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Saints Transcripts: Dennis Allen Conference Call with Local Media| Thursday, Dec. 30

Defensive Coordinator looks ahead to Week 17 against Carolina


New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen 
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, December 30, 2021

How do you think Pete Werner played this week?
"Yeah, look, I thought he did a really nice job. I mean, he played the mike linebacker position, which really is a position that he's repped. But he hasn't had any game action and hasn't worn the green dot. And that's really the first time in his career that he's done those things. And so I thought all things considered, I thought he did a good job. I feel like it was good work for him and a good experience for him to get in there and play the mike linebacker position. And so I think he'll just learn and grow from that."

Do you guys see him as possibly a long-term Mike linebacker or is he more of a Will linebacker?
"Well, look, I think he has got the versatility to play really, quite honestly, any of the three positions. And so as with most of our guys, we're always looking for guys that have multiple position flexibility. And so he certainly is a guy that has that, and you continue to look at those things and evaluate those things as you move forward."

How do you feel your rookie defenders have developed?
"I think they've progressed well and certainly, they're still going through the learning process and every play, every rep they take in practice, every play that they play in a game is just experience that they can put in their memory bank and be able to draw on those experiences, as they get put in those situations later on throughout their career. So I think both of them (Werner and Paulson Adebo), I'm pleased with what I've seen out of both of them, both of them work extremely hard. It's really, really important to them and each one of them comes in everyday trying to get better. So that's all you can really ask for and they're doing that for us."

Why has Cameron Jordan played so well the last two weeks?
"He's just played really well. Certainly, he had a week off to kind of recover a little bit, which I think that probably helped him a little bit. Having Marcus Davenport on the other side, I think has helped and certainly Cam has continued to work (hard) all season long. And that's the way this game is. You have some lulls, where maybe you're not getting quite the statistics that everybody's looking for. But really, kind of the value of your season is really played out over the course of the entire season and that's why I don't really like getting into a bunch of, give me your final evaluation on so and so because all of them are in complete evaluation. So certainly, he's played well the last couple of weeks and hopefully he'll continue to do that."

How stressful was it dealing with losing defensive players to the Covid-19 list?
"Well look, I think it was real difficult for everybody. This game is hard enough to play when you start out a week and for the most part, you know, who you're going to have available to you on gameday. And certainly it was a challenge for coaches. It was (a) challenge for players, it was a challenge for our medical team. Everybody was challenged in that environment. And so I thought our players responded in a very positive way and certainly we didn't get the outcome that we wanted. But I thought there were some good things that I saw in terms of the way that we played in that game."

Did you ever have any personal interaction with John Madden while in Oakland?
"I did and Coach Madden was an incredible person, an incredible man, and really was very, very influential. Really not just in the NFL, but just with society in general. Everybody knew who he was, and everybody really enjoyed his personality and his viewpoints on a lot of different things. And so certainly when you have a giant like that (who) passes, it certainly takes a little bit from everybody."

How valuable is it having P.J. Williams around with the position flexibility he has?
"Yeah, I think having guys like that, you know, we preach having guys that are tough, smart, competitive and smart guys generally give you a lot of value. Because they can do so many different things and he's a guy that's played corner for us, he's played nickel for us, he's played safety for us. He's fulfilled a lot of different roles and we've won a lot of games with him playing in each one of those roles. And so it's extremely valuable to have guys like that, that can do multiple things. And certainly even more so in the environment that we're in now. Because you just don't really know what's going to happen from one day to the next."

Is it hard to prepare not knowing what guys could be ruled out at any given time?
"Well, look, you obviously have to stay or try the best you can to stay one step ahead and know what that next move is going to be. And certainly, we've always had the mentality around here and it always will be, I know it sounds cliché, but it's a next man up league. And so we try to stay in front of it as best we can. But yeah, it is a challenge. But that's exactly what it is. It's a challenge, not an excuse and so we've got to figure out, regardless of what happens, how we can put a plan together that gives us the best opportunity to win."

Do you pay attention to Carolina having issues with Coved as well?
"Yes, certainly you do. I think you just take for example, the quarterback position, we're kind of prepared for both quarterbacks. I know Sam Darnold's going to get to play and I would expect there's going to be some Cam Newton that we're going to see, now exactly how much I don't know the answer to that. But certainly we have to prepare for both quarterbacks and you have to prepare for the offense in general and then where does it tweak depending on which quarterbacks in the game and so that presents an added dimension that we've got to deal with."

Why do you think the home record hasn't been the standard the team is used to at the Caesars Superdome?
"Listen, if I had the answer to that, I don't know exactly why we haven't played particularly well in the dome. For whatever reason those games we haven't played as well and so look it's something that we've always taken pride in and we've been a good home team. And so that's something that we've got to try to work to play better when we're playing at home."

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