Roughly two weeks ago, New Orleans opted to move on from the well-respected Rob Ryan and turn things over to ex-Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, whom many felt was the team’s DC-in-waiting all along. While the Saints’ defense was solid in Ryan’s first year with the team, the unit struggled last year, ranking 31st overall in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, including dead last against the run. This year, the New Orleans defense was dead last in DVOA through ten weeks under Ryan and his gorgeous grey locks.
This week, Allen chatted with local media for the first time since taking over the position. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, courtesy of Christopher Dabe of The Times-Picayune.
On his overall reaction to being the new defensive coordinator in New Orleans:
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.
On whether he expected to eventually become the Saints’ DC after joining the staff:
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.
On whether there was ever any confusion within the players of who was in charge of the defense between him and Ryan:
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.
On whether he’ll be more aggressive than his predecessor:
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.