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New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen on Monday didn’t back off the sentiments he shared Sunday following an 18-17 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., where New Orleans carried a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
“After going back and evaluating the tape, the second half of the game wasn’t what we needed it to be or wanted it to be,” Allen said. “We’ve got to be better in those situations. Losing a 17-point lead like that is not something that should happen in our league.
“And we had some opportunities to take advantage of a couple of things, and we didn’t execute as well as we needed to. We’re back in here today, we made a lot of tough corrections and we’ll be better (Sunday).”
After playing the last two games on the road, the Saints (2-1) will return to the Caesar Superdome for Sunday’s game against NFC South Division rival Tampa Bay (2-0 heading into Monday night’s game vs. Philadelphia).
New Orleans experienced across-the-board slippage during the second half Sunday, particularly in the fourth quarter. Perhaps the largest concern revolves around quarterback protection; starter Derek Carr was sacked three times – he was knocked out of the game in the third quarter after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder on the third sack – and his replacement, Jameis Winston, was sacked once. Allen said Carr’s injury is a week-to-week scenario, and much will depend on Carr’s pain tolerance and if his functionality allows for effectiveness.
For the season, Carr has been sacked 11 times in less than 11 quarters and the Saints have surrendered 12 sacks. Much of the opposing damage has occurred in obvious passing situations.
“Ultimately, those things start up front,” Allen said. “I think we’ve done a good job of identifying where we’re going, and I don’t know that we’ve always gotten to those spots every time. We had some plays in the game that got us ahead of the sticks, and yet, then there’s a penalty of some sort that then puts you back into a negative situation.
“Obviously, that’s something that we’ve got to get cleaned up. I recognize that everybody is frustrated with that, and yet, we are, too. And we know that that’s an area that we’ve got to improve.
“It’s harder to get the ball out quick a lot when you’re in longer yardage situations. If you’re trying to get the ball down the field any at all, which you kind of need to do sometimes in these longer yardage situations, you need a little bit more time to be able to do that.”
Allen said ultimately, it comes down to fundamentals and technique.
“Sometimes, you get beat in our league,” he said. “That happens. But yet, we’ve got to be better on a more consistent basis. It certainly has happened too many times this season and we’ve got to be better at it.”
A.K. IS B.A.C.K.: All-Pro running back Alvin Kamara returned to the practice facility Monday, having completed his league-imposed, three-game suspension.
“He’s an important part to our offense,” Allen said. “He has an explosive element to his game, and we’re glad that we’ve got him back.”
RUIZ UPDATE: Right guard Cesar Ruiz, who left Sunday’s game with a concussion, is in concussion protocol. “We’ll see how he does this week,” Allen said.
When Ruiz left the game, left guard James Hurst flipped over to right guard, and Andrus Peat entered the game to play left guard.
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