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Saints transcripts: Dennis Allen media availability | Wednesday, Dec. 22

Defensive coordinator looks ahead to Week 16 against Miami

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 22, 2021

What are some of the things that stood out to you about Miami as you guys start your preparation this week?
"Number one is that they have won six games in a row. So anytime you are able to do that in the National Football League, you are doing something really well. I think defensively, they do a really good job of getting after the quarterback. I think they do a really good job of taking the football away. Offensively, I think they do a nice job in the RPO, run passing game. They are committed to the running game, I think the last few weeks you really see the quarterback playing at a pretty high level and they are solid in the kicking game. So I think this is a good football team. I think they understand how they're built and how they want to win games and I think it'll be a challenge."

What in particular does Jaylen Waddle do well and what kind of challenges does he bring?
"Well, he's got exceptional burst and speed, he can separate and get in and out of his breaks and so he's really played well, as a rookie receiver. They move him around within the formation a little bit. But his just ability to create big plays in the passing game is really what concerns you how you."

How different is it this week knowing you'll have the full week to prepare while Sean Payton is away?
"I do not know that it is a whole lot different. I am trying to do the things that I think Sean would want me to do, in terms of trying to get this team prepared and ready to play. Like I said the other day, hopefully we get coach (Payton) back sooner rather than later. But I still see like, we're all filling the same rules that we filled towards the end of the week last week. I think the one thing you'd say is that you just have a little bit more time to kind of prepare for it."

What is the protocol for Sean Payton returning?
"Quite honestly, I couldn't tell you exactly what that protocol is. I know that our trainers are on top of it and I'm kind of letting them handle it. And look, the good news is Sean's doing better and hopefully he'll be back here soon."

Are you guys having a normal Wednesday, Thursday, Friday schedule because of the Christmas holiday?
"We're going to have a normal week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and let everybody have Christmas off with their family and come back in on Sunday and go through our traditional Saturday walkthrough and those types of things."

Your team, you talked about it, played with kind of remarkable energy and intensity on Sunday night. What's the challenge to try and bring that to the table again on Monday night, following that up?
"I think that's just part of what it is in the National Football League. That is the challenge of the National Football League. The challenge is being able to bring your A game week in and week out. And the teams that are able to do that more consistently, those are the teams that have the better records, and those are the better teams. And so that's the challenge that we have facing in front of us this week. And that's what we're trying to attack this week."

You mentioned Tua (Tagovailoa), what are the things that he does well, and I think you mentioned RPO's specifically but what are some of the strengths that he brings to them?
"Yeah, I think he does a good job operating their offense, he really understands the RPO game, makes good decisions with the football. He throws the ball on time with accuracy and kind of the works the middle of the field really well. So the shorter to intermediate routes I think is where he's really excelled and getting the ball out of his hands and throwing the ball accurately inside."

This might be a stupid question, but is there anything different to defending a left handed quarterback? Like, does that change anything at all for you guys?
"Not really, not really a ton. Certainly we do not see very many of them. But I think that's kind of team specific. But there's a few things. Number one, the ball comes out differently. So catching the football from a left handed quarterback in terms of trying to create plays on the ball becomes a little bit more difficult. Typically, you will see with left handed quarterbacks, with teams that want to move the pocket a little bit, they will be a little bit more inclined to move it to his throwing hand. But you do not really see a whole lot in terms of which side of the field he is favoring more or anything like that. So I think just being able to catch the ball and understanding where the quarterback escape lanes are going to be and where they want to move the pocket is probably the biggest difference."

You talked about the how good the tackling was Sunday night. As a coach is that kind of the elusive pursuit trying to get that level of execution out of your guys each week? It just seemed like it was almost flawless as far as tackling was concerned.
"I think definitely that's what you're trying to do. When you play 17 regular season games, obviously, there's going to be an ebb and flow to how you play and there are going to be some weeks where you're just spot on and things are going good for you. And then there's going to be some weeks, where you're not quite as good. And the best teams are able to do those things more consistently, (yet) there is nobody that's perfect. But the better teams are the ones that are able to do that more consistently."

Is there any concern, with Juwan Johnson going on the COVID list that anyone might be following him?
"That's the environment that we're in right now. So yeah, certainly, there's always that level of concern, we've got do the best we can within the building to try to minimize any of that and then we've got to be able to adjust and that's part of, it's kind of like injuries. You have to be able to adjust when things happen. So we'll do a good job of adjusting to whatever happens this week."

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