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Saints transcripts: Dennis Allen media availability | Monday, Dec. 20

Defensive coordinator recaps Week 15 win against Tampa Bay

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with Local Media
Monday, December 20, 2021

What were your secondary impressions of the game having looked at the film today?
"I think our guys played with emotion and with energy. I thought they went out and executed and I thought we did the things that we needed to do to win this game. Certainly, there's some things that we've got to clean up, there are certainly some things we have to do better. But yet, we did the things that we needed to do in that particular game and so we're in here today, we're making the corrections that we need to make offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game. And then we will get ready to move on to Miami."

Was this the cleanest game for the defense all season?
"Yeah, I look, I think just in general, defensively, I think that's probably as well as we have played. I think our ability to get up on their receivers and disrupt on the line of scrimmage and not allow free access into the defense. I think that, in conjunction with our pass rush, which I think affected the quarterback. And I think maybe even more than anything else, I thought our tackling was outstanding in the game. There was very little run after catch on these completions, there was a lot of catch tackles, when they were able to complete the passes. So in that aspect, I thought that was outstanding."

How important is C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the defense just when it comes to tackling performance?
"Yeah, look, I mean, they're all important in that. Certainly, I feel like Chauncey played one of his better games. Chauncey played disciplined, Chauncey executed his job and he played with passion and energy and that's what we expect out of him. And the deal with him is really always locking in on all the little bitty details. And I thought he did a good job of that this week."

Did you have to double check when you saw the Buccaneers didn't have a snap in the red zone?
"No, look, I mean, obviously, it was a great team win and I felt like we played really good on defense, but to be able to do those things, you know, you can't turn the ball over. You have to be able to play the field position game, you have to be able to pin them down there, when you have opportunities to pin them down there and make them go the long, hard way. And look, they took over the ball one time on the 43-yard line and that was the best field position that they had all night. And that was the one opportunity that they had that they missed the field goal. So a lot of the things that we felt like we needed to do to win the game we were able to accomplish."

How do you approach this week knowing Sean Payton will eventually come back?
"I think we got to approach it, really basically the same way we approached last week. We all know that we've got a job to do and certainly we're hoping that, you know, coach (Payton) is back sooner rather than later. But like I said before, he's prepared all of us for the job at hand. Most of us have been with him long enough that we know exactly what's expected of us, the players know exactly what's expected of them. And we kind of operate, you know, business as usual. And hopefully, like said, we'll have him back in the building sooner rather than later and, you know, we'll be following his lead."

How involved was Sean Payton involved on Friday and Saturday, like he's still in virtual meetings with you guys?
"Yeah, I think he let us know exactly what he wanted to see from us and what he felt like we needed to do to be able to win this game, and then allowed us to go out and do our job. I think he had a lot of faith and trust in all of us, players, coaches, staff, everybody to do our job. And that's a product of building a great culture and Sean, established that back in 2006 and it's maintained all the way through now in 2021."

Can you get into why you gave a game ball to the entire team last night?
"Yeah, because this was not a normal situation. We had a lot of guys that were out, including our head coach, and for our guys to kind of come together and band together and do whatever it took and whatever is necessary to win the game. I just felt like, and honestly, to be quite honest with you, like, every game you win is a team game ball. Because this is the ultimate team game. And it's not, it's played by individuals, but won as a team."

When you hear that Demario Davis wanted to give a game ball to you. What does that mean to you?
"I appreciate it. But again, this was about our team. And this was about, our guys (who) went out and executed a plan as well as they could execute. And that is what wins in our league. And so this is a player's game and I felt like our players went out and performed."

What did it feel like to be back in the head coaching spot last night? Did it feel at all like it did eight or nine years ago in Oakland or did it feel different? How would you describe that?
"Well, look, totally different feeling on a couple of different fronts. Really I was trying to fill in for coach (Payton) and trying to do what I thought he would want us to do and it's different when you're spending the whole week preparing to call defenses and all of a sudden you get something else that's on your plate so look, it was a challenging night but a very fulfilling and rewarding night, but we won a football game in the National Football League. And we do not have time for a bunch of fairy tale stories or anything like that. I mean, it's let's get ready for Miami."

Obviously, I think people who've covered this team and know football knows the job you've done as defensive coordinator. But that was a nationally televised, primetime game last night. Trevor Siemian joked that after his start, he got like 200 text messages. Do you have like, cousins from Texas coming out of the woodwork to congratulate you? Or have you been kind of business as usual?
"Certainly I've received a lot of texts and it's greatly appreciated. But again, we're sitting here in the middle of a playoff chase. And we've really got to just focus in on doing our job and winning the next one. I just told the players downstairs that when you start paying too much attention to everybody that's patting you on the back, the next thing you know you're going to turn around and there'll be somebody that's going to be kicking you in the butt. So, that's the way our league works. And so we've just got to stick to the process, understand the plan and focus in now on making the corrections from last night and moving on to Miami."

The TV cameras caught Tom Brady having some words towards Ryan Nielsen. Did you see that? What did you make of that situation?
"I did not see that. I didn't even know about that until after the game. Actually, when I talked to Sean (Payton) after the game he was asking me about (it) and I was like, I don't even know what you're talking about. I was just, I don't know, I must have been focused on something else. So I was unaware of that until after the game."

Yeah, it was like right after C.J. Gardner-Johnson's interception.
"Yeah, I didn't pay much attention to it."

How have you seen Marcus Davenport evolve over the last couple of years, just in terms of his mindset, even his play on the field? Looks like he's just very strong out there. I don't know if that's maybe new compared to what he was a couple of years back.
"Well, I think a couple things. I think, number one, he was able to spend his time with us in the offseason (without rehabilitating an injury). And I think he's in the best mind-frame that he's been in since he's been with us. And I think he's been one of our most disruptive players. He's done a better job of being able to finish this year. And so you're seeing a few more of the stats this year that maybe you hadn't seen in the past but he's just continued the progression. A lot like we thought in this building. I know there's maybe a lot of people outside the building that expected to see something different, but I've just seen a player that continues to get better year in and year out."

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