SAINTS COACH DENNIS ALLEN
"I was proud of the way our team fought and competed today. We did a lot of good things. Obviously, there are some things that we have to get cleaned up. I think that's a good football team that we played, but I thought our guys responded to, call it the mini-bye or whatever, and came back and we did some good things. It was a good team win."
Overall, how excited or how happy are you about how the offense played overall?
"Yeah, really excited – really happy about it. I've been saying that I felt like we were close and we were doing some good things. I think it's the first time since 2018 that the Saints offense has had three games of over 400 yards. So, there's been good things that we've done. We just haven't been able to capitalize on all those things. Obviously, we were much better in the red zone in this game, and that when you're scoring touchdowns in the red area instead of kicking field goals, that usually puts your points up there a lot more. So thought we had some good, explosive plays. I thought we ran the ball effectively. So there were a lot of things to like with what we did offensively. And yet I think there were still some plays out there. There are always things you can get better at."
What do you think was so effective about running the ball in the red zone?
"It's not a really big secret. When you fricking block them and you hit the right hole, then usually it's effective. And if you don't block them, then it's usually not very effective. So, I thought we did a better job of blocking them down there today."
How big of a boost does Taysom Hill give you down there in that area?
"Yeah. Look, he's been highly effective for us. That package down there has been effective for us. So, we gotta get into that position a lot more often, and then I think we'll utilize that package as we see fit."
How do you think Derek Carr ran the offense today?
"I thought he ran the offense well. I thought there were a lot of really good things that he did. I thought there was a mix of huddle, tempo, a lot of different things that we incorporated into the offense. I thought Pete (Carmichael) and those guys on the offensive staff, I thought they did a hell of a job putting together a great plan. I thought our players went out and executed it. And that's really kind of the secret to having success is put together a good plan and guys go out and execute that plan."
He seemed to get rid of the ball quicker today. Did you feel that? Did he feel more comfortable?
"Yeah, I thought he did a good job of reading some things out and getting the ball out to the right people. I know we're going to look back at the tape and there are going to be a few plays where we'd love to have it back, but I thought overall – what I thought about our offense I felt like there was a rhythm to what we were doing offensively, and that was good to see."
Can you elaborate a little on the illness you guys were dealing with this week?
"Yeah, look. It's no fun. It's a GI bug that's kind of been going through the group a little bit. We had a few players that kind of popped up with it over the last call it 24 hours. So hopefully it kind of runs its course. It's kind of a 12- to 24-hour where you don't feel very good for a little while and then you kind of get back to normal."
I assume that was why Marcus Maye was out. When you have a guy like Jordan Howden who is playing as well as he is as a rookie how much does that help you guys?
"Yeah, look, the biggest thing with Marcus (Maye) is that he really wasn't able to practice this week. I think that's a great thing about having some depth in our secondary is that we feel confident that guys can step in there and play and perform at an acceptable level. I'll look at the tape and kind of determine exactly how well he did. I know there are a few plays that didn't sit well with me, but I think overall he did a pretty nice job."
Did you have a few guys actually play sick today?
"Yes. I couldn't tell you exactly what the number, but there was a handful of guys that weren't feeling great."
What's the biggest area of growth Rashid Shaheed has had to develop into a more all-around receiver this year?
"I don't think we're there yet, you know? I think there's still a lot of meat left on the bone in terms of what we need to be able to do and what he can do. Obviously, his explosiveness down the field is probably his biggest trait. And his ability to – like I can think in the last few weeks Houston being one, the play today, where he goes and makes a play on the football and high points the ball. So, there's some of that that I'm seeing that I really like. I think it's all the little bitty intricacies and the little bitty details that he's still gotta improve on, but his speed and explosiveness makes him really difficult to cover."
He's got like six receptions of 40 or more yards this year. That seems pretty abnormal.
"Yeah. I would think so. I couldn't tell you who the players are in our league, but I bet you it's a small number, and I bet there's a lot of recognizable names in terms of guys that have that many 40-plus-yard receptions. And, look, not only does that benefit us, us being able to get the ball to him down the field, but it opens up a lot of other things in the passing game when you got a guy that has that type of threat."
How big was the throw to him from Taysom Hill?
"Yeah, that was huge. That was huge. And so, it was one that went our way, which was good to see. I don't know that I've stood up here and said that very often, so it was good to one."
Did Derek Carr and this offense need a game like this?
"I think we all needed a game like this. There's been a lot of talk about the offense, but like we needed a win, you know, and we got one. We got one as a team. And so, there was a lot to like. There were some things that weren't up to our standard. And so, look, we're going to enjoy this and then we gotta get back to work. We got another big game this week against Chicago coming into our place."
You have done this a couple times now in a tight game, fourth quarter, big third down play and going for a big vertical play down the field.
"Well, look, I think it was third-and-13 on that particular play. So, it was going to take something down the field. We got a one-on-one matchup with (Rashid) Shaheed, and we took the one-on-one match up – Shaheed won."
Pete Carmichael talked earlier this week about calling the number of plays for certain situations and simplifying the offense. Can you speak to the impact that might have had today?
"Well, look, I would just say that I felt like our guys were much more on point with the execution of the plan this week, and so it just stands to reason that if you have 25 plays instead of 50 plays, it's a lot easier to be on point with all the little bitty details that go along with each play. So, yeah, I thought that was part of the success."
When did you guys come up with the idea for Khalen Saunders to play some offense for you?
"Well, probably initially when Adam Prentice went down. And so, then you start looking at, okay, who on your team can kind of fill that role in certain situations? And, look, he thinks he's a running back anyway. So, we put him in there and make him feel like he's a running back and then we don't give him the ball. We make him go block somebody. So, yeah, that's pretty much the inspiration for why we put him back there."
Is there a nickname for that package?
"No. There's not a nickname for that package. It's just a normal goal line package."
Chris Olave had rough moments and bounced back there in the latter stages of the game. Where is he right now mentally?
"Yeah. Look, I think he's in a good spot. I mean, you know, there's ups and downs with young players. I'm not worried about Chris Olave. I think he's going to be a big part of what we're able to do, hopefully successfully as we go down the stretch here. So, he's going to be a big part of our offense, and, look, he made some big plays for us today."
On the dropped pass that looked like it was about to be a touchdown – did you connect on that? Was it just lost in the lights type of situation?
"Yeah, he just lost the ball there. I mean, you know, he ran a hell of a route, you know, and then just kind of couldn't find the ball coming out of it."
This week you had a lot of discussions and player meetings with each other. As a head coach, was that initiated by you or the players kind of getting together on offense?
"Well, look, I'd say there's probably a combination, you know. There were some conversations that obviously I initiated. There were obviously conversations that were initiated amongst the players. I think we've got a pretty veteran group, and they know that there's a standard that we hold ourselves to, and we hadn't been playing to that standard. So, we went to work to try to fix it."
SAINTS QUARTERBACK TAYSOM HILL
How do you like having Khalen Saunders leading the way for you?
"First of all, personality, there is no one more fun to be around than Khalen (Saunders). He does a great job, obviously hasn't done a ton of that but man, he gets in the huddle you know he's going to go fast and he's going to clear the way. That's been a lot of fun and a little change up makes it fun too, to see him in the huddle."
How much did this offense need a game like this?
"Yeah, you know look - we've been talking for the last however many weeks offensively; like we're this close and we had some silly things the last few weeks, penalties that have killed some drives. I felt, offensively, we were right on the brink of a game like this. So to answer your question - it was good to finally put it all together and it gives us a lot of confidence moving forward."
How does having this game impact the expectations going into next week or moving forward?
"From the beginning our expectation was to be able to score like this. Historically, we've been moving the ball but haven't obviously been scoring as much as we should have. It's nice as an offense to see everything come together. That's the expectation - its everybody coming together doing their job and their responsibility and that's the result."
You took the deep shot to Rashid Shaheed, initially ruled a pick, and then overruled. Walk us through that play.
"We didn't know how they were going to adjust to me at halftime and we kind of felt like they might be a little bit more aggressive, and they were. We wanted to take a shot and (Rashid) Shaheed, for as fast as he is, the dude plays the ball as good as anyone I've been around. When you get a look, an opportunity like that - you are going to let him you up and make a play, and man he did. I was certainly grateful."
A lot has been made over the last couple of weeks about communication in particular, how do you think communication was amongst the offense today?
"Communication was good. Look, I think we talk about the details and putting it all together - I know we had a few false starts that killed a few drives. All and all I felt like all of those little details, communication being at the head of that, came together and we played very well."
SAINTS DEFENSIVE END CAMERON JORDAN
How do you feel about the way the team performed today?
"You know with every win or loss, there is lessons to be learned. I think our defense got gashed on the second series - which we started out quick and needed to stay hot. To get that series back, I think it would be an even better win for us. I think we were able to get to the quarterback a lot. You know just another week of him changing up sets and getting the ball out faster than usual. But I think we had what, two sacks? A sack by me and Grando (Carl Granderson) and then a sack by – got to be Shep (Nathan Shepherd), he had a great spin by and grabbed him. I wish we would have had more. So, we have to keep on hunting. I was just complaining, I was like, 'Carl (Granderson) jumped on my sack, I got to split that.' Somebody is probably going to correct me, and they are going to give it to Carl. At this point I'm just fighting an uphill battle. It's about the wins, that's what we are here for."
I think Jonathan Taylor had seven carries, he averaged just over 11 yards but then the next five, he averaged just under three. What was the adjustment?
"The first carry he probably had like six, and then the second he went for 60-something which helped all the other carries. You know just eliminate the overplaying of gaps, getting back to playing our ball. One thing seen on film versus playing them - their o-line, they did a good job of reposition blockers during that game and once we understood that concept, we knew we had to stay in out gaps and it came to fruition as we needed it to."
SAINTS WIDE RECEIVER/RETURN SPECIALIST RASHID SHAHEED
How did you cook them like that?
"Well on the first one - safeties were low, we saw a quarters look and Derek (Carr) in the huddle, he told me, 'If you see quarters, just run.' It seems to be working out for us pretty well. It's things like that that help us build confidence in our offense."
It's been a couple of times you guys have been late in the game and you guys have decided to go deep instead of just going for the sticks. What does that kind of tell you about this offense?
"That we trust our playmakers. Day in and day out, we work on stuff like that and when the moments come, we just got to make it happen. It's a good feeling to be able to make those plays at those critical times."
Is kind of the epitome of what you guys were saying you're one or two small things from busting it open?
"Yeah, absolutely. This was the epitome of it and I feel like today we put it all together. All three phases came together. On the sidelines we were upbeat. We stayed in it and I feel like that's the reason we were able to win today."
SAINTS QUARTERBACK DEREK CARR
How much did you guys need this complete performance as an offense?
"Yeah, it was good, especially in the red zone. We had been moving the ball – whether we threw it, ran it, doesn't matter. We did it in all kind of ways today, and that's exciting for us. So it feels good, and it's exciting. Some of the stuff we talked about over the weekend and all that kind of stuff we did better at the end of the game. Like I told you earlier this week, I think we're getting better, you know? And I'm just happy that the fruits of that showed up. You never know how long it takes and all that good stuff. Now the work is just being consistent with what we're doing."
Do you think all the talks and meetings you had helped lead to this?
"I think so. It was needed, especially for myself. When I'm at one place for nine years, if I get banged up or hurt something – everyone in that building knew I was playing that Sunday. If I got upset or something like that, they knew where my heart was coming from and all that, and I could rely on that. Whereas I'm in a new place and new things are happening, you've got to prove yourself, you've got to help guys understand where you're coming from, help guys build the relationship. And it's something that I just felt like the Lord put on my heart to do better this week, and I thought some of that showed up today – and try not to be so emotional if a bad play happened,. Just hey, keep it pushing and talk about it and move on. I was really proud of how we handled that kind of stuff too."
You did show some emotion after a couple of those big plays.
"Oh, yeah. The exciting ones. I've always said, like I always told you all, I try my best to stay here, but sometimes on those big plays I get really excited. Even on runs, I see someone's block, I'll just go nuts. I just love that stuff. So that part I was good with, but the negative stuff I just try to be more upbeat and positive knowing we still have a lot of game left to play. And so I thought we handled our body language and those kind of things better this week."
The third-and-13 call at the end to set up the field goal, what set up that play?
"Well you know, Pete (Carmichael) trusted us again with that. It was something that we talked about that we liked during the week. And had we got to that situation, I told him going into those last couple of drives, I was like, 'Pete, that's the call I like,' because he's always asking me. It's not like it's a new thing. He's always asking. I was like, 'I like this one.' And honestly, I was even thinking Chris (Olave), you know? But the safety stayed more on this hash and allowed (Rashid) Shaheed versus press to go win and make a huge play for us, and what a day that guy had."
What does it say about the offense with this response? You guys had over 30 points and over 500 yards.
"I think well, we won. That always helps a lot of the things look better, you know? And we did better in the red zone. We were moving the ball. Right now, and I say for the past couple of weeks we've been moving the ball well, but we finished today. And like I had told everybody before, like I told you guys on – earlier this week on Wednesday, I feel like we're getting better. Even though the whole world was falling down, I was like inside our building, we are getting better. We're communicating. We're talking about things. And I thought that that showed today, and that was the thing too. It was like me and Jameis (Winston) were talking like it's cool that we won this game, especially after the communication and conversations that we had relationally and all those kind of things – to see it come to fruition today was cool."
How did those conversations help get you back on track?
"Like I had said before, I was at one place for nine years. If I was hurt, no one even asked if I was playing. If I came – if I yelled or if I was upset or if I did something, they knew where I was coming from. I felt like it was really important for me in a new place, that I felt the Lord put it on my heart like I needed to describe what I'm thinking, what I'm saying, communicate better, and not just rely on nine years in a place that wasn't this place, you know? And so that takes time. That takes relationship, but like me and A.K. (Alvin Kamara) said, like we were standing on the sideline, we knew it would take time, but our demand won't change. Like we want it to happen now."
Having new teammates, coaches, everything, how much of that early on may have led to some struggles and some criticism and some realization that things are different here? How much of that came together today?
"Yeah, a lot came together today. I thought we finished better in the red zone. We've been moving the ball, running it, throwing it, however. But it did. To go whatever we went percentage wise in the red zone was great, and that's huge for us. And so just like I said before, I'm in a new place, but I can't rely on almost a decade of just like – what do you mean, like why do I even have to explain myself? Like I knew it was important for me to just have those conversations so people could understand my heart and where I'm coming from. And it's never personal. Like I genuinely love all my teammates. I'd do anything for them. So I'm just happy we were able to win so that that could come to fruition."
Did you see anything on that third-and-13 call you felt like it was going to be a shot?
"Yeah, yeah. So it was just a play we had liked during the week. It was a great plan by R.C. (Ronald Curry), Pete (Carmichael), D.J. (Williams) and the offensive staff. They're like, 'Hey, we like this look and this route,' and I said, 'Well, me too.' And there was a play at the end of the game – Pete always comes up to me, 'Hey, I'm thinking this, what are you thinking, what are you feeling?' And that was a play in the fourth quarter I said that I had liked, and he went to it because he came up with it. So it was good."
Was there something about your processing today that was a little quicker? Do you feel like you were getting rid of it quicker or feeling it quicker today?
"No. I just felt like we finished in the red zone today. I felt like we've been moving the ball really well for a couple weeks now. But I wish I could say yes to you to help you. I feel comfortable, you know, in the sense of running, playing quarterback and all those kind of things."
Can you describe the impact of a good play caller and setting you guys up in certain situations?
"I mean, we have a lot of playmakers, and I thought Pete (Carmichael) did a great job of just putting us in positions. And you get a guy like A.K. (Alvin Kamara) in space on matchups and those kind of things. Getting Chris (Olave) on this route and (Rashid) Shaheed on this. I thought they did a great job, great plan, and our guys executed the plan. I thought we executed the plan. But I thought all 11 guys at a time – and there's mistakes out there. You can find those all the time. But I thought for the most part, all 11 guys played complementary to each other on offense. A.K. can run a great run – run a great route, but if I miss it, oh, well. It goes that way for everybody, but I thought we complemented with each with good plays after good plays."
I know you almost had Juwan Johnson in the end zone there. What's the impact of having him back?
"Yeah I mean, I can't believe he almost had it. I really gave him a chance. And looking back at it, I was like I could have – A.K. (Kamara) probably felt I could have got that one to him too. Give him another one. But Juwan (Johnson) down the middle, that's a throw we've made in training camp and in practice and things like that so I felt comfortable cutting it loose, and he still almost had it. But having him back, he made a big third down catch for us on a little end break, five yards. That was a huge play for us to keep the chains going. It was great to have him back for sure."
Is this one that you guys needed? Just for confidence and momentum and all those things, is this one you need?
"I can help you with this one. Yes. I think yes. I think it was good because we have a lot of young players. We also have a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. And usually when you play a lot of football, you know how this thing goes. If you just keep working and everybody's doing the right thing, you'll end up having a day like that. But sometimes some guys that haven't experienced much of that and they're like, 'Gosh, what's happening?' And I thought today was a great example of just us continuing to work, us continuing to trust and come together, which we're still going to keep doing this week, keep coming together, keep trusting each other, keep just trying to do our job. It's that simple. But yeah, I felt like we needed that because I thought we did a great job of ending the week going like this so then the fruition of it, having points, having yards and all that, it feels good."
A.T. Perry got his first opportunity. What have you seen from him?
"Oh, we've seen a lot of great things from A.T. (Perry) in practice. I mean, he's an amazing receiver, an amazing talent. His scout-team cornerback abilities are very poor though. He holds the script in his hand, and sometimes he doesn't get that part right. But he's a rookie, so I got to give him a hard time. But I think the world of A.T., I really do. I think he's a great player, and he has a chance to play in this league a long time."