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New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers postgame quotes: Dennis Allen, Taysom Hill, Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, C.J. Gardner-Johnson | 2021 NFL Week 15

Saints interim head coach and players speak following the Week 15 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Opening Statement:
"Obviously a big win for us. I thought our guys went out and played extremely hard. We said going into this game that we had to play with a great effort and a great energy against a really good football team. I think we did that. We protected the football. We did a pretty good job in terms of playing the field position game. And I thought, defensively, I thought we were really good."

On what sort of advantage it gives the Saints defense when Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport line up on the same side:
"Well, you're just trying to see what they're going to do in terms of the protection, and hopefully you can create some one-on-ones and do some things like that. Look, this wasn't about scheme, this was about our guys going out and executing and our guys playing really hard against a really good football team."

On it appearing that Cameron Jordan missed being on the football field and looking rejuvenated:
"Yeah he looked good. We've been saying for a while that we've got to try to limit some of those snaps for Cam and he kind of took care of that for us. So he looked fresh out there and did a really nice job."

On the keys to success his defense has had against Tom Brady:
"Well, I don't want to talk about all those things because then we're giving them a leg up a little bit. Look, we just got to go out and execute our job and we did that. Certainly they had some injuries in the game, which I think helped us. Our guys went out – there was a game plan we had in place and our guys went out and executed that game plan."

On Cameron Jordan reaching 100 sacks for his career and how impressive the effort is at this stage in his career:
"Sacks are hard to come by, and certainly Cam has been one of the better ones in our league for a long time at being able to get pressure on the quarterback. So, I just can't say enough about what he means to our team, the defense, the team in general, our organization, the way he represents himself both on and off the football field. Class guy – I've been fortunate enough to be around him and coach him. He's just a hell of a player."

On how rare it is to get a rush on Buccaneers QB Tom Brady with just the front four:
"Yeah I think that's big. I think that's big. I think he (Brady) does a really good job of recognizing the coverages and knows when you're sending a five-man pressure, he knows where to go with the ball. So, I think it's hard to get to him at times doing that. So, if you're able to rush him with four, I think that's when most teams have been successful."

On Saints WR Marquez Callaway having a successful first quarter:
"Yeah I think that was huge to be able to get a few explosive plays early in the game to set us up in position to score some points. Obviously, we would have liked to have come away with touchdowns and not field goals in those situations. But we were able to come away with points and the way this game ended up playing out, it was more about protecting the football and playing the field position game because we felt pretty good about where we were defensively and how we were playing."

On how it felt to be in a head coaching role again:
"Look, I relish that opportunity. Certainly, I really appreciate everything that Sean Payton has meant to me and my coaching career. So, for him to ask me to step in for him in this circumstance I appreciate the fact that he had the faith and the trust in me to lead this team. I really appreciate all the players and the assistant coaches and the way that they just hung together and fought and scratched and clawed for each other so that we could come away with this win. I think anytime you win in this league I think it's a great feeling, and certainly in these circumstances, it feels good to win."

On if the win felt like a total team effort:
"Yeah, no question. Look, as it is all of the time in this league, it's a total team effort. I thought our guys did a hell of a job of coming together. I thought coaching staff did a great job of understanding what we had to do to be able to win this game. I thought (Offensive Coordinator) Pete (Carmichael) knew what we needed to do, did a good job of handling the game plan, did a good job of protecting the football. I think (Special Teams Coordinator) Darren Rizzi did a hell of a job with the special teams. He does a great job with some of the game management stuff, he was in my ear all game long. It just was a total, collective team effort. And look, that comes from the way that our head coach has prepared us. He does a great job of leading us. So we knew exactly what was expected of us – coaches, players, everybody – and we just went out and did our job, just like we would have if he were standing on the sideline."

On whether or not he heard from Sean Payton after the game, and if he gave him any directives leading up to the game:
"Obviously I'll keep those conversations that he and I had privately in terms of exactly what it was. He told me what he wanted and then kind of let me go do it. I think he didn't want to try to have me thinking about too many things and just try to go out there and manage the team and run the team. We'll kind of keep those conversations private. Again like I said, the fact that he had enough faith in me to step into his spot means a lot to me. I'm just appreciative of all the guys that are in that locker room because none of this was possible without what they did."

On whether or not he wrestled with the fourth down and two yards to go decision early in the game:
"Yeah we kind of talked about it a little bit and thought with the way that we were in the game and the point in the game that it was, we felt like taking the points at that time was probably the right thing. We thought we might try and see if we couldn't draw them offsides and get a free first down. We didn't and so we went ahead and took the points there."

On how he felt about the delegation of duties amongst the coaching staff:
"I thought the players and the coaches handled it outstanding. Just specifically in terms of the defense with me handling a lot more of the game management stuff, those guys – (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line) Ryan (Nielsen), (Secondary Coach) Kris (Richard), (Linebackers Coach) Mike Hodges, (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Cory Robinson, (Senior Defensive Assistant Coach) Peter Giunta – all those guys just did an amazing job of keeping those defensive guys on point of exactly what we were trying to do on making the adjustments where I could kind of focus a little more on what we were doing head coaching-wise. I thought again Darren Rizzi was instrumental in some of the game management decisions. It was just a collective effort by everybody. This wasn't in any way a one-man show, this was an organization that came together and won a game."

On how impactful it was having a healthy Marcus Davenport on the defensive line:
"I think Marcus has probably been one of our, if not the most, disruptive player that we've had when he's been healthy and when he's been out there. It means a lot to have him out there and I think the other players around him benefit from having his athleticism and his ability to disrupt the offense out there with him"


On WR Marquez Callaway:
"Marquez is great. We gave him some opportunities to make plays, and he did. Obviously, two that come to mind that lead to field goals, which obviously became huge in this game. 'Quez' is a guy that I've had a lot of trust in since day one in training camp. He had some opportunities to make some plays tonight, and he did."

On playing without Head Coach Sean Payton:
"Obviously, it's tough. You mentioned we had injuries up front and all over our team. Really, the thing that has been constant this year has been our [coaching] staff. Sean has been a great leader for us for a very long time here. So, that was tough to lose Sean [Payton]. He called me, I guess it was Friday night, quoting P.T. Barnum. He said, 'The show must go on.' I think it created great opportunities for [Offensive Coordinator] Pete [Carmichael] to step up and call the game, and [Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator] [Dennis] Allen to step in and fill that role. Those guys were locked, loaded, and ready to go."

On if there was a change in offensive game plan without Head Coach Sean Payton:
"Honestly, I didn't feel like it changed all that much. I spent a lot of time with Pete [Carmichael] in meetings, so the comfort level with him calling games was really high. He's called games in preseason games that I've played in, so this wasn't the first time hearing his voice in the headset. Pete sits in all of our meetings rooms, so there is an open dialogue there. I felt like there was a pretty smooth transition there, and I felt like D.A. (Dennis Allen) stepped in and did a great job to lead the team. He made the right calls at the right time, in terms of the situation. I know [Darren] Rizzi stepped in, as well. He was really tuned in to the situations, and we managed all of those really well."

On the play of his defense:
"You can't say enough about what they did, to pitch a shutout like that against a [Tom] Brady-led offense is incredible. So, I can't say enough good things. I think part of our play calling and all that was reflective of how well they were playing and how much confidence we had in them. They played incredibly well."

On the tension of playing in a tightly-contested, divisional game:
"Again, I think the play-calling was reflective of how well our defense was playing. We didn't want to do anything careless to give them a short field. But, we knew that the field goal late in the second half was big to make it a two-possession game. Look, I think we felt offensively that if we did our assignments, didn't turn the ball over and made them go a long way, that our defense was going to give us an opportunity to win. That's the way the game went."

On mindset of team after last two wins:
"We are aware of the situation. We are 7-7 now and we are doing everything we can to get to the playoffs. We have to approach every game like it's a playoff game. We are aware of the situation and what's in front of us. We are going to continue to battle and do everything we can to get in the playoffs."

LINEBACKER Demario Davis

On the team's mentality heading into the game:
"Our mentality is the same every time we step out, no matter what team it is, we know [if] we go and execute at the level we're capable of, we're going to have success."

On Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen and if the team recognized him after the game:
"He (Allen) gave a game ball to everybody on the team, just congratulating the win. I wanted to give him a game ball, but I wasn't going to step outside my job responsibilities. But he definitely deserves it. He's a great leader. He took his leadership to the next notch. It's a 'next man up' league, and when Sean [Payton] went down he stepped up. Did a phenomenal job just pretty much being the same guy and extending himself outside our room to the entire team and made sure we were locked in on the gameplan that Sean had put in place for us and made sure that the team knew the importance of coming in and executing it. He did a great job."

On the defensive performance:
"I thought it was a solid performance. Our mentality is this is what we're supposed to do."

On Dennis Allen's approach to the game:
"He's one of the smartest coaches I ever been around. He's smart and can anticipate what other teams are doing. He doesn't overthink himself or over-complicate it or try to stop everything, he just understands what they're going to do before they're going to do it and does a good job of teaching us that and puts in gameplans that are simple enough to execute but complex enough to keep other teams on their toes. He's one of the best that I've been around. Just a special coach and it's a lot of fun playing for him."

STRONG SAFETY C.J. Gardner-Johnson

On his interception:
"I'm a ball player. Ball players make big time plays in the game. I knew how close the game was, I knew with them guys having guys down, I had to make a play. Can't force it but… we need to win. That's it."

On Dennis Allen:
"We just appreciate D.A. [Dennis Allen] for letting us be ball players. We don't really complain, we just thank him for letting us go out there and be us, and just do the best we can do."

On the ability of being able to bring pressure with four:
"It's amazing when that front four can get to the quarterback. You disrupt a whole lot of timing, a whole lot of game plan. Like I said, the back end plays well when the front four, front five, six, whatever you want to call it – Double D [Demario Davis], Kwon [Alexander], Cam [Jordan], David [Oneymata], Marcus [Davenport], all them boys up front, shout out all of them boys up front. We can't give enough credit how hard they work. They get slandered a lot about that they don't do good enough. To us they do an amazing job getting back there. We just have to do our part, and let them do their part. Like they did today, they are going to eat up front, we are going to eat up in the back end of the field."

DEFENSIVE END Cameron Jordan

On how it feels to get 100 career sacks:
"It feels amazing to win. It feels super to be a part of a defensive line that ended up with what, four sacks on Tom Brady? The fact that this was a byproduct that happened in this game against a divisional opponent. I'm going to worry about that after the season. I'm trying to stick to my guns here about talking about accolades until after the season, but it feels good. God has blessed me truly to not only be healthy, to play throughout the whole game, to play these last 11 years, to accumulate the amount of sacks that I have. I mean I first and foremost want to thank you know, Jesus Christ. I want to thank the 'fam' for being the foundation and 'Pops' for giving me the bloodline to be able to put something like this together."

On what makes Dennis Allen special:
"I don't know. Is he allowed to leave? I'm going to do the opposite. What can I say bad about him? I'm not helping him leave (laughs). But no, when you think about what he's able to do with the x's and o's. God knows I don't know everything about what happens behind me. I rely on guys to be exactly who they are. But when you talk about Dennis Allen and what he brings to our defense, he brings that edge. He's poised. I mean you know he loves blitzing quarterbacks. I love running to four d-lineman. So, we have some conflict there. But is that a negative? That means he has to with us, right? I'm not helping you guys get him to another job."

On Tom Brady's fumble:
"Everybody knows Tom is a scrambler. When he goes, we have to be able to get after him. We made him uncomfortable in the pocket that he tried to get out. Marcus [Davenport], I thought he had him and again, scrambler Tom took off and we were able to make a play and get off the field and put our offense back on the field. Put ourselves in a great position to make a run at this game where we ended up 9-0. Who would've thought that would have been the final score of the game? We go into the fourth quarter and we're all rallying. Look, we're up 6-0, they don't score, we win. Who would've thought that we were putting up three points on the board and finished the game the way we did?"

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