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Saints transcripts: Dennis Allen media availability | Friday, Dec. 17

Defensive coordinator talks coaching roles as the team looks ahead to Week 15 against Tampa Bay

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen
Media availability
Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

How different is it going to be on Sunday without Coach Payton (tested positive for Covid-19)?
"You know, Sean's our leader and he's the guy that's been running the show around here. So, it'll be a lot different. It'll be a big challenge without him being there (in Tampa Bay). But the real deal is that he's prepared all of us for how we have to play the game. We know what's expected of us. Every single one of us, every coach, player, and staff member knows what's expected of us. Our job's to go out there on Sunday and perform. That's what we plan on doing."

What time today did you learn Sean Payton would not be coaching Sunday's game in Tampa Bay? How did you decide who would be taking over head coaching duties?
"Listen, we found out during our meetings this morning. That's when we were informed by Mickey (Loomis) that Sean would be out (Covid-19). Sean informed us at a later time of how he wanted us to operate moving forward. So, we just found out this morning and we adjusted. We had a good practice today and we're getting ready to go play a tough opponent on Sunday (Tampa Bay)."

Are you expecting any other coaches to be out Sunday? How much does your past experience as a head coach help in situations like this one?
"Well, look, I think certainly having some previous head coaching experience helps situations like these. You know, obviously when you're in a deal like this it's not an ideal situation. You know, I'm excited to have the opportunity to go out there and perform on Sunday night. I think our guys are excited about it. In terms of if I expect any other coaches to be out (Covid protocols), look, that's the environment we're in right now. You always have to be prepared for anything that could come up. Hopefully we don't have to deal with that. If we do, we'll have to adjust."

How much does your job actually change now being the interim head coach? How much additional work do you have to do outside of calling defensive plays?
"Look, (Darren) Rizzi will handle the special teams, Pete (Carmichael) will call the plays on offense, and I'll handle the play calling on defense. What gets added is a little bit more of the game management situations. Certainly, you know, we've handled that situation and communicated in those situations before with myself, Pete, Rizzi, Ryan Nielsen, we'll handle all of those game management situations together. But I guess ultimately it falls on me in terms of how we're going to manage the game."

Do game management situations entail when to go for it on fourth down?

What is the biggest challenge of not having Sean Payton there in person on gameday Sunday? Will he be involved with gameday preparation virtually?
"Well, certainly, everything just kind of happened, so it's kind of hard for me to tell you how exactly everything is going to operate over the next 24 or 48 hours. Sean will be involved heavily as he always has been. So, this will be a situation that we'll continue to have to change and adapt. We'll do whatever is necessary to get the job done."

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