New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with New Orleans* Friday, November 3, 201*7
What's been your evaluation of Marcus Williams so far?
"I think Marcus Williams has done a really good job for us. I think he has grown a lot from where he started at, to where he's at right now just in terms of his communication in terms of his awareness of what's going on around him and his ability to orchestrate the backend of the defense and make sure we're all in the proper call and doing the right things. I think he's done a really nice job for us. I am really pleased with where he is at."
What kind of benefit is it having a guy like Kenny Vaccaro who is larger and can cover the slot?
"I think with all of these guys it's our job as coaches to identify the things that they do well and try to put them in those positons as much as we can. Obviously Kenny (Vaccaro) is a guy that is best when he's closer to the ball. He does have the athleticism to cover wide receivers in man to man coverage, as well as playing some of the low zone stuff that we ask him to do and does a good job in run support. I think that's always the key is, look he's a talented player and how do we put him in positions that we feel accentuates the things that he does really well and maybe limit some of the things that he may not do as well."
What's the challenge now facing an offense with an explosive passing game like the Buccaneers?
"I think this is a really explosive offense that we are facing this week. I think they have talented receivers and top tight ends that have the ability to get vertical down the field and catch the football. I think the quarterback plays really well and he has the ability to extend plays and create things off of rhythm. It's obviously a huge challenge for us, specifically for our backend guys of making sure we understand the types of routes we're going to get and the types of plays that we're going to see. I think this is probably going to be the best offense we've faced in a while and it'll be a good challenge for us."
Why did you use the five lineman package against the Bears last week?
"One of the things is we felt like it was going to be more of a run-heavy team that we were facing last week and we thought being able to get the extra defensive line player down there to hopefully help stop the run would benefit us in the game. Every week we're going to go in and start on Mondays and try to get a feel for the team that we're playing and then we'll try to put a gameplan together and utilize everybody that we can utilize to try and stop the opponent and last week we felt like that was something that would be beneficial to us."
Does that package affect the opponent mentally, since you are daring them to pass more than run?
"I think it's a little bit of both, I think anytime you can throw a new little wrinkle at the offense without being too complicated for yourself, I think it makes them work on Sundays and there is no magical defense that you can throw out there that's like oh my gosh, there's no way we understand how to operate against this. It's just you're trying to always create stress on the offense whether it be with the personnel package, whether it be with a certain coverage or maybe a certain type of pressure."
Can you estimate how many times you used five defensive lineman last week?
"I wouldn't be able to give you that answer off the top of my head, but I'd say at least a dozen or more snaps in the game that we used that package."
Does your mind wonder to the draft, how everything fell in line for you to draft Marshon Lattimore?
"Quite honestly, I don't really think about that process as much as I'm constantly focused on how we are going to continue to get this guy better and how are we going to continue to improve as a defense. I'm obviously happy that things happened the way that they did and we were able to get the players that we drafted, because I think all the players that we drafted on the defensive side of the ball will be productive players for us, not only now, but in the future. We don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about why things happened the way they did, we just take the tools that we have available to us and try to do the best that we can. I think our guys have done a pretty good job of coming in getting themselves ready to play and being productive."
How has Delvin Breaux looked this last week?
"I think Delvin's done a good job, I think he's continuing to work himself into shape and getting ready to go. Obviously, that process is kind of an ongoing process and Coach Payton always evaluates that and when he feels like it's time for him to go then we'll have him ready to roll. It was good to get him out this week."
How tough is it to compare a guy's practice ability when other guys have shown game ability?
"Obviously practice is not the game, we certainly don't want to do anything that disrupts what we've been able to do over the last five weeks of the season and we feel comfortable with where we are at, yet at the same time you can never have enough good players. We are constantly trying to improve our defense and look we have young guys that are out here on the practice squad, we have guys that maybe have been active, but we're in the process and the business of player development. We are continuing to develop all the football players on the team, all 63, when you count the 53 active roster guys and the 10 practice squad players, actually 11 this year with Alex's (Jenkins) addition."
How have you seen Craig Robertson step up since Alex Anzalone went down?
"Craig has been the type of guy that we have always expected Craig to be. Craig just like he did last year when he was called upon to step in and play and be a starter for us, he prepares himself extremely hard. It's very, very important to him, he's trying to do everything to help this football team win and that's just the type of guy he is, the unselfishness that he has. Would he have wanted to be the starter the whole time? I'm sure he did, but he understood what his role was and he accepted his role and did the best that he could when he was asked to primarily a special teams player and then when he's called upon he's come in and done a good job and in our league this is a backup players league and guys have to be able to step in when others go down and perform at the same or higher level. I think that's what's Craig's done."