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Postgame quotes: New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears | 2023 NFL Week 9

Postgame quotes from Coach Dennis Allen and Saints players after the team's Week 9 win over the Chicago Bears.


Opening statement:

"Hard fought win. None of these are ever easy in our league and for anybody that ever thinks that you got an easy one, you are waiting to get your ass beat. So it was a good win for us. We're excited about the win. Moving forward and getting ready to go play Minnesota, so I'll take your questions."

On the defense

"I think the takeaways were outstanding. (There) Wasn't a lot good that I saw defensively, but the takeaways were outstanding and that's a difference in the game. It is credit to our guys to go out and take the ball away. We talked about punching the ball out this week, we got a nice top down punch out. Some of the things that we emphasize were good to see. We still have to start faster defensively. So we have to figure that out. We have way too many mistakes early on in the game and that has to be better."

On what the defense wasn't doing well

"Just not being in the right spot, not getting aligned properly. Just sloppy crap."

On if he considered changing the defensive approach to bring more QB pressure

"No I wanted to play better. We brought some pressures. I thought that Paulson's interception was on him (Tyson Bagent) was under pressure. It's easy to want to pressure but it's harder to pressure when everything's second and fourth, third and three, third-and-two. You don't have a lot of pressures on your call sheet necessarily in those situations. You have to create a little bit some longer down (and) distances and you get a chance to be a little bit more aggressive. But, all that being said, five takeaways put us in good position and we were able to get 24 points today, which is enough to get the win."

On the decision to accept the holding penalty in the second quarter

"I think in that situation, it was going to be fourth-and-two, and quite honestly, I thought they'd be aggressive there and go for it. I thought, well, we can back them up and hopefully get him to be more a fourth and longer yardage situation, force them to have to kick the field goal. It did not work. We did not get it done. But that was the thought process behind it."

On the offensive drive at the end first half

"Well, wasn't a lot of time there. We had a couple of plays to try to get the ball down the field, obviously the last play of the half we're really trying to get the ball down the field and I guess Derek (Carr) got a little bit of pressure there and we felt like he had to get rid of the ball. So we didn't really get a chance to get the ball down the field. But look, there wasn't there wasn't a lot of time there to get chunks in yardage."

On Lou Hedleypunting to the 3-yard line

"No, that's huge. The field position there was huge. The way that the game gets played on the 2- or 3-yard line is totally different than the way the game gets played on the 20-yard line. And so that was a huge play by him, backing them up we were able to get off the field there and change the field position."

On Taysom Hill and his performance

"I thought he was really good. I thought our plan to utilize him was good and I thought he was effective when we utilized him. But they kind of had a little bit of a plan to try to load it up to stop him. But it's just the stress of every single play that it could be the one that pops. Really at the end the day for us to be able to close the game out like that down there inside the red area was big."

On the decision to punt instead of attempting to kick the field goal in the fourth quarter

"All those options go through your mind. But I felt like trying to pin him down. Obviously, that's a long field goal and the percentages of making those aren't necessarily great and so, the thought process was, let's pin them down there in that situation and see if we can create some field position get the ball back in good field position for the offense."

On his thought process to not kick the field goal

"Every minute of the game changes the thought process in terms of what you're thinking, in terms of your aggressiveness, whether you're going to go for it, kick the field goal, or try to plot them and pin them deep. Those are your three options and we chose to try to pin him down there."

On if it was halftime adjustments that caused the turnovers

"I think it was guys making plays, which was awesome to see. Paulson's (second half) interception was a great play by him. He played it exactly how he is supposed to play it. Marcus Maye's interception coming across the middle, hell of a play. Adebo's punchout was, it was beautiful to see. I think it was really just our guys making plays. First interception, I thought Paulson did a did a hell of a job on. Read it perfectly, was in the right spot, saw the quarterback, made a good break, and then went up high part of the ball. The runback sucked (laughter), but the interception was good."

On if he was disappointed with the consistency of the defense

"Well, look, I think overall, both sides of the ball I would have liked to seen us be a little bit more consistent. I thought offensively, in the first half, I thought we moved the ball really well and there was consistency in what we were doing in the first half. Not quite as good in the second half. It's something that we got to go back and evaluate the tape, make the corrections that we need to make and then move forward from that. But I have seen more consistency out of the offense in the last month. That's been good to see."

On the Bears' quarterback scrambles

"There's a way that you have to rush a quarterback. If everybody just tries to go and win their one on one battle, then there's no structure to how you're rushing this guy and that's how quarterbacks escape. So we have to do a better job of understanding the rush plan and do a better job of making sure that we're all working together in the rush plan so when the quarterback does try to escape, then we have somebody there to to get him down. So that has to be better, because that stinks right now."

On if there was a correction made to fix the QB scrambles

"We talked about it."

On if there were halftime adjustments

"Halftime adjustments are over freaking rated. Alright? Stop. OK? Play better; coach better; execute; do your job. That is what it is about. OK? So that's what the communication was at halftime. We did not come in there and just change the whole frickin game plan. Are we haven't done it any week up to this point. What we've done is we've called better calls, and we've executed better and we need to start doing that early on."

"Well, I think he's always had good instincts. Two years ago, I think, what he had three interceptions a couple years ago, not as much last year. Last year he was fighting through some injuries and stuff. He's healthy this year. I think overall from a secondary standpoint, I think our guys have done a nice job of technical football."

On the penalties coming down from previous weeks

"I think probably a little bit both. A little bit of both. I think our guys from a technique standpoint have been doing a little better."

On Chris Olave having the first touchdown

"That was awesome to see, made a great catch in the endzone was a huge play for us and a big confidence builder for him I think. It was good to see him come back and respond and yet I think there's still more out there for him. So we're going to keep pushing him and keep pushing him to get the best out of him. I think there's more there and I'm excited about seeing it."

On Olave's maturity off the field

"He's (an) extremely mature kid. He works his tail off. I'm glad he's on our team. I think he's going to be a big part of what we do as we move forward. He's an explosive weapon and he's going to be a big part of our football team."

On if he was surprised by the lack of separation by the receivers

"I guess I have to go back and kind of look a little bit and see kind of where we were at. You're talking about us offensively being able to create some separation? I thought we did some nice things in the passing game. But without really seeing the tape, I'll decline to comment too much on that."

On the Chicago's quarterback's performance

"(He played) way better than I wanted him to. I thought he did, honestly, with the exception of the turnovers, I thought he played really well. I thought he operated their offense extremely well. Obviously you could see him get into some checks and adjustments on the line of scrimmage based on what we were doing and showing. He looked like he was poised in the pocket never really panicked. Took off when he needed to. So I was highly impressed with what I saw out of him."

On Taysom Hillmaking history

"I think that's pretty impressive. Right? Half the guys in a locker room would have no idea who Frank Gifford is. I think that's pretty impressive."

On the play progression that resulted in the touchdown pass from Hill to Juwan Johnson

"Well, look, I think everybody executed their job on that play. We're actually trying to get Bink [Khalen Saunders] a touchdown in the flat there and they did a nice job, but he actually took two in coverage, which allowed Juwan to get open in the back of the end zone. Taysom went through his progression, found Juwan and when you when you execute and you do the things that you're supposed to do, generally you get good results."


On back-to-back wins

"That is why we play the game. Being able to make corrections after a win (is easier than after a loss). We were able to string together two wins in a row after the terrible feeling that we had before the Colts game. Seeing the fruits of the conversations and the hard work payoff is a good feeling. We still have room to improve and need to do some things better, but to see us going in that direction is what we want to see."

On the fast start and slow second half

"We won. At the end of the day, we won. This is professional football. Everyone is into numbers and fantasy football, but sometimes the defensive backs make plays or the defense gets in there. They made some plays in the second half early on that we didn't make, but I'm not overly concerned or thinking it's not fixable. They made plays at those moments when we came out in the second half to make it not feel as good as the first. I am fully confident in our group coming in tomorrow, especially after a win, to focus on what we can do better and get ready for next week."

On the importance of getting Chris Olave involved

"Look, we're all human. We go through stuff. There is change. He's getting to know me and things go as players and in our personal lives. Sometimes you can be doing everything right and things don't go your way. He's still making big plays for us and making tough catches. To see him have a touchdown and a couple big plays for us was good. Like I have been saying since I got here, some days it's going to be that way. Whether it is Chris, Mike (Thomas), Rashid (Shaheed) or Alvin (Kamara) getting the ball a lot in a given game, I am just going to read the play and try my best to make it happen. It just happened to go that way for Chris today, but it was good timing I think."

On the maturity of Olave

"He has been unbelievable. He has handled everything with such class. Every time we come to work he's texting me, facetiming me saying, "I got you on this" or, "I like this route". To see him be able to compartmentalize is really unbelievable. He's a young player. Again, sometimes in this league, we don't give young guys a chance to grow, develop, and go through their process. I think he is going to be a tremendous player for a long time, and the city of New Orleans should be very happy to have Chris as one of their starting wide receivers. He is the ultimate pro, he loves football, is a great teammate, and does anything you ask of him."

On the turnover differential

"It's one of those things. I could maybe force a tight window throw here and there, but at the end of the day playing with this defense, I know over time if I can take care of the football that the turnover differential will turn into wins. You always see at the end of the year, the teams at the top have a big takeaway differential, and the teams at the bottom do not. I just want to be as efficient and clean as possible. There will be games that are tight. When they are tight, I have got to take care of the ball and give us a chance. When I need to make that throw, I will make that. There were a couple times today where I did not have to do that because I know what is happening on the other side of the ball. The ultimate goal is to win the football game and it takes all three phases playing together. I am just trying and doing that to my best ability to help DA (Dennis Allen) and those guys out."

On Bears' game plan resulting in quiet day for Michael Thomas

"There was a few opportunities, but some plays where he was featured, they had a certain coverage. I know Mike, and that was probably a frustrating thing for him as a player. Hopefully, he knows they were doubling him in the red zone which led to Chris and Juwan's (Johnson) touchdowns. Just his presence and who he is helped us win this game today. It won't be on the stat sheet or show up in fantasy points, but just his presence and who he is helped us win today."

On the last play before half

"We wanted to get as much as we could and try to set up a field goal. But I saw how they were playing with a sideline defense, so I just wanted our guys to go and thought we would have to throw the Hail Mary. With all the guys on the sideline for them, there would be less people in the end zone. It wasn't something we talked about. We ended up trying the Hail Mary but they got pressure and I had to check it down."

On the offensive line play and allowing zero sacks

"They have been unbelievable. There are always things they want to clean up, but I am trying my best also to not take sacks because that hurts the team at the end of the day. Some people may not like it when I have to "dirt" a ball, but we just have to make the right plays. Our offensive line is doing such a great job and allowing me to go through progressions and move defenders. The first play of the game I had time to move a guy with my eyes and that was not anything that me and Chris (Olave) did special. That is a credit to the offensive line allowing us to play that way."

On Taysom Hill's impact and versatility

"Today we got so much man coverage. Usually we do not get much man coverage and when we do, it is a good play for us. That is not just us, that is across the league. There were playing some man and that is when Taysom got his touchdown wide open. He has been so good in his role here for so long. Back when I was watching from afar and Drew (Brees) was playing quarterback, I used to wonder why they would take Drew off the field. Then I got here and it was like, "I see why. This guy is pretty good". He is great at what he does for us. He is the ultimate competitor, a great friend, and has been amazing to me since I got here. I celebrate him every chance I get, because guys like him don't come around all the time. A guy that can go from tight end to running back to blocking on special teams to punt return to playing quarterback to playing
receiver. That just doesn't happen. He is one of my favorite teammates and the ultimate competitor".

On Khalen Saunders attracting attention in red zone

"Hilarious. I have played with my fair share of good players in skill positions, but I have never seen someone attract that much attention on a play. Him and Michael Thomas attracting double teams today. They attract attention and now I have to put #99 in that category too".


On if he has heard of Frank Gifford

"I've heard because the stats guys told me about these stats. I have heard of him. Yes, of course."

On joining him in the record books

"I look back at my career and I certainly didn't think it would have gone the way that it has. It's overwhelming when I hear things like that. I have a lot of gratitude to be with this program and play with coaches that are creative enough to give me the opportunity. It is really a whole lot of gratitude."

On the touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson

"They zoned it off. We were trying to get (Khalen Saunders) in the flat. He was covered. We were trying to get Foster (Moreau) on the backside. He took two and Juwan (Johnson) was running free in the back of the end zone. It was just a progression-based play. It worked out."

On if he expected two defenders to be covering Saunders

"I don't know. He tracks a lot of eyes and a lot of attention. Even in the run game, they are worried about where he is because they don't want to get hit by him."

On Saunders' difference in energy when it's coming to him

"I don't know. We had a fair amount of stuff with him in this week. I think he was more concerned about where he was lining up. Are we shifting right now? What are we doing? He is a great teammate. The thing I love most about him is his energy. Anytime you get him in the huddle players feed off that. That was certainly the case."

On the creativity lately

"I feel like the first quarter of the season we have been so close. You look at a few drives and it was a penalty here killed the drive. I think what we have seen is that we have had penalty-free drives. We have had the ability to keep the chains moving. As you alluded to, it gives you a lot of confidence. As a play-caller, we also have a lot more opportunities to call more plays on the call sheet. The creativity that you are alluding to has always been there. We have been sustaining drives, which builds a lot of confidence. We have been a confident unit the last few weeks for sure."

On if he feels like this is his best season

"I don't know. Personally, I don't get caught up on what the stats are and what I'm doing. At the end of the day, we are just trying to win football games. We are trying to take advantage of every opportunity that I get and hopefully I can contribute to winning football games."

DEFENSIVE END Cameron Jordan

On how start number 200 felt

"Like I should have had three sacks and only left with one. There is always room for more. I think the way our DBs got greedy this game that there would be room for some left over. Demario Davis finished the game for us. I thought I was getting a sack. He got a sack and even better, he got a (forced) fumble. He sealed that. We love to see 56 in his super mode. He started off preaching saying that this game was necessary. He meant each and every word. That is how you come down with it. I have nothing but high praise the way our DBs decided to start jumping routes. Paulson (Adebo) was coming out like a thief in the night. That man was picking everything. It is impressive to see a defense go out and get a win like that after the first half. There was 14 points put up on us the first half and that's unlike us. I'm still upset about that part, but the second half was great."

On if he can categorize the slow start

"We emphasized fast start the whole week, so it couldn't have been what we preached. They were doing some unorthodox quicks that was working. We had the quarterback escape the pocket a couple of times. Those were probably their longest rushes of the game. That is something on the D-line that we put on us. We are emphasizing each and every day to eliminate that."

On Adebo's day

"I think he is a heck of an athlete. He decided to jump all these routes and be amazing today. He was everywhere. Our DB's did such a great job. A major shoutout to Paulson Adebo out of Stanford, which just doesn't feel right."

On the turnover ratio this season

"As long as it means equivalent to more wins. At the end of the day we are going to be judged by how many wins and not how many takeovers we have. So, if we have 75 sacks at the end of the season and we don't have enough wins to get to the playoffs, then what does it matter. If we have 45 interceptions and don't make the playoffs, then what does it matter. If we have three interceptions and we make the playoffs and have a chance to go to the Super Bowl, then that's all that matters. At the end of the day the way these guys are playing and how our defense showed up in the second half, then that is how you get a win."

On getting a sack with Matt Ryan in the building

"I started my day by hitting Matt (jokingly on the field pregame). I saw him on the sideline and gave him a quick pop. Just a little jolt. Just to say "Hey, I miss you" We went from there. Then I got a few pops on (Tyson) Bagent. We got a couple of hits on him early. We wanted to make him a pocket passer. It sort of stinks as a rusher because you are trying to hit this turn and throw yourself down and sort of play this game of don't let him escape the pocket. Then, he escapes the pocket and you get yelled at. It is what it is. That's a game that we were brought into. It wouldn't have changed with Justin Fields in there because we know that he is just as elusive of a runner. It is onward and upward."


On how it feels to have a specific role in the victory

"It feels great. I would not be able to do it without my teammates. Obviously, rush and coverage seems to go together. Everyone is saying great play, but the fact of the matter is our pass rushers are doing such a great job throughout the duration of the game making the quarterback uncomfortable."

On the interceptions

"I was just trying to read the quarterback's eyes. I was trying to be aggressive on the ball. We've been harping on trying to get takeaways."

On when he knows he has a shot at an interception

"I think just being a playmaker and reading the quarterback's eyes. I'm seeing when his hand comes off the ball and just trying to jump the route and make a play."

On the punchout

"It's also something we have been harping on. Coach has been harping on attacking the ball. We are just trying to see the ball and punching it so it will come out. I'm glad I was able to."

On if he tried to bait the quarterback

"I think it is just great play calls. The coaches are just putting us in the position to make plays. Depending on the down and distance, I feel like they had us in a good call. We just needed to execute our technique and make a play on the ball."

On building off this game

"You just try to take one game at a time. You just try to get locked in every single play. There are some things that I have to fix and there are some things that we have to fix as a defense. I think we just need to move forward and stay as focused as possible and let the good games carry over."

On if he feels locked in the last few weeks

"I try to be locked in every week. The results were good this week. Obviously, I need to go look at the film. Sometimes, it feels better than it is. Sometimes it feels worse than it is. I just try to have the same approach every week and try to put my best foot forward."

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