New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
2017 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Monday, August 7, 2017
"We had another pretty good practice today. It's all about competition. I think our guys are out there competing, and it's good to see some of these young guys making plays."
How encouraged are you by the cornerback position as a whole?
"I think I've obviously seen progress from where we were at this point last year to where we are right now. I'm really anxious to get in game situations and see how these guys respond under the lights. I think there's been progress, yet I think we have to temper our emotions a little bit and wait and see how we perform under the lights."
How much do you weigh the preseason games just in general for evaluation?
"It's the most important thing. That's what we do. We go out and play games. I would say it's important for all these guys to go out and perform in the preseason games."
How much easier is it for you, without Marshon Lattimore on the field and the cornerbacks who have been in this system before? Is it easier for them to adjust, or is it easier for you to adjust what you want them to do without Lattimore on the field right now?
"I think, obviously, when you have a familiarity with your players that helps you. There is obviously a learning process that these guys have to learn about how I call a game and how I respond in different situations and I need to do the same with them. It's always a constantly changing process. A lot of times you go into a game, and you have a certain game plan. If things work well, you keep doing the things that you're doing, and if they're not, then you have to make adjustments."
Has Kenny Vaccaro*'s experience helped with angles and him rushing the passer?*
"I think that really gets back to what your guys do well. I think that's one of the things Kenny does well. I think he's a good pressure player. We're able to find opportunities where we can send him on a rush because he's a fast and explosive player, and he'll go back there with a reckless disregard for his body. That's a good thing. I think his experience helps him in that regard, but I think more than anything his mindset and the type player he is allow him to be successful in those situations."
What has your impression of Alex Anzalone been so far?
"I think Alex is really smart, I think he's an instinctive player and has good coverage skills as a linebacker. I like his length as a linebacker because a lot times you'll see these guys in contested situations down the field, but yet, with a lack of length it's hard to make the play at the end of the day. I'd say he's a little bit further along in pass coverage and he still has some things to improve in the run game, but I like his progress so far."
What about Mitchell Loewen*? How encouraged are you by him and what have you seen from him?*
"I'm encouraged. He is a guy that we brought in last year as an undrafted free agent. We liked some of the things we'd seen out of him. He had a little bit of an injury history. He came in with a foot issue and wasn't able to really compete with us last year. It has been nice to have him out here. We've worked him at defensive end a little bit. We have moved him a little bit more inside to defensive tackle. I think, again, he has some of that length that helps you as an interior rusher. I think run-game wise is where he needs to bulk up and play in the inside, but I think there's been some good things from him."
Through 11 practices in Training Camp, where would you say the defense is compared to last year?
"Last year's so far removed from where I am as far as my mindset's concerned. It would be hard to compare. I think with each season, you start over and you build the right mindset for your team. I do like the progress that we're making right now. I still think we've got a long way to go. The most impressive thing right now is that our guys are coming out and competing everyday, and if you do that, especially versus our offense, you're going to do nothing but improve."
With guys being banged up, is it nice to have guys like Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris who have been in the system?
"Yes, because that is how this league works. It is a next man up philosophy. Obviously, you don't want guys missing time, yet the next guy has to step in and do the job and perform at the same or higher level of who he is replacing. We don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about that. We just come out here and we have a job to do, so we come out here and compete and do our job."
De'Vante Harris was quick to give the defensive line credit for his interception and pass breakups today. Was he being magnanimous or is he on to something?
"It works together. That's why you have 11 guys on the team. Our coverage guys have to give our rushers an opportunity to get there and then, when they do, our rushers have to affect the quarterback. I think we've done a better job of that. It was, obviously, a point of emphasis this year and I think we have done a better job of that up to this point in camp."