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Dennis Allen’s hope for Saints defense is execution and a fast start against 49ers

Nuggets from Dennis Allen’s Friday afternoon press conference with the New Orleans media.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints defense has been notoriously known for being a train wreck three out of the last four seasons, and things started much of the same in 2016 despite the upgrades. However, over the past few contests they’ve started to find a groove and are closer to getting some key pieces back.

Saints 2016 defensive performance under Dennis Allen

OAK at NO NO at NYG ATL at NO NO at SD CAR at NO NO at KC SEA at NO
First Downs 25 22 26 21 32 20 15
3rd Down 4-11 7-15 5-11 6-13 3-11 3-9 5-11
Total Net Yards 486 417 442 346 406 326 359
Off Plays 64 75 63 67 76 52 54
Avg Gain 7.6 5.6 7 5.2 5.3 6.3 6.6
Rushing Net 167 64 217 38 103 112 74
Passing Net 319 353 225 308 303 214 285

Chip Kelly’s 49ers are struggling at 1-6, and virtually nothing is going right in San Franciso. They’re dead last in total offense with 2,030 yards, averaging just 161.4 yards per game through the air and 290.0 total. For perspective, the Saints are the top of the class with 326.9 yards/game on offense. Don’t tell Dennis Allen numbers though, as he still sees this Sunday as a big challenge for his defense.

Here’s a few snippets from his conference call with the media on Friday afternoon.

On Colin Kaepernick:

“He presents a lot of problems as a runner, look this guy is a quarterback that’s led his team to a Super Bowl. We obviously understand what type of talent he is and what he is capable of doing. I think anytime you play a guy that has the ability to extend plays out of the pocket, that has the ability to get out on the edge and really stretch the defense it presents a lot of problems because you get guys out and have good coverage and are in good position and then the next thing you know the quarterback is out and running. You have to be careful as to how much zone you play or how much man you play and being able to have vision on this guy when he does begin to scramble around.”

Importance of starting fast on the road:

“I think the biggest thing for us is it’s not anything that you are going to do on game day. It is more about what you’re going to do during the week and your preparation and understand what type of offense we’re going to face, what challenges we face with this offense and be able to anticipate the types of things that you’re going to see, really I think it’s more about what you do during the week and how you prepare, regardless of where you play the game. I don’t think that really matter. I think it’s more about your preparation and getting ready to play an opponent.”

Combating the pace of Kelly’s offense:

“It is obviously a challenge because you don’t see that every week. I think the biggest key is being able to create some short possessions where we are able to create some three-and-outs or we are able to get off the field when we get the opportunity. I think that is one of the biggest things that we have stressed this week is trying to win the early down efficiency, create some third-and-longer situations and then when we do get them in those situations, we got to be able to convert and get off the field.”

Allen added that they’ll pay close attention to what the 49ers do offensively and what kind of personnel they employ. As he pointed out, their squad has had a bye week to prepare, and with Kaepernick leading for the past two game that the understanding is there of what he can and can’t do. All Allen wants his defense to do in this one of is to come out and execute, and start fast.