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Quotes from Dennis Allen and Pete Carmichael's conference call - Friday, October 26

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael spoke to the media following practice on Friday, October 26

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Friday, October 26, 2018

What do you think is behind some of these long drives that you've been able to have this season?
"I think that when you look at it we're making sure we have efficiency on first or second down, avoiding some of the negative plays and basically staying ahead of the chains, putting yourself in manageable third down situations or in some cases maybe avoiding a third down in a drive. Staying ahead of the chains is important for us." 

How do you explain Drew Brees' long run without an interception?
"I think that he's doing such a great job making decisions like he always has. He is finding the open receiver (and) is doing a great job in the pocket and give credit to our offensive (line) players as well. We're blocking well up front for him so there is a lot that goes into that." 

Has anything changed since last year that has made the offense and his performance more efficient?
"Statistically you'd look at it and say that and yet we've always felt like he's been a high performing, productive and efficient quarterback. I'm stating the obvious there. I just think right now he's performing at a high level. He's making great decisions, he's accurate and he just continues to play at a high level."

How would you describe the relationship between Drew Brees and Max Unger?
"They have a great relationship and I would say Drew has a great relationship with all those offensive lineman and I think that's important to coach (Payton) and the group and we have great great locker room, but I think the relationship they have is something special between the two of them."

Do the quarterback and center have a unique relationship?
"Yes, I think a lot of that goes into the fact that they communicate with each other a lot, just kind of how maybe what the gameplan (is) for the week, just kind of how we're handling some things and I think those are the two that communicate the most together when it comes to some of the things that happen on the field and you can see them communicating a lot during practice or prior practice and just making sure we're all on the same page."

Why do you think this offense has had so much success in the fourth quarter?
"I think that we've stayed ahead of the chains. (That's a) Credit to our players for staying the course and outlining the game plan, the (big) picture and then just letting the team stay the course and eventually this is going to happen."

What do you think of Zach Line taking a lessor role since his college days being in the record books given that he is up there in SMU record books with Eric Dickerson for the school's rushing records?
"First of all, I think he's playing at a higher level for us. You put on the film and whether it's a limited role or higher role, depends on maybe what the gameplan is (that week). But he knows what to do, he does it at a high level. He's very detailed with what his assignment is and he's always a team player, regardless of what his role might be, a big role for some games and reduced some games. He's a team player. I know when he's been out there he's been productive."

Is it concerning that the team hasn't had a lot of big gain running plays?
"I think that we played some talented defenses and we can't get tired of a four-yard run. A four-yard run is a good run and maybe we haven't had as many (bigger gains) as we had at this point last year. I just think that you also (have to) give credit to the defenses we're playing, but we're looking to just stay positive with those runs." 

What are some of the challenges getting Taysom Hill prepared every week?
"I think the one thing is he's a smart football player. He spends a lot of time studying and it's not just when he's in the building, he's always preparing and he's around a great one in Drew (Brees) and the whole dynamic of that room. Those guys are always working and so he's always studying what his role is going to be for the game. I think he does a great job in preparation."

How much do you think Sean Payton has taken advantage of the rule changes that favor the offense in today's game?
"I think that we have our base on offense and that gets repped year in and year out for us now. It's just kind of an easy transition for us, but we're not afraid to spend time and find who's been successful, who are the top five teams in third down this year and taking the time to study and see what they are doing and see if you can find some new ideas and stuff that fits your personnel in your scheme and being willing to use those ideas as well and kind of build on them."

What you've seen from afar from Sean McVay, does that remind you watching Sean Payton come up as a head coach?
"I don't really know right now again how much focus (I've put on this week's opponent the Vikings). I think maybe I'll have a better feel next week, but obviously next week we (offensive staff) will be looking at the Rams defense, not the offense. But again some of their ideas in the offseason, we spent some time looking at and (they are) doing some really good stuff that, like I said, that we maybe are using now or might use in the future. But obviously they're having a lot of success and doing a great job there."

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Friday, October 26, 2018

What attracted you guys to Eli Apple?
"Well look, first of all he was a guy that we evaluated coming out of college and we really liked him coming out of college. Liked his size, liked this length, liked his athleticism and his ability to play press-man coverage. I think one of the things we've seen and we saw on the tape in New York is he's better in off coverage than what we might have originally thought. I think he's a talented player. Obviously, he was taken 10th overall on the draft and felt like this is a guy that could come in and help us."

Is it unreasonable to expect him to be up to speed by this weekend?
"Well look, I'd say this, he's had a good week of preparation. We've prepared him to be able to play if he's called upon to do so. And I'm sure that we will sit down as a staff with Coach Payton and make a decision as to if and how much he would play in the game."  

You guys talked a little bit earlier this year about some of the communication issues with the new guys and him being the new guy, is some of that mitigated having that he played with (Marshon) Lattimore and Vonn (Bell) in college?
"Well, certainly we felt like this was a good environment for him and the fact that you know we had a lot of Ohio State players on our football team. So I thought that was a good fit for him coming in where he'd be comfortable coming into this situation. I think this week in practice, the communication has been good and I think the preparation has been good." 

I think I've heard a few analysts say he fits what you guys like to do or what you as a coordinator like to do being a physical press corner who maybe you feel comfortable blitzing with him on the outside. Is that accurate. Is that your type?
"Look, certainly we have in the past been a pretty aggressive team and played some man-to-man coverage and it probably hadn't done as much of that this year, but he certainly has the skillset that we like. Like I said, he was one of our top rated corners the year he came out in the draft so obviously that's something that you know from an evaluation standpoint we felt good about."

Are there certain traits that tend to be common among Ohio State defensive backs since you have four of them?
"The number one thing I would say first off is everybody that we've gotten from Ohio State has been a top notch athlete. Especially our young guys that we have. So the one thing that you're intrigued by with those guys number one is their athleticism. The other thing is you know those guys have played in big time environments and so you know the National Football League is not intimidating to them. I think they get accustomed pretty quick to how things operate in our league. And the other thing I would say is, look these guys have been accustomed to winning and so they understand what it takes to win and compete at the highest level."

Are you guys blitzing less than you did in years past?
"I would say that we probably had not pressured as much as we have in certain years. Sometimes your opponent has a lot to do with that and sometimes where you're at as a football team has a lot to do with that. I think every week we kind of go into each game plan with a different thought process in mind and try to put our guys in the best position for them to have success. One of the things that I would say that we've been able to do over the last few weeks is we've done a lot better job of limiting the explosive plays down the field. Therefore, we've been able to keep the score down. Some of the takeaway opportunities have begun to increase a little bit. And certainly that's imperative that we're able to continue to do that."

One of the things I saw some people talking about this week was that they said 25 percent of the defensive plays last week that you guys only rushed two or three guys. What kind of goes into that decision and what do you get by dropping more guys into coverage?
"I think a lot of it has to do with how teams are trying to attack you. And when teams are getting a lot of guys out in the route and there are a lot of short routes you know it does not provide the opportunity really to get to the quarterback as much and so having some extra guys back in coverage and players in throwing windows can be beneficial. I think it's a mix. I certainly don't think that's something that you want to make a living doing. But I think that's something that you can mix in and give the offense a different look."  

I know you guys have moved on from the playoff game in Minnesota, but how long did you spend dissecting, what else you could have done, or dwelling on that play? As a coach, how long did it take you to watch that?
"I think the first thing you always do after every game, as a coach, the first thing you look at is hey look what could I have done differently in any situation regardless. Because my job is to put our guys in the best possible position to have success. I don't look at that any differently than I do any other game. You look at it, you evaluate it and then you make the corrections and you move on."

Is there anything you would have done differently in hindsight?
"Well, certainly there's things that I would have done, but I'm not going to divulge any information to anybody right now (laughter)."

You have to take your shots (laughter)?
"I appreciate the question though."

We've obviously asked a lot of players on the team about going back. Is there a familiar feeling, especially since it's your third visit there and you still haven't knocked these guys off yet or you're really able to say I'm just looking at the 2018 Vikings offense?
"Look, we're looking at 2018 Minnesota Vikings. It's a different team. They've got some different personnel. They've got a different coordinator. So we're looking forward to the opportunity to go and play a conference game against a really good football team and see how we stack up and try to get a win."

Can Eli Apple play off the left side?
"That's where he's spent a lot of time playing over on the left hand side. A lot of tape I saw him in New York he was over there on that side. Certainly I don't see any challenge."

Could he move on both sides like Marshon Lattimore can?
"Yeah I think that's depending on what the gameplan is. But I think people make, well I don't know if they do or not, but I don't look at that as a big deal. I think when you go inside in the slot that's a little bit different. There's some different things that you have to deal with inside in the slot. But whether you're playing right corner, left corner. I don't really look at that as a big challenge." 

How tough is this matchup against their two receivers?
"I think they're really good. I think (Stefon) Diggs is a really good route runner. I think he's got exceptional explosiveness off the ball and he is really good in run after the catch situations. I think (Adam) Thielen is one of those guys that is a really smart football player. He has got great savviness, he understands how to set up a route in man coverage. He knows how to find the holes in the zone and then he catches everything that's thrown to him. Certainly those two guys present some real challenges for us."

Do you think Adam Thielen in the slot causes more problems for the defense?
"I'm sure they look at it the same way that we do. I'm sure they're looking at, look how can we get our guys in a position that we think we're going to get a favorable matchup and then I think we always look at, ok how do we (line up) when they do these things (and) how do we make sure that we're doing something from a matchup standpoint or a scheme standpoint that allows us to combat that." 

Did you talk to Ken Crawley at all after the trade was made?
"Certainly Aaron Glenn has talked to him in terms of what we're doing and where we're at with that and I think Crawley understands how this league works. I'm hoping that he uses this as motivation and continues to work to get better and I think he's done a better job of that over the last two or three weeks. I think he had a tough start to the season, but he's played a lot better since then."

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