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Saints transcripts: Pete Carmichael Conference Call With Local Media| Thursday, Dec. 23

Offensive coordinator looks ahead to Week 16 against Miami

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New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Conference Call
Thursday, December 23, 2021

Can you make it clear which quarterback you're working with right now?
"I think all of the quarterbacks are still a part of the essential process that they have to be (in) regardless of who's going to be the starter. We'll have them all prepared, and we'll have to have some flexibility as the days progress. We'll see what happens."

With Ian Book a potential candidate to start on Monday night, how do you feel that he's developed this year?
"Yeah, I think just going back to the pre-draft days and before we drafted him, there were a lot of things that we saw on film that we really liked. He's smart, he had a very productive college career, he's accurate, he's mobile, he's able to process information in meetings. So, he's been really sharp in meetings, and we've been impressed with what he's done on the field with the practice squad. We feel really confident in him as a player. We still have time before the game gets here (on Monday night), but we know this, if that's the case, he'll (Book) be prepared."

What trait about Ian Book stands out to you that make the offensive coaches confident in his ability?
"Well, he's a very confident kid. One thing I know about him is that he has a strong passion for this and loves to play. He wants to be out there, so I think those things will suit him well."

How did last week go for you getting to call plays?
"Well, I think this, with the current times, we all have to be prepared every week because anything could happen. You have to prepare yourself every week and then be actively involved on gameday whether you're involved in calling plays or you're not. I think as far as last week (at Tampa Bay), we thought we did a good job not turning the ball over, complementing our defense to how they were playing, and obviously, they were playing at a high level. So, we knew there were certain things we had to do. Obviously, we wish we could've come away with more points, but we didn't. Third down numbers weren't very good, and we had two trips into the red zone where we kicked field goals, which was big, but we didn't come away with touchdowns when we got down there."

How did calling plays change things for you on gameday?
"I think, like I said, every week you go through the process as if you're going to be the guy that's doing (the play calling) during the game. If Sean's (Payton) calling the game, I'll ask what he likes in certain spots. You're actively involved during the whole game, and you have to be ready (to take over) at any time. Obviously, it is different, and it is what it is. We'll keep going like this until Sean's back."

Do you try to ever do what you feel like Coach Payton would do calling plays or do you call whatever you feel is best?
"Well, I think throughout the week, there's a lot of input and communication. Having a chance to spend time with (Coach Payton), whether it's on a phone call or in a meeting, I think that the plan is really well-weighted in the process. When you get to the game, and I've been around (Coach Payton) a long time, I think it is a little bit different. But I think for the most part, I think trying to be on the same page is important, but I know that a lot of time his message to me will be, 'Have at it, do what you think is best.' I feel like he trusts the process."

How involved is Coach Payton with the gameplan right now with being away from the team?
"It's more communication with phone calls. He has an opportunity to watch film at home and get with us (coaches) to discuss plays or certain ideas. So, obviously not being here is a little bit different, but I think he's doing his own work as well."

Does the timing in the week of the COVID-19 outbreak with the quarterbacks help better prepare the starter?
"I don't know if it ever helps, but obviously yes. Information comes from our trainers some time before this game. Obviously, it's a Monday night game, so we'll have a little extra time with the extra day. The trainers will keep us informed daily and let us know, but there's always a chance. We'll keep them (quarterbacks) as questionable."

Are you able to hold normal practices this week but do the off-field work over virtual platforms?
"Yeah, well, that's how it will work. You'll hear more about that from Dennis (Allen) or Sean (Payton), but when you get on the virtual meetings, it's very easy to share the videos of the install, the pictures of what you're installing, and then quickly get to the video. It all works pretty seamlessly other than all of us not being in the same room. You're still able to ask questions and go through it. It is what it is, but we'll adjust with it."

What is different about calling plays on gameday than your normal routine?
"Well, I hate to say this, but you need to have your plan in place before you get to the game, but again, it's also the process of meeting with the quarterbacks the night before and going through the plays they like in certain situations. Going through that whole call sheet and then having an idea in the game of some of the primary calls when you get to certain areas of the field, like knowing the primary calls when we get to the red zone. Understanding that those (calls) are always there and again, just having more involvement of communicating with the quarterbacks."

With being the emergency quarterback, has Alvin Kamara prepared at all to step into the quarterback role?
"You know, I think those are discussions that we have depending on who's active for the game. As we go through it, without saying what our situation will be by Monday, one thing that I'll say is that he's smart. Obviously, when you get the ball in his hands, you feel really good about that. So, we have a few guys that we would feel comfortable putting back there and he obviously would be one of those guys that would have that ability (to play quarterback)."

How do you see Kamara as a passer? Did his ability to understand all parts of the offense make him the primary candidate for the emergency quarterback role?
"I think this, I think going back to the draft process and going up to (Tennessee) to meet with him, one thing that we said walking away from that meeting was that he was talking about the concepts we went through on film like a quarterback would talk about them as far as the perspective of knowing what everyone was doing, not just his assignment. He knew the reason why a certain guy did this as opposed to just knowing the route. He talked about the game in a way like a quarterback. Again, we still have four days left until the game on Monday, so we'll see what we have to do."

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