SAINTS HEAD COACH DENNIS ALLEN
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 8, 2023
DA: Look, obviously pleased with the win. I think it's probably as complete a game as we've played around here in a while. I thought all three phases of the game came in and did their job and did what we needed to do to win the game. I'm pleased with the win and now we start to turn our attention to next week at Houston.
Q: What are some of the things offensively that kind of stood out?
DA: I think we were able to score points in the red zone. I think that was probably the number one thing. I thought we ran the ball pretty well in the game. So I thought – overall I thought up front, overall, thought we did some good things, and I thought we did a good job of kind of being able to control the line of scrimmage a little bit.
Q: You mentioned last week that offensively everything they did could have been a little bit better, did you feel they answered that challenge?
DA: Yeah, look, the challenge really was for everybody to be better. This wasn't an offense, defense, kicking game deal, this was the New Orleans Saints need to be better. We had to coach better. We had to play better. And I thought everybody, coaches, players, everybody alike, answered the challenge this week.
Q: Did you put an emphasis on being more aggressive early on to set the tone, we're going to go down the field and look different than we did last week?
DA: Yeah, look, I think we wanted to come into the game and be able to run the ball and throw the ball effectively. Really thought we had some opportunities that we could have taken advantage of that we didn't take advantage of. There's still a lot of things we have to clean up. We obviously wanted to be aggressive. We wanted to be able to move the ball and score some points. Ultimately we were able to do that.
Q: What was the atmosphere like in the facility this week?
DA: I thought it was great. I thought our guys knew what we needed to do. I think they understood that the previous performance wasn't good enough. And we knew we had a better team than what we put out there. And I think today we came out and answered the bell.
Q: What did you think of the defense's performance today?
DA: Defensively, I thought we played well. I think third-down defense was really good. I think our ability to be able to get off the field on third down helped us. And then our ability on offense to be able to run the ball, kind of maintain time and possession. I think that got out of whack a little bit in our favor in the game. So I think that was a huge part of the game. Again, I thought our guys did a pretty good job up front being able to stop the run and also being able to kind of get after the quarterback a little bit.
Q: Talk about the spark from Tyrann Mathieu with that pick-six.
DA: I think that's huge. Being able to take the ball away early in the game like that and create a little momentum on your side, I think our whole team kind of fed off of that and certainly great to see. It's been a while since I can remember that we scored on defense. And so that was a little bit of an emphasis this week to take the ball away and potentially score on defense.
Q: I know Pete Carmichael was pretty adamant about taking on the blame with the offensive struggles. On Friday, he said, "100 percent my fault; I've got to get better." What kind of conversations did you and him have? Not asking for details, but about him wanting to come into this game, be different, get a different outcome, not just on the scoreboard?
DA: Listen, we talk every week, and if you're having struggles in an area – there's very few times you can point in one individual direction and say, "that's the issue." So the challenge this week was for everybody, players and coaches, to show up. And I thought our guys answered the bell and showed up today.
Q: Obviously can get lost in a 34-0 game, but Blake Grupe with the two long kicks, what's your confidence level in him right now?
DA: I think it's extremely high. I think he's kicked the ball exceptionally well for us. I've had zero reservations about having him attempt a long field goal. It was great to see him do that.
Q: Alvin Kamara just walked into the room and he's now the all-time career Saints touchdown leader…
DA: It's pretty good, huh? Yeah.
Q: Can you speak about the overall nature of him?
DA: Look, he's been outstanding for our football team, both in terms of his production on the field and in terms of his leadership in the locker room. I think it's been awesome. There's some plays in the game today that probably don't stand out to the naked eye. And yet you just watch his ability to make guys miss and create plays is pretty awesome. I thought he ran the ball exceptionally hard today. We've been working to get that 73rd touchdown. It's been a while for us to finally get it. So it was good for that to happen.
Q: This is the largest home loss, shutout loss in Patriots franchise history. Could you have seen anything like this coming this week?
DA: Look, our deal this week was just focus on us, focus on what we have to do to be better and then go out and execute our jobs on Sunday in the game. I thought everybody as an organization did a good job of doing that.
Q: Is this what you thought this offense was capable of?
DA: This is what I want our team to look like. And now the challenge is, can you replicate that week in and week out in a tough league that we play in. So I thought we had a great week of practice. I thought our preparation was awesome. I thought our focus was awesome, and I think the results showed.
Q: Is the buy-in level – what are the elements from this game specifically, the two or three things that you wanted to look at?
DA: I think scoring a lot of points and not giving up a lot. I mean, look, I thought we did a good job being efficient offensively. We were able to run the football. We took the ball away, which created some good field position. We played smart football. We still have to eliminate some of the penalties, but overall I thought it was a well-played game.
Q: You emphasized tackling and pass rush in previous games. How do you feel on the progress that you saw today?
DA: I thought it was better. I thought it was better. Obviously I'm going to go back and look at the tape. I'm sure there's going to be some things that I won't be happy about. But overall, I thought overall as a whole team I thought it was better.
Q: You said last week that Derek Carr had to deal with some shoulder soreness toward the end of the game. But this game it seemed like he was still throwing deep, even towards the end. How did he hold up?
DA: I haven't talked to the trainers yet. But I'm assuming he's okay.
Q: That seems like a good thing though if you didn't even have to talk to him about it.
DA: I didn't see anything in the game. It's all good.
Q: We saw Chris Olave getting in some work before the game. Was he dealing with something today?
DA: He had a little bit of a toe prior to the game but made it through fine. We'll see where he's at. But I thought he looked good.
QUARTERBACK DEREK CARR
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 8, 2023
Q: Kind of had to wait on this kind of game five weeks in, but is this is what you envision this offense being like when everything is working?
DC: Like I said at the beginning of the year, we want to be able to go into a game and it doesn't matter who scores, who has the touchdowns, who plays, we just want to play good football and win. And today was the perfect example of what we've been hoping for, right? No one's in here thinking about stats and Pro Bowls and all that. We're thinking about how many wins can we rack up, and can we win the last game of the year?
To see us play the way we did today from a whole team aspect makes us feel good for sure.
Q. From the opening drive – you guys had the ball first – there was a different approach for the offense. Seemed like you guys wanted to be aggressive with a couple balls you threw down the field. It didn't end up in the hands of a Saints player, but it was kind of a different mindset this week from what it was last week. Is that a point of emphasis?
DC: It definitely was, absolutely. Because if teams are going to play us a certain way, especially if they're thinking about my shoulder and that things we're trying to do, we had to show them the potential for down-the-field shots were there. And, we were able to hit a couple – not on the first drive, but you throw enough of them, you can hit a couple. We were able to do that today because we had some good looks to do it. And so, as an offense, we still have so many things to correct penalty-wise and so many little details that could have got us an easier field goal or an easier first down or a completion. We've got to clean those things up. And if we can clean those things up and be better next week, we feel like we can keep getting better as a team.
Q. How big was the third-and-11? You hit Michael Thomas for 26 and eventually got that first touchdown. Was that kind of the spark of the game for you guys offensively?
DC: Yeah, I think I don't think our demeanor or mindset changed at any point throughout the day. I thought we came in with a great focus. I felt like that play, obviously it was third-and-long, we don't want to put the defense out there again so quick. And Mike did a great job going across the middle, taking a hit and making a play. He did it a couple times for me today. He even knew it was going to be that type of day. It's just one of those things. He was able to stand in there and make every play that we needed, except for the first one that we talked about.
Q. Earlier this week you said the running game and the defense are the quarterbacks' best friend. Just specifically on that running game today, having that be as effective as it was, how much of that opened things up for you?
DC: Well, then we ran a play action, and they get back under the play action because they come up for the run, then they turn their backs and go for the play action and I check it down for 30 yards.
Q. To Kendre [Miller]?
DC: To Kendre. That's a perfect example of how it all works together. If they come down a little farther, and there's a window for Mike or Chris on that play, I throw it to them. If not, I check it down and if they're playing the run, now they're getting back -- they can't just be one dimensional. So, it all works together, and this is the ultimate team game. And so, if I can do my job, it helps AK [Alvin Kamara]. If AK does his job, it helps us. If the line -- it's all moving and working together, all the time.
Q. How important do you think of a performance this was for Pete [Carmichael] based on what he went through last week?
DC: Again, there's no different thought this week. There's no different feeling. We know what we have in Pete and we believe in him, and I never lied to you all. We think the world of Pete. So, I just know that I've been in tough times, and when you do go out and have a good day, it's always a relief. It's always, like, all right, let's at least get seven days answering nice questions about some things. But, that's this business. He knows that. I know that playing quarterback. The head coaches always know that, right? They've always got to answer questions. It is what it is, but our confidence never changed in Pete, for sure.
Q. Earlier this week you said every time you go against a Bill Belichick defense, it's like mentally exhausting. How are you feeling now?
DC: I'm tired. It is mentally taxing. They do a great job with personnel groupings, putting sub defense, playing base fronts. You've got to get everybody on the same page so we're blocking the right guys. They do a great job of trying to mix those things up, and different pressure looks, not running the ball into those, and making sure they'll hold the disguise until the play clock's at two seconds. And you have to make sure you're right to help the team. Coach Belichick is, like I said before, he's one of, if not the best coach of all time. So, any time you go against him as a quarterback, it's a tough out, it's a tough day. But you try to be efficient and make the best decisions, do your film study during the week, which is a tall task, but I'll be asleep on the plane, probably.
Q. With the red zone conversion today, 3-for-3, how relieving is it that you were able to convert there? Is 3-for-3 okay? I know you said 4-for-4.
DC: I said 4-for-4, and then I'll give you a high-5. Once we go 4-for-4, I'll give you a high-five. I've got to be a man of my word. My yes is my yes. We got three of them. That just helps the defense. If we can get touchdowns when we get down there, it's a big emphasis for us this week. We felt confident, always, in the game plan that, hey, when we get down there, let's make sure that we execute. And, sometimes, it may be a field goal. But to come away out of a game, especially in this stadium against this scheme with those players, that's an exciting day for sure.
Q. You came into this game with two pretty key injuries on defense with [Matthew] Judon and [Christian] Gonzalez. Did that change how you guys approached the game, or anything like that in terms of going after tendencies, anything like that?
DC: No, but like I've always said, those are two really good players. I haven't played against the young corner, but watching him on film he's very impressive, especially the job he did against Tyreek [Hill] and the things they were asking him to do. And, Judon is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Whenever someone gets hurt, it's always hard to replace those guys. But for us, especially when you play Coach Belichick, it doesn't matter what 11 he's throwing out there. He's got something. He's going to try to stop you. It's going to be a tough out, for sure, no matter who is out there.
Q. Kendre Miller, what have you seen of him in terms of progression and trust level?
DC: I just love his mentality when he gets in the huddle. I've been there with some young guys, having to remind them of everything – Make sure you do this, now go fast, trying to remind them to play fast. Kendre is just a football player. You tell him one thing, we break the huddle and I'm, like, make sure on this. He's, like, I got you bro. Boom, I hit him in the flat. He breaks tackles and gets the yards. When you have a young guy like that with that much confidence, you just hope that his confidence just keeps growing, because he'll just keep getting better. He'll play faster and faster and he'll see the cuts faster. He'll play faster. But, he's got a great guy in front of him to learn from, too.
Q. You've talked a couple times in the last month or so about Mike knowing he's going to be in a spot where he might get hit when he's catching the ball. Do you appreciate that in a receiver, just the physicality and knowing that you can throw the ball and he's going to come up with it seven or eight times out of 10?
DC: 100 percent. They brought – we did something today, we didn't even talk about during the week. They went cover zero on one. I saw it versus a certain look. I just looked at Mike and gave him a hand signal. We didn't even talk about it. But, through our communication, our growth together and our relationship, there's certain things I just say, hey, be ready all the time if this, and he's, like, yeah, I like this route. And, they gave us a blitz. They're bringing one free for me, and he's got to stand in there and take a hit. And, I've got to stand in there. That's football sometimes. And, to see us complete that, him take that hit, hang on to the ball and pick up really a big first down for us in that moment -- they're all big, but just the way that that happened, I thought that was a big play in the game. And it shows the rest of the team that 13 will do whatever it takes to win.
Q. That was a third down in the fourth quarter, right?
DC: Yep. I thought it was the third quarter.
Q. It might have been. How has your relationship with him kind of grown even in the season? It seems like it took you guys a bit to continue to build on.
DC: It's growing. I love Mike. And, one thing about him is his communication is so great during the games. Him and I can't grow and do that in training camp. We can't grow and do it in OTAs. You have to play real football games. You have to get on the same page when it's live bullets. I'm not even saying preseason. It's got to be regular season games where teams are really game planning and scheming to do things. For us to be on the same page to communicate about some things and hit those, we communicate about one thing. We asked Pete, hey, we like this play. He's like, okay, boom. We go into a drive second play or first play, he calls it. We hit it. That not only builds our relationship, but it builds the relationship with the coaching staff and the trust. And the trust has grown for everybody. But, you can only do that with real games. And to do it in a hostile place like this against a good defense is always fun.
Q. What did you see on the touchdown to Foster?
DC: Without getting too schematic, it was just a good look for the play. And, it was a great design by Pete. Pete puts the players into good position, and Foster and the offensive line made an amazing effort to get into the end zone. I thought that was a big drive for us. To go down there -- we're winning the game, but to go down there, punch it in and get another touchdown -- and it's not even about the Patriots. It was about us and in that moment for us to punch it in, build that confidence – I thought it was great.
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Alvin Kamara, RB
(On how it felt to set the Saints all-time touchdown record)
"I hate to sound boring about it, but I just wanted to win. It feels good. I'm happy because my teammates were so hyped about it. I'm in a blessed position because it's like my teammates almost wanted it more for me."
(On how the running game helped the team in the red zone today)
"We talked about it during the week. When we can run the ball efficiently, it just opens everything up. We were collaborating today. We have too many playmakers to be a bad offense and I think today was a good example of what we can do when we are collaborating."
(On if today's game was closer to the standard they can play at)
"In the seven years I've been here, offensively, we are used to operating at a certain level of efficiency and effort where we could score at will. When you can do that in this offense and limit the self-inflicted mistakes and penalties, the possibilities are endless. With the playmakers we have, there is enough for everybody. And as a team, when the defense is doing what they are doing, it can get ugly. It's a great feeling to go out there and put that on display."
(On what is what like last week after the loss)
"It was another work week. A win or a loss, the losses hurt, but it's the same thing. You have to have a short memory in this profession. You never want to lose, but sometimes it's easy to get stuck in that lull and worrying about what we are going to do, instead of saying, 'ok, we lost, let's flip the page and keep going forward and doing what we have to do in practice to put our best foot forward at the next game.'"
Michael Thomas, WR
(On his confidence going into each play)
"My love for the game, having a sense of urgency, knowing that my teammates need me and accountability. When I get an assignment, I know I have to get out there and execute it to make sure the play happens."
(On how important it was for the offense to get back on track)
"Very important. Every week it's going to be really important for us to play like we played today and keep building to play complementary football and do the things that we are capable of doing. This is just one game, and we will enjoy, but we know we have to get back to work and keep finding ways to get better, pay attention to details and execute and I know we'll have fun days like today."
(On the importance of collaboration between offensive players and coaches)
"Just that sense of urgency and communication. Everything we did today, I think it benefitted us in the right way. We tasted it and we want more."
(On what he said to Coach Dennis Allen during shared moment after the game)
"I just congratulated him on the victory. He coaches us hard and I know how much he wants to win. He does so many great things. As our head coach, you of course want to see him win, so to be able to shake his hand after a performance like that, hats off to him. You have to give him credit where credit is due. He did a great job today for us and I was proud of him. That is ultimately what we want to do every week so just to be able to do that, he did a tremendous job today."
Tyrann Mathieu, S
(On his pick-six)
"It feels better when we win. You can make those kind of plays earlier in the game and it doesn't necessarily help the team win. I'd probably say it feels better to win games. I just saw the ball in the air. I think the d-line was hunting all day. Any time you see a ball in the air and no one around it, you just try to get under it and really just secure the catch."
(On taking away the run game)
"We've got a really good defense. I think when we are playing well at all three levels I think it only compliments all of us. When we can stop the run, guys in the secondary show their ability. Guys like Cam [Jordan], Grando [Carl Granderson] and [Bryan] Bresee show they can get the quarterback. Vice versa. If we are covering well, those guys can pin their ears back and hunt the quarterback. We just try to play complementary level ball all three levels that way and all of us can get a taste of that success."
(On the game)
"You never want to lose two games in a row. I think as players you got to take that accountability and responsibility. I think throughout the week guys showed up doing a little bit extra, watching a little bit more film. Because you don't ever want to lose three games in a row. Not in this league. We all understand it is still kind of early in the season and we have a lot of ball left to play. You just kind of want to put your best stuff on tape. I thought coming into this game with this coaching staff, a team that it doesn't matter what's going on, they have always been a well-coached football team and this is a great environment to play in. We knew coming to this week was going to be another challenge for us. I thought we did what we were supposed to do as far as start fast and finishing strong."
Cameron Jordan, DE
(On the dominant performance)
"I always expect this type of performance, we're always striving for a perfect played game in all three phases each and every week. At some point I'm sure reporters and fans are like, 'when are those going to be played?' It seems like this week we played a close to perfect game and there were still plays we could have made. We're just going to continue working on our craft and try to get better each and every week."
(On Bill Belichick calling him one of the hardest workers in the league)
"I appreciate that. Before the game you try to tune out everything. We just lost the previous week. I'm just trying to get us a W in the win column, whatever gets us there. It has been a great part of my career to turn the page after 24 hours and look towards the next week. So the moment we got to the Monday after the loss, I'm gung-ho on zoning in on Mac Jones and his offense, and Bill Belichick, who you know is one of the most phenomenal coaches you're ever going to see, a legendary Hall of Fame coach. So if he said anything positive about me, great, I have to go earn it."
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE
(On the play of the defense, and if this was the best defensive performance he has been a part of)
"Dominant. Yeah, man. If I'm out there, I'm going to be dominant. That's it. Yeah, definitely one of them. I think a year or two ago we had another almost donut, or donut. It started from the first snap. I felt like we came out there ready to play."
(On moving forward)
"We came and got a major step forward and it's good to enjoy this win. But we have to keep taking steps forward and not look back. It's a party every win. You have to enjoy every win. It's hard to come by. Just to go out there and do what we did, it's exciting."
Ugo Amadi, S
(On the defense)
"We came with a chip on our shoulder to bounce back from last week. Not just the defense, all phases. We showed in this game what we are capable of doing each and every Sunday. That's what happens when all phases come together, especially on defense. You got the pass rush and the coverage on the back end playing together tight as one unit."
(On moving forward)
"We will stay even keeled. We will go back to work next week and get ready for another good opponent that you can't sleep on. We need to keep doing what we're doing. We don't have to be perfect, we just have to do our job."
(On the shut-out)
"This is my first time even being a part of something like that, leaving a goose egg on the scoreboard. It goes to show that not just the starters but the guys behind them are ready to go to. There was no drop off."
Malcolm Roach, DL
(On the game)
"We were just prepared, because we were locked into the little details, We knew we had to come to work and we knew that the offense was going to come out and we needed to give our best shot. We prepared and executed the game plan. We got after the quarterback and got some turnovers early and were able to put together a full game."
(On the frustration of losing last week)
"We've got to always focus on doing the little things. Not doing the little things will create big problems for you. Locking in on the little things and just being together and making sure this locker room is not going one way or the other way, and just staying together. At the end of the day, we all have one common goal, and today we accomplished it."
(On Tyrann Mathieu's interception)
"Ah, there was a lot of juice right there, when T – T [Tyrann Mathieu] you know is just a ball hawk, and he has been doing it forever. When he's able to get his hands on the ball, we know it's a possibility he's going to the crib with it, like he did today."
(On the offense staying locked in the entire game)
"I don't know what all they did. From what I can speak of, I know our scout team for the defensive line did a great job of preparing them this week. They did a great job of giving them the right looks, guys like Jack Heflin, Kyle Phillips and those guys, Niko Lalos, they do a great job on the defensive line getting those boys ready for what's coming this week."