Saints quotebook: Dennis Allen (December 7, 2018)

Defensive coordinator talks about several role players

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Friday, December 7, 2018

How do you characterize Kurt Coleman’s role? Sean said it varies on defense you’re in, the opponent, offense and other factors?

“I think he’s doing a good job for us. As with every week, each offense, a lot of times each week, their personnel dictates who we play or who we put out in the field in certain situations. Like last week, we had a little bit more regular 21 and 12 (personnel) with Dallas, so there’s a little bit more there for Kurt. I think the good thing for us is that we feel comfortable with the safeties that we have and being able to use them in several roles. I think he’s doing a really good job for us, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and there’s certainly a role for him to help us win”

What do you think it is about Alex Anzalone’s skillset that lends itself to some of these big plays he makes?

“Number one, I’d say he’s a really intelligent football player. He has real good instincts out there on the football field. When you combine that with his athletic skillset, he’s big, long, has a lot of range and is athletic. He moves really well, runs good, has good change of direction in space, so I think when you combine an athletic player with a highly intelligent player, big plays tend to happen.”

Did that week one game at all shape how you wanted to turn this defense around and your vision for it?

“I don’t know if that shaped anything. Obviously we felt like we had a bad day at the office. They played exceptionally well and so you learn from those experience and try to grow from those experiences. That happens in our league. One game doesn’t define a football team, certainly doesn’t define one side of the football or the other. We just regroup, keep working and look to get better each and every week. We continue to do that and I think we’re playing some pretty good football right now.”

Is there any underlying theme you’ve seen in the last few weeks with keeping those point totals down?

“I think the biggest thing is we’ve limited the amount of explosive plays and so when you make offenses have to go the long hard way and continue to drive the ball down the field, there’s more opportunities for us as a defense to make a play. I think we’ve done a much better job the last few weeks of creating takeaways. I think we’ve done a really good job of  creating pressure on the quarterback that last couple weeks. That’s helped lead to some of the takeaways.”

When you’re on a team like this that’s having a ton of success, does it lend itself to other organizations wanting to come looking in and talking to assistants about head coaching jobs?

“Certainly in our league, all of us benefit from team success and so that’s kind of really been our main focus. I think we have an exceptional staff here. I think defensively I’m really pleased with all of our guys. They’ve done a great job with their groups. We all reap the benefits of our teams’ success.”

Big picture wise having been around the league with the evolution of offenses, how have you had to adapt to the video game like production of offenses on a weekly basis?

“The evolution of the quarterback position has changed our game a little bit. You see more and more of these quarterbacks that have the ability to create plays with their feet which adds an extra dimension to the offense, extra challenge to the defense. Some of the scheme things that you’re seeing with these RPOs really create some issues with a defense. Because, what offenses are doing now is, you used to be able to load the box in being able to help defend the run game but now with the ability to leave an unblocked player at times and run some of these zone reads and some of these RPOs, kind of evens out the numbers for the offense a little bit. I think schematically some of the things these offenses are doing it’s almost like college football back in the day with the triple option and those type of things. There’s some of those elements that are involved in our game now. Some of it has to do with the type of quarterbacks you’re seeing in the league now.

As a former college defensive back, how has it become tougher with league rules making it harder on defensive backs?

“Certainly the rule changes have helped offenses in terms of illegal contact down the field, hits on defenseless players and certainly there’s a lot of rules in our game. Let’s face it, offense sells. People love to see high-flying offenses. I think it’s been good for the league. It’s been a challenge defensively, but I think our job as defensive coaches is adapt to the changes, teach our guys the right way to play fundamentals and technique to give ourselves a chance against the things we’re seeing.”

What have you seen from P.J. Williams as far as the confidence he’s showing now and how he’s grown this season?

“P.J.’s done a real outstanding job for us. Again, a lot like what I was talking about with Alex (Anzalone), P.J.’s really intelligent, he’s really smart and understands how to operate inside in that nickel position. He understands leverage and when we ask him to play receivers, he knows where his help is. He knows zone coverage and how teams are tyring to attack him. You can win a lot of games and do a lot of good things with highly intelligent players. I think P.J.’s had some success. That builds your confidence and allows you to come out and play more freely and aggressive.”

On the evolution of quarterbacks, do you think it’s less of a taboo for someone of a player like Drew Brees’ height coming out of college today to come in and maybe be given more of an opportunity than Drew was initially?

“I don’t know that. Certainly we’ve seen quarterbacks in our league in all shapes and sizes. There’s a couple of aspects of the quarterback play that tends to lend to playing at a high level. Intelligence would be number one. Guys that can make good, quick decisions. Then I think secondly is the ability to throw the ball accurately. Guys that can do that can have success in our league for a long time. Then, when you’re able to incorporate some of the athletic skillsets from the quarterback position now, I think that really bodes well for that position and makes it a challenge defensively.”

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