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Dennis Allen hired to be New Orleans Saints next head coach

Vincent Frank

Nearly a decade after his previous head coaching gig with the then-Oakland Raiders went up in flames, Dennis Allen has been given another opportunity.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Allen has been notified by the New Orleans Saints that he is their choice to replace the recently-departed Sean Payton in that role.

The Saints’ defensive coordinator since midway through the 2015 season, Allen was always the logical choice to replace Payton in the Bayou. He was picked over fellow finalists Aaron Glenn, Eric Bieniemy and Brian Flores.

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Dennis Allen gets new lease on life with the New Orleans Saints

New-Orleans-Saints-Dennis-Allen
Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already seen Allen lead the New Orleans Saints once before, on an interim basis. After Payton tested positive for COVID-19, Allen stepped in as head coach against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On a primetime stage, with the Saints’ offense doing nothing, Allen’s defense held Tom Brady to 184 net passing yards, recorded four sacks and shut out one of the NFL’s best offenses. In the last four regular-season meetings against Tampa Bay, Allen’s scheme held Brady to a 71.45 passer rating with 13 sacks taken and eight interceptions. 

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In a search for Payton’s replacement, continuity and relationships inside the locker room played an important factor. Allen has spent the last seven seasons in New Orleans, overseeing one of the league’s top defenses through yearly salary-cap releases and roster overhaul. He’s also someone Cam Jordan, one of the Saints’ leaders, doesn’t want to leave.

As for Allen himself, he boasted a 8-28 record with the Raiders from 2012-14– finding himself fired four games into that final campaign. Now 49, Allen has gained more experience and maturity. He’s also leading a much more structured organization with a history of success in New Orleans.

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New Orleans Saints defensive stats under Dennis Allen

New Orleans Saints coaching candidates, Dennis Allen
Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen serves as head coach as Sean Payton has Covid-19 during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2015: 31st yards, 32nd points (took over for Rob Ryan midway through the season)
  • 2016: 27th yards, 31st points
  • 2017: 17th yards, 10th points
  • 2018: 14th yards, 14th 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 Saints’ defensive coordinator prior to him being named to head coach. This will be needed 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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