NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A week after Rob Ryan was dismissed and Dennis Allen was promoted from Saints senior defensive assistant to full-fledged defensive coordinator, the former Raiders head coach addressed the media about his preparations for the Houston Texans in Week 12.
The following is a copy of Allen's teleconference with reporters, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
What is your overall reaction to being the new defensive coordinator and the circumstances around that?
"Obviously, it is a difficult situation to be in, really for everybody that is involved. Obviously, I have strong feelings for Rob Ryan and the type of individual he is. I know that it is tough when you have a situation like this because families are involved. I think we all understand the business. I went through the same thing last year. It is part of this business and part of what we have to deal with, but we have to move forward. I am looking forward to the opportunity and I am excited about getting a chance to hopefully improve this defense."
When you first came on, was this ever a possibility in your mind, that you would become the defensive coordinator here at some point?
"No, not really. It wasn't anything that was thought about or discussed. Obviously, Sean (Payton) wanted me to come in here and I wanted to come back and be a part of it. I wanted to try to help get the defense better. All of us, players, coaches, everybody – we all have our autograph on where we are at right now as a football team, and specifically as a defense. We have gotten to work to try to change that image and that picture. I have been pleased by what the guys have done so far. We're working hard this week and worked hard over the bye week to try to get some things corrected. Hopefully, it'll show on Sunday."
What are some of the things that you are looking to implement to make those improvements?
"I think one of the things that we're focusing on is playing the game the right way and playing with that effort, that intensity and that tenacity that you have to play the game of defense with. That has been more the focus. We are going to week 12 of the season so it is not like you can just go in and just wholeheartedly change everything that you are doing schematically. What we have to do is try to give the guys a plan that they can go out and execute and try to eliminate some of the white noise or distractions for them. (We have to) make sure that they feel comfortable and ready to play, and then they have to go out and execute and they have to play. We'll do the best we can to put them in position to make some plays, and then when they have the opportunity to make a play, they have to make a play."
Will you essentially be running the same vision of the defense or will you be allowed to add to the playbook a little bit as the weeks go on?
"I think just like you do every week, you look at what offenses are doing and how they're attacking teams, and you've got to adjust your game plan accordingly. We have certain principles that we believe in and those core values and core principles won't change. There may be a few things that might be a little bit different. Obviously, my personality and how I call a game is probably different than Rob's personality was calling a game or anybody's personality calling a game. I am sure that might differ in some ways. The base of who we are and what we do, from a schematic standpoint, I wouldn't think would change a ton."
Do you think there was ever any confusion within the players of who was in charge of the defense when you and Rob were together?
"You'd have to ask the players that. I don't have the answer to that question. I don't think that was the case. I think I tried to make it as clear as possible that Rob was in charge, and Rob was in charge."
Will you be more aggressive?
"I think we'll play the game how we feel the game plays out. I am sure there'll be some situations in a game that'll call for some aggressive calls, and they'll be some situations in a game that'll call for a little bit more coverage or a little bit more relaxed."
The fact that you were in charge of the third down package, does that help at all if you want to implement some changes in how you guys do things on other downs?
"We game plan as a staff and we'll continue to game plan as a staff. We'll do the things that we think give us the best opportunity to have success, and then we'll go out on Sundays and try to execute it."
How much easier is this transition for you given the fact that you've coached with Sean, Joe Vitt and Bill Johnson before this season?
"There's certainly some familiarity with myself and several of the guys on staff, including the head coach (Sean Payton). I think any time you get that situation, it makes it a little bit easier. We've been in this thing for 10 weeks so it wouldn't matter who was in here. There is no newness to the deal. We have a job to do and we have to try to do the best we can to get it executed."
How much do you think health's hurt what you guys have been able to do defensively?
"I think with every team, I think health is always an issue. That is a factor throughout the National Football League. Obviously, with the injuries that we have had at linebacker, it has been a challenge for us to adjust to a few things, and we've got some guys that have come in during the season that are now being asked to play a larger role. That's the nature of the business in the National Football League. It is a "next-man up" mentality. We are all professionals here and we all have a job to do, coaches and players. It is our job to go out there and execute on Sundays."