. I didn't go the way that we wanted it to, but right now a win is a win."

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