Saints name defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as new head coach

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Nearly a decade after his previous head coaching gig with the then-Oakland Raiders caught fire, Dennis Allen was given another opportunity.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter , Allen was told by the New Orleans Saints that he was their choice to replace the recently deceased Sean Payton in this role.

The Saints’ defensive coordinator since the middle of the 2015 season, Allen was always the logical choice to replace Payton in the bayou. He was chosen over fellow finalists Aaron Glenn, Eric Bieniemy and Brian Flores.

Dennis Allen comes back to life with the New Orleans Saints

We’ve seen Allen lead the New Orleans Saints once before, on an interim basis. After Payton tested positive for COVID-19, Allen became head coach against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In prime time, with the Saints’ offense doing nothing, Allen’s defense held Tom Brady to 184 net passing yards, recorded four sacks and shutout one of the best offenses in the NFL. In the past four regular season meetings against Tampa Bay, Allen’s scheme has kept Brady at 71.45 passer rating with 13 sacks taken and eight interceptions.

In the search for Payton’s replacement, continuity and relationships inside the dressing room played an important role. Allen has spent the past seven seasons at New Orleans, overseeing one of the best defenses in the league thanks to annual salary cap releases and roster revamps. He’s also someone Cam Jordan, one of the Saints’ leaders, doesn’t want to leave.

As for Allen himself, he went 8-28 with the Raiders from 2012 to 2014, finding himself dismissed four games this past campaign. Now 49, Allen has gained more experience and maturity. He also runs a much more structured organization with a history of success in New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints defensive stats under Dennis Allen

  • 2015: 31st yards, 32nd points (replaces Rob Ryan mid-season)
  • 2016: 27 yards, 31 points
  • 2017: 17 yards, 10 points
  • 2018: 14 yards, 14 points
  • 2019: 11th yards, 13th points
  • 2020: 4th yards, 5th points
  • 2021: 7th yards, 4th points

As you can see, it was a gradual improvement for Allen as the defensive coordinator for the Saints before he was named head coach. That will be necessary moving forward given the Saints’ question marks at quarterback and with the team boasting the worst salary cap situation in the NFL right now.

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