New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Is it fair to say that the threat of the deep ball with Jameis Winston like the one he connected on with Deonte Harris, does that create more space for you guys to operate going down the field?
"Yes, I think as you look at one of his strengths you would say is his ability to push the ball downfield. As teams are preparing that's something that they are paying attention to."
What goes into the deep ball, it's more than just arm strength?
"Absolutely, I think it's technique, comfort level during the week of practice working with the guys, but a lot of it is fundamentals as well."
How different is that meeting where you guys go through plays the night before a game amongst the quarterbacks without Drew as the starter and Jameis the starter now?
"I think that obviously you go into the meetings with the same approach and go through specifically what we are putting in for our plays and the defense you are getting ready to see and the adjustments. The approach as to the material you are presenting, routine and process, that doesn't change."
Is that where you tailor what the quarterback feels comfortable with?
"Absolutely, I think even as you finish, otherwise, there might be things coaches go through with Jameis. You say you have these plays, let's narrow it down to the ones that he feels comfortable with during the week and you're putting in the plays that not just him (feels comfortable with), but the guys on the field and their skillsets as well."
As you become more familiar with Jameis and he becomes more familiar with the system does the process become more streamlined?
"If you go through the installs at training camp, work through those, trying to find out schemes that he likes and fits our personnel, the process starts at training camp."
Being down a few coaches, how different is the preparation process this week with the offensive players?
"The biggest difference, Sean (Payton) talked about it, is that we have groups meeting together as opposed to breaking into individuals. There's always a process of being together and breaking up, now it's just more guys staying into one room to go over the coaching points."
We didn't really see Cesar Ruiz working that much at training camp focused on working at guard. What did you think of him on Sunday?
"I think that it was early in the game where he had to move over. Coming out of the game, it didn't feel like it was a guy that you were talking about throughout the game, doing well and feeling good about him and the way he played and his communication."
With Erik McCoy taking calling some of the protections with Drew Brees retired, how much work did Caesar have with that as well?
"It was helpful to receive reps in the process at training camp. He's next to Erik (at right guard) seeing how that works and Jameis does too (have experience with Caesar)."
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 16, 2021
You guys have played against Christian McCaffrey in past years. What kinds of problems does he present?
"A multitude of problems. Number one he's a really good runner of the football, specifically on the outside, zone schemes, stretch schemes. I think he does a really good job of staying on course, putting his foot on the ground and finding seams in the defense. That's probably the first thing you think about and then secondary to that, you think about all the mismatches he can create in coverages and his ability to create in space. It makes it really challenging. You can have all the schematics you want to have to take this guy away, but at the end of the day, they do a good job of trying to find ways to get him in one on one matchups and create challenges for the defense."
When Jameis Winston threw that 55-yard touchdown on Sunday, generally speaking when there's a deep threat you have to account for, how does that change things for a defense or defensive coordinator when it's a legitimate possibility?
"I think everything when you start looking at your gameplan defensively, certainly you're thinking about how you are taking away certain threats, how you are defending a certain scheme, but the first thing you are thinking about is how am I going to eliminate explosive plays. Certainly explosive plays can come from short throws to really good athletes and then create a majority of the game in a run after catch situation and certainly if you're just having to worry about that, there's ways you can deploy your defense, defenders underneath, but all of a sudden when they have that threat to throw the ball down the field, you have to defend the first, second and third level of the field and that makes it more challenging on the offense for the defense on all three levels."
Eliminating explosives was you felt a priority last week, how did you feel about your communication in the back end?
"I thought the communication for a first game was outstanding. I think it's a product of having a lot of carryover and a lot of different positions. We have really smart players and they understand the game yet they also understand what we're trying to do and how we're trying to play defense. That was big for us in that game and it's certainly good we faced an explosive offense that gets the ball down the field and we had to be good in that area."
Is there any surprise in the confidence with Paulson Adebo given that he didn't play last year?
"It's a little bit of a challenging question to say you are surprised at the confidence. You don't really know the player until you get the opportunity to work with him and certainly he has a lot of confidence in his ability. I think he's done a great job of coming in and picking up the system and scheme and what we're trying to do. So he understands what we're doing. He understands what his responsibility is in this defense, so now he can let his natural ability take over. I can say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the progress that he's made. Certainly anytime you can take the production we've gotten out of him in two preseason games and one regular season game, I think that's positive. The big thing for him is to realize this is a 17-game season and that's just one of 17 units and the challenging thing for young players is can they put those consistent performances back to back to back for a whole season."
We saw a little bit of Tanoh Kpassagnon playing inside on rush downs. What do you look for in a player when you're looking for that inside-outside flexibility. What do you look for out of them to put them in that position?
"They come in all different shapes and sizes. Obviously for a player to be able to do those types of things, one they have to be a smart football player that can understand concepts and be able to take things from the meeting room out to the field and be able to apply those concepts on the field. I think in all of our people that we ask to rush the passer, we're looking for athleticism and length. That's something that…When I say length I'm not always saying someone that's 6-5, 6-6, I'm talking guys that have long arms and can keep blockers off of them. The vision for Tanoh when we brought him in was of someone that could play end for us, could also slide inside in some sub down situations. I think you guys know what we do enough that we're always looking for guys that give us the flexibility, ends that can play tackle, tackles that can move outside to play end, safeties that can play in the slot and the nickel, corners that have versatility, but we're always looking for guys that have that."
What advantages do you guys have from that three-man front?
"I think it gives us number one, when we put these DBs on the field, it gives us flexibility in coverage and then number two when we put those guys out there like that, when you put four defensive linemen out on the field, they're always going to identify those four and they're going to make sure they get those four blocked. When you go with an odd package, it just creates an extra step for them to figure out exactly how they want to block it and who they want blocking who."
New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 16, 2021
What are your impressions of Blake Gillikin after his first regular season action?
"I can't say I'm surprised, I honestly worked with him the last couple of preseasons, offseasons, I've seen what he's capable of doing. His biggest thing has been staying consistent. He had the first one that wasn't that great a hit and he comes back on the redo and has a really good punt and obviously the first one we that one downed at the five-yard line. He was really good in college at that as well, getting those balls inside the 20. I can't really say I'm really surprised. The only thing you are really concerned about is obviously that it's his first NFL regular season game and you're always worried about a rookie, any rookie in that circumstance or situation, but he's pretty even-keeled guy, really good temperament but looking forward to continuing to watch him grow."
We were wondering if he would even get to punt?
"That's definitely a good problem (laughter). I don't think we're going to worry about that. No question, as a rookie, you want to get the first one out of the way."
Is an even keeled personality something anyone needs as a specialist?
"I would agree. It's one of those things where you can never get too high, too low. It's the old adage, you're as good as your last play. If it's a good punt, bad punt, you really have to stay flatlined. That's a good temperament to have. It's really what he's like. He's not an excitable guy, but at the same time he's not going to get really down on himself. He's a pretty intelligent person. All those things for him are a really good makeup."
When you're scouting punters on hangtime, what are some of the traits you are looking for?
"It's interesting. The college scheme is so much different from the pro game. Most fans don't understand that. The rules are so much different in college because you're allowed to release as many people down the field as you want. People ask me all the time why don't you do the college formations and rugby punts. It's really the rules. There are very few teams that do a pro style punt and so it's a long answer to a short question. It's hard to evaluate these younger players these days. Same with the snappers, because they really aren't playing in a pro system. The first thing you look for is the talent, the distance to drive, hangtime, all that. At the same time situational punting in the NFL is something that's overlooked. Downing it inside the five yard line can lead to a turnover and those are important plays, things we're looking for as well, directional punting, situational punting, being able to get the ball out in a certain amount of time. In college you can hold onto the ball longer, those rugby punts. It's harder for special teams coaches to evaluate these special teams guys, meaning the snappers and punters. There's no combine this year, you can't go work guys out. It really makes it more challenging. The college film can only take you so far and then once you get a player in your building, you start to work with these guys and develop them in a pro setting. It's definitely a challenge."