Saints may incorporate more hurry-up offense into scheme

Published 8:00 am Monday, October 23, 2023

By John DeShazier

New Orleans Saints

The hurry-up offense that was beneficial to the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night possibly will be used more for the team in coming weeks, Coach Dennis Allen said Friday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Saints have a few extra days off after having played Jacksonville on Thursday in the Caesars Superdome, a 31-24 loss that dropped New Orleans to 3-4. In the fourth quarter, New Orleans rallied to score 15 points (two touchdowns and a two-point conversion) totaled 134 yards, 63 and 33 percent, respectively, of the numbers it accumulated in those categories for first three quarters.

The Saints rallied to tie the score at 24 with the outburst, then surrendered the lead to Jacksonville on a 44-yard touchdown pass with 3:08 left, and managed to scurry from their 25-yard line to the Jaguars’ 6 before stalling out with four incompletions.

“Typically, when you get into one of those two-minute, hurry-up situations, there’s a smaller menu of plays,” Allen said. “There’s a number of plays that we can get to and a lot of times, (quarterback) Derek (Carr) is getting to – based on what he’s been seeing – the best play for that look.

“And at the same time there’s communication coming in from (offensive coordinator) Pete (Carmichael) on the sideline, ‘Hey, you might want to get to this,’ or, ‘You might want to get to that.’ So he’s giving him some menu options, and I would say that that’s extremely common in our league when you’re in those situations and you’re going uptempo like that.”

Allen said the increased tempo proved beneficial, but that it isn’t viable as a full-time offense. In the fourth quarter, Carr completed 10 of 18 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown; overall, he completed 33 of 55 for 301 yards and a touchdown, with an interception. His touchdown pass was a 17-yarder to Michael Thomas, Thomas’ first touchdown of the season.

“There’s no question, I felt like that was something that jump-started the offense a little bit,” Allen said. “We kind of got going there. Maybe that’s something that can benefit us as we continue to go through this season. There’s a lot of time for us to continue to work to get better – we’re seven games into the season, we’re not even at the halfway point. And yet, we know that we’ve got to play better.

“Coming out of that game, I thought there were some encouraging things in terms of our ability on offense and things that we can do. We saw what we can be offensively. I think we’ve got to really evaluate what we’re doing in those situations and see how much we can incorporate that into a weekly occurrence.

“And yet, as I said (Thursday) night, you’re not going to be able to play every game throwing the ball 55 times or playing every game in a two-minute offense where you’re throwing the ball every down. That’s doesn’t lead to a lot of success in our league over a long period of time. I think that’s something that can be a part of it, and yet I don’t think that’s something that can of becomes who you are on a play in, play out basis.

“Also one of the things you see when you go fast, it limits what you can do, and yet I also think it limits a little bit in terms of what the defense can do. Sometimes you don’t see as many exotic looks and things of that nature. But I think that’s a balance in your offense where you can incorporate some of that, and yet not be that way all the time.”

Allen said other changes possibly will be incorporated over the weekend as the Saints prepare for a road game next Sunday against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“I wouldn’t say that we’ve made any decisions on that at this point, and yet, I wouldn’t say that we’ve ruled anything out at this point,” he said. “We’ll take some time here over the next couple of days and kind of look at where we’re at – offense, defense, kicking game – what do we need to do better, how do we need to do better.

“I think we’ve identified the challenges, but it’s not about identifying the challenges. It’s about finding the solutions to those challenges. That’s what we’ve got to work on, that’s what we’ve got to get accomplished.”