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Quotes from Pete Carmichael and Dennis Allen's Friday conference call

Offensive and defensive coordinators speak to the media on Friday, Nov. 17

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichae
lConference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 17, 2017

When you're looking at that Washington defense, how much does Zach Brown show up?
"Obviously they have a very physical defense. They move around a lot and he's clearly one of the guys you seen making a ton of plays."

How tough is Ryan Kerrigan? What makes him good?
"He's playing at a high level right now. He plays with such great effort. He presents a challenge to you every snap."

How tough is it to watch that Vikings film seeing that they're being exploited but knowing that they can obviously play better. How do you figure that out?
"I think when you watch the film, the overall cutups that you're watching you see a very good defense so we know we have a big challenge cut out for us this week. You see them flying around. You see them get a handle on balls in the secondary. We expect their best."

Why do you think your team's screen game has been better this year?
"I think we've made an emphasis in the offseason to make sure we're paying particular attention to the details and what we're doing. We feel like we got some guys if you get the balls in their hand they're able to make some plays in space."

What role does the interior offensive line play in the success of that?
"You would say a ton because they're the guys getting out and leading the screen and they've done a good job timingwise, again that's something that we've made an emphasis on making sure everything is detailed out. The timing of when we're (delivering) the ball to the back. The O-line, the timing of them getting out and who they're going to. But they've done a great job for us."

What stood out about Larry Warford so far this season?
"He has been so consistent. He has a great attitude. He is smart. He knows what to do. He has great experience and he's played, in the pass game and the run game, he's played very well."

I think a lot of us were thinking Terron (Armstead) coming back was a big help, but with Larry coming back last week after missing a couple games that had to be a plus as well. With Larry back how much that has helped with this flourishing running game?
"I think anytime you have your guys (that's the best situation). We mixed some things around (and) have been versatile. It's nice to be a full strength. These guys, they're all playing at a high level right now, all across the board."

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 17, 2017

What have you thought about Marshon's (Lattimore) tackling abilities?
"I think he has done a good job in this area. I think he is a well-rounded football player. I think he's smart. I think he has really good athletic abilities. I think he's getting better in his zone coverage stuff and understanding how teams are attacking him in the zone coverage and stuff like that. I think he's a well-rounded player. I think we knew that coming out. That's one of the things we really liked about him was that he was a physical corner and did like to come up and tackle. I think that's why he is where he's at right now."

How much does trusting him to make those plays allow you to do some other things with the scheme?
"I think the more good players you have on the football field allows you to do more. This is a player's game, always has been and always will be. I think him along with a lot of the other guys that we have that are versatile, that have a lot of things that they can do well gives us a little bit more flexibility as to the things we can do defensively."

I think I saw a stat that he hasn't missed a tackle this season. Is there any reason that you can think, that he is excelling so much at that area?
"Tackling is physical ability which he obviously has but the bigger part of tackling is willingness and want to. If you want to get the guy down on the ground you find a way to get it done provided that you have the athletic ability to do that and he certainly has both of those aspects."

The last time you played Washington I'm sure you remember in 2015 what happened afterwards, can you recall trying to catalog in your mind what exactly you thought had to change and how long you thought it might take to get this defense where you wanted it?
"No not really. We have always around here taken a day-to-day approach. We really do not try to project how long things are going to take to do something or what is going to happen in the future. It is really more about what is going to happen in the here and now. And obviously one of the aspects with any team, defense is you have to find out how not to beat yourself before you can find out how to win. I think defensively what we have tried to do is really focus in on making sure our guys know what to do and if they can execute their jobs properly. The communication that goes along with that. The discipline that goes along with that. I think that's with any team, with any defense, with any offense. The first thing is guys really have to understand what to do and how to do it and then go out there and execute it. Even more so than the physical ability to play the game."

Usually when there is an adjustment in coaching there is an adjustment on personnel too and you have to find the right guys to play the way you want to play. You've had two free agencies this season and two drafts. How do you feel about after those opportunities to have the progress that you've had?
"I think it all starts with building your culture, really establishing the way you want to go out and play the game, how you're going to go out and operate on a day-to-day basis, how we are going to go through our meetings, how we're going to practice. Really hone in on and grind away on how the guys are doing things exactly the way you want them to be done and that is the way you build your team. That is the way you become better. Things do not have overnight. They come through a process and it is repetitive in nature and you just have to keep doing them over and over and over and then eventually when you stick to it and believe in something then eventually you begin to see the results of that."

The stakes are rising and the defense is performing very well. Do you have a plan for dealing with the buzz that your name could very well cause in the head coaching circles?
"We are focused on the Washington Redskins and how we are going to win this game. That is the only thing that matters. It would be frivolous and pointless to worry about anything that can happen in the future. It is really about the here and now. Let's get this team ready to play as best we can. Let's make sure that we as coaches, players, everybody's focused on the task at hand and that's really how you have success in this league. If you worry about anything other than that that's when failure is sure to happen. Focus in on the here and now. Focus in on what you have to do to continue to get better and hopefully we'll continue to do that and we'll see positive results."

I know you've been through this process before and I'm sorry to belabor it, but the interviews tend to happen in the next few months, don't they?
"I have no idea. I really don't. Unless it has to do with Washington Redskins I really don't have any idea what's happening anywhere else."

What do you think about all of the celebrations that you guys are doing? Do you enjoy that? Do you encourage that?
"I think it's a byproduct of playing well and having success. This is a game that we play. It's a tough business that we are in so there is a lot at stake in this business. At the heart of it, this is a game and the game should be fun. When these guys grew up playing peewee football or whatever the case may be it was fun, that is why they did it. They enjoyed doing it. And you want to continue to be able to have that. The most important thing is that we go out and play well. If you play well and you're having fun and that's the byproduct of it, that's great."

Do you think, obviously when you're winning, you're having fun but do you think the inverse is true at all? That when you're having fun it can lead to winning just because of the chemistry?
"Absolutely. I think confidence breeds confidence. The more success you have, the better you feel about yourself, the better you have to go out and perform. I think that is what you see in a lot of teams that are good football teams, they play confidently. Now which one comes first, is it the confidence leads to you playing better or is it that you playing better leads to your confidence. I think those things work hand in hand together."

You have two key free agents, I guess three if you include Manti (Te'o). But you have two key starters with Alex (Okafor) and A.J. (Klein) that were free agents that you signed at a pretty reasonable rate. What do you remember about that process and maybe thinking that they could play at a higher level than what their price might have projected?
"I think what you're always looking for when you're going through that process is you're looking for guys that can fit into your culture, guys that can fit into the scheme and guys that can make you better. In free agency, I think some of the biggest mistakes in free agency are really the high priced free agents. I don't know that they always live up to those type of expectations. Some of the best free agent acquisitions are the ones that really just, there's something in there about them that they're really just good, solid quality football players and they fit within your scheme, they fit within your culture. I think both of those guys do that. I mean both of those guys are the type of guys we are looking for. They're tough, they are smart, and they love football and want to compete. As many guys that you can add to your team and have those qualities I think that's going to do nothing but benefit your team."

When you were here in '09 and even after that, I remember that back then the scouting people used to attend a lot of your meetings so they could get an idea of exactly what type of players you were looking for for the system. To what extent does that still happen and how has that played into the overhaul on defense the last couple of years?
"I think that's key. I think we still have a lot of communication between our scouting department and our coaching staff as to these are the type of players that we are looking for. These are the qualities that we're looking for in each position and then I think our scouts do any outstanding job of going out there and finding guys that fit within the scheme and within the system. We talk all the time here and there's great dialogue between the personnel department and the coaching staff as far as what's the vision for this player. When you really look and you find, when you hit on guys it's because us as a coaching staff as well as the personnel department there was a clear vision as to exactly what this player can bring to our football team whether it be athletically or whether it be with some of the intangibles. I think those are all key to having success."

Do you have any veto power over personnel on the defense when considering bringing someone in or how does that work?
"I think the process goes everybody has an opinion as to where they see certain players. But ultimately those decisions come down to Sean (Payton), Mickey (Loomis) and Jeff (Ireland) and those guys make the ultimate decision and that's the way it should be. They're the ultimate decisionmakers within this organization. We all have opinions and they do a great job of taking in the information and they make a decision that they think is best for this football team."

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