New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, December 29, 2017
What do the stats not show about the season Sheldon Rankins is having?"He is having a great year for us. He has been very disruptive inside. You do not always receive credit when you create disruption which allows other people to make plays. His versatility of being able to play inside and play outside, intelligence of knowing exactly what to expect, helping us to get thing set up on the defensive line, as far as some different things that we're trying to do upfront, has been really good for us. Quite honestly, we don't pay a whole lot of attention to what the stats would say. We really pay attention to what we see on the tape and what we see on the tape is a productive player that helps us do a lot of things."
*What are you personally most proud of the defense for this year?
*"I think the biggest things is these guys come in and work and compete every day. That's really what you're looking for. These guys come out and compete on a day-in and day-out basis. They do a great job of getting themselves prepared. I think our assistant coaches have done an outstanding job of helping those guys get prepared. Really since week two, just the consistency with which they've played and the ability to fight through different adversity with injuries and things of that nature. They just keep coming to work every day and playing hard."
*How tough has it been to modify the defense throughout the season as all of these injuries have piled up?
*"I think everybody in the National Football League deals with those types of issues and the teams that are best able to deal with those are usually the ones that are successful. It's a challenge, but it's something that everybody has to deal with. I think it's a credit, again, to the players and the assistant coaches of getting ready to play every week."
*How would you evaluate yourself and the coaching job you've done this year?
*"Quite honestly, I do not get into that. I just worry about trying to do the best I can to get these guys prepared, try to put a good gameplan together, and give them a chance to go out there, and execute it, and be successful. Make no mistake about it, this is a player's game. Players go out and play, and players go out there and make plays. The success that comes our way is really due to these assistant coaches and really due to the way these players have gone out there and performed."
How much has Cameron Jordan*'s continual improvement helped with this defensive turnaround?
*"It's huge. This is a player's game, and you need guys to go out there and make plays, and Cam has done an excellent job at doing that this year. I'm glad to see he is getting some of the recognition that he deserves because at least the last three years since I've been here, he's been a really productive player and a defensive force for us. I think he's seeing some of the fruits of that labor and the fact that he has some guys around him that are producing at a good rate allows him to get a little bit more recognition."
The linebacker corps has really rallied with A.J. Klein *out, how much of that is attributed to the job that Mike Nolan has done and how much would you say his contributions are kind of underrated outside of the building? *"First of all, I would say not just our pro scouting staff, but our college scouting staff, have done a great job of acquiring players that fit into the system we want to run. I think our assistant coaches, Mike being one of them, I think they've done a really good job of coaching these guys up. We've taken some guys that may not be household names, but yet they're just good, solid, productive football players and they've performed at a good level for us."
When considering what Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, and Trey Hendrickson *have all accomplished during their rookie years, when did you know that you had something special with those guys? *"Really it was pretty early. In the draft process, when you are watching these guys, we felt really good about them. You get them into rookie minicamp, go through OTAs, and go through that process, it was early on in that process that we knew those guys were going to be good football players. The question, which it always is with rookie players, is 'how quickly will they pick up on the NFL brand of football?', 'how quickly will they pick up on the scheme?' To those guys' credit, they have done on a really good job of picking up on the scheme and getting adjusted to what it takes to win in the National Football League. Those guys have done a nice job of doing that."
*Specific to Marcus (Williams) and Marshon (Lattimore), how closely do they work together on and off the field? *"I am not down there with them all the time, but obviously, they do a good job of working together. I think that's really one of the things about our group is that our group has become really close as a whole defense. Each individual position group is extremely tight, but then as a defense, those guys are family. The best teams usually have that environment so that's been good to see.
*Marshon (Lattimore) has gotten a lot of the attention with all the awards, but how big have Marcus Williams' contributions been to the defense this year?
*"I think anytime you have the success that we've had as a team, there is a lot of guys that have done a good job. Marcus is one of those guys. I think there are a lot of guys playing well in the backend of the defense in our secondary. Ken Crawley is another one of those younger guys, P.J. Williams, Vonn Bell. This is a team game. You win as a team, you lose as a team, and our record speaks for itself. Obviously, there have been a lot of guys who have played well for us this year."
*A lot of the second-year players, like Sheldon Rankins, Davis Onyemata, and Vonn Bell have been giving you guys really consistent play. What does that say about that group of young players? *"Again, it starts with the talent acquisition. Our personnel department in both college and pro, I think have done an outstanding job over the last couple years of finding talent and finding guys that fit into the things we want to do schematically. That is the first step in the process. When you clearly identify guys that have the traits that you're looking for, both from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint, it gives you a chance to develop those guys and for those guys to be successful. There's a lot of hard work that comes with that. Those guys are extremely hard workers, their diligent at their craft, and I think their performance has shown."
New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
*Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, December 29, 2017*
Mark Ingram is having an impressive season, what has that meant to the offense with the numbers he has been able to put up?"I think clearly it's meant to the team, but the credit goes to not only Mark, but to the offensive line, the tight ends blocking for him on the perimeter, and obviously, Joel Thomas has done a great job with him. Mark is having a special year. He works hard, he prepares, I'm really proud of him."
Why do you think Drew Brees *is so accurate? *"It's the quality that he has, but he also has great feet in the pocket, he's smart, he prepares, I think he is able to visualize where he wants to put all those throws. He just works so diligently and I think part of that is the natural talent that he has, but a lot of that is also preparation."
*How does his accuracy impact the play calling?
*"I think you feel confident anytime you're calling a pass play with him, but obviously, he's been that way for years. When you ask that question, you feel confident calling those plays because you know he has the ability to make them work."
After watching Alvin Kamara *all year, which of attributes remind you of any former Saints running backs? *"I think they've been unique throughout the years. One thing about Alvin is you're very comfortable with him throwing the football and running the football so for us that has been a benefit, but to compare him to anyone I don't really want to do that. I would just say he has his own unique skillset and we're happy to have him."
The average fan who might not fully grasp what it takes to go from right tackle to left tackle, what in your opinion is the hardest adjustment Ryan Ramczyk has had to make?"I think first, again, credit Dan Roushar for working with him. He's had the ability to come into training camp and the whole offseason spend some time on both sides. Individually, he might have some things in his mind that are different. Obviously, his stance is different from one side to the other, but again, you watch the games and he is playing well wherever we put him."
What is the biggest difference you see in Michael Thomas *from his rookie season to this year? *"I think just his overall experience, whereas maybe in year one, you're learning the offense, but you're (also) learning your position. Now being able to grasp the whole concept and maybe not just your individual route. The ability to move him around and do more things with him. Obviously, another year in the system has been good for him."