New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 10, 2017
Buffalo's defense, how similar does it look to what they were running in Carolina when (Sean) McDermott was there?
"I would say that there are some similarities, some differences. But the one thing you see is a disciplined, well-coached football team. They're tough. They're physical. I would say they're opportunistic. They've created a lot of fumbles just really looking at the stats of how many fumbles they've caused and the secondary has gotten their hands on a lot of balls."
Have you ever had an offensive line that's proven to be this versatile?
"I don't think where it's been this year, I don't think that situation (has ever occurred) for me and my career. I think that Dan Roushar has done a great job with these guys. Credit to those guys as well being able to play multiple positions and do it well."
What are some of the things Coach Roushar does to prepare those guys for all the possibilities?
"I think it starts back in the offseason where he's thinking ahead and guys are moving around, getting reps in different spots. He doesn't leave a detail out. He makes sure he covers all his bases and the players have a lot of respect for him."
How much growth have you seen out of Andrus Peat, just the ability to play both those positions and how important has he been to the offense?
"He's playing a couple of those positions and he's been playing them both well. I think just experience has been beneficial for him."
Everyone's talked about the run-pass splits, even though Drew (Brees) isn't passing as much his numbers have been impressive. What has stood out to you about his game so far this year?
"I think he is just playing really smart. He is taking the shots if they are there. Otherwise he's checking them down. We have a good balance and some of that could be game situation where you're up a couple of scores or you're having success from (running) the ball. But he's playing at a high level this year."
Is any of that smart play by design by the team or is that just him being a mature, experienced quarterback?
"I think it's a lot of things. His preparation, he's making good decisions and he's playing winning football."
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
What do you think Vonn Bell has added to the defense this year?
"I think Vonn has done a nice job. He is in year two within the system and every practice, every play, every game he gets a better understanding of the think we are asking him to do. He's done a nice job of playing multiple roles within the defense and he's performed well. I thought last week was probably the best that he's played since he's been here. It was certainly a really good step in the right direction."
What was so good about his performance last week?
"He was active around the ball, he had pressure on the quarterback, he caused a fumble and broke a pass up. So in all aspects of the game I thought he had a positive impact and a positive effect on the game."
To start the season he didn't have as big of a role as he did last year but obviously that's changed since then. How is he able to work his way back on the field more?
"He's been productive. I think that's the biggest thing. I think when guys produce then you find ways to get them on the field and keep them on the field. Also I think early in the year we're trying to figure out exactly what we have, who can play what positions, what we're able to accomplish. I think we've been able to kind of settle in a little bit as to really having a good understanding of what guys can do well and trying to put those guys in those type of positions."
You guys had moments last year in games where the defense looked real good but you weren't able to string them all together, what's been the difference with this defense?
"I think probably the biggest thing is we've been able to have a little bit more consistency with the defense. Last year I felt like we had a lot of injuries which contributed to our inconsistencies. I think it's a tribute to our players and the work ethic that they have. The way they prepare themselves on a week-to-week basis, not just the starters but all the players. As well as, I think this assistant coaching staff, the staff that Sean's (Payton) put together on the defensive side of the ball, I think these guys do a tremendous job of coaching and teaching and giving these guys the things they need to go out and have success on Sundays."
Is where you guys are now, is that what you envisioned for this defense? Did you see that in the summer?
"Well you're never a finished product. I don't really look at and say this is where I want us to be. I just want us to continue to work on a week-in, week-out basis and continue to get better and I think the results take care of themselves. We're more interested in the process and continue to improve and continuing to get better. I think as long as our guys buy into that system, which they have wholeheartedly, then I think we will continue to see some positive results."
How hard is to keep yourself in the moment and not project in general?
"I think that is just kind of your philosophy and that is our mindset and what we do. We don't really talk a whole lot about what the results are. We really talk about what the process is, how we have to prepare, how we have to stay focused on a week in and week out basis. When you start worrying about things that you don't necessarily control. What you can control is how you work, how you get ready for a game and then go out there on Sundays and give it everything you've got and hopefully that work throughout the week has allowed you to be in position to play well and have positive results."
How has Alex Okafor been compared to your expectations when you signed him?
"I think Alex has been a valuable piece to our defense. He has been very consistent in his play. We knew Alex was a good football player. One of the things that held him back a little bit in Arizona was just the injury aspect, moreso than his ability to play. We felt like we were going to be getting a good player and obviously he's producing some positive play for us and has helped us as a defense."
Obviously he had the injuries in Arizona but do you think it helps at all that he's playing more of that 4-3 defensive end that he played at Texas now?
"I can't really speak on how he was used in Arizona and the things that they asked him to do. I know the things that we would like to be able to do as a defense and how we would like to be able to play. I think he's a nice fit for us and he is a versatile player. We've asked him to do a lot of different things. You've seen him play inside as a defensive tackle. You've seen him stand up kind of in an outside linebacker role. You have also seen him play a true, kind of your traditional 4-3 defensive end. I think when you have players like that, that are real pros, they understand what their job is, they know exactly where they are as a player and they take on whatever role you ask them to do and to the best of their ability and I think that's why he's been successful."
Does anything change in the preparation for a cold weather game?
"No not really. I look at that as another variable that we don't control. What we do control is how we work, how we prepare, (and) how we get ready to play the game. Whether it's the opponent, whether it's weather or any of those other things, if you start focusing on that you're just allowing yourself to be distracted from what's the main goal. And the main goal is how do we go out and play this week and what are the things we have to do to try to limit what Buffalo is able to do on offense."
Your head coaching experience in Oakland, how do you think that changed you as a coordinator?
"I don't know. I think I probably have a better understanding of all the things that Coach Payton has to deal with on an everyday basis. I try to do the best I can to be the best assistant coach I can for him. (I) Try to provide the things that he's looking for in a defensive coordinator and I think that's what all our assistant coaches are trying to do. We're trying to put a product on the field that represents Coach Payton, the New Orleans Saints, Mickey Loomis, Tom Benson, all those that are involved. We're just trying to put a product on the field that resembles something that they're looking for."
Is Sean a pretty easy coach to work with?
"He is. He's been great to me. I think I have a pretty great relationship with him. I think we have a mutual respect for each other and how we go about doing our business. If he wasn't I think it would be kind of hard for me to come back here, the place that I have a lot of comfort with a head coach and an organization that I have a lot of comfort with it kind of speaks for itself."
He had gone through three straight losing seasons and hadn't has as much on-field success recently, how have you seen him enjoying this season so far?
"I think everybody when you're winning, everything's just a little bit better. There's a little less stress in the building. It's just part of a byproduct of winning. That doesn't matter where you're at. That's part of the deal in the National Football League. Hopefully we can continue to play well. Hopefully we continue to win some game and keep this streak going a little bit."