Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles and New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen both faced difficult circumstances entering the 2022 NFL season. Despite a year that has fallen short of expectations for both franchises, neither coach seems in danger of being fired.
When Bruce Arians retired in March, Tampa Bay immediately named Bowles as its full-time head coach and signed him to a new contract. The Buccaneers wanted stability after Tom Brady returned and their defensive-minded coach offered it.
- Todd Bowles coaching record: 32-49 with three teams
Allen found himself in a similar situation. When Sean Payton suddenly announced he was taking a hiatus, New Orleans immediately launched into an extensive coaching search. After interviewing several candidates from other clubs, the Saints promoted their defensive play-caller to lead the franchise.
Neither team has lived up to expectations this season. While the Buccaneers lead the NFC South, their 6-8 record places them 18th in the NFL standings. New Orleans didn’t have expectations of reaching the Super Bowl this season, but its 5-9 record has sparked calls for a rebuild. As disappointing seasons near a conclusion, it appears neither coach is in danger of being fired.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote on Dec. 14 that he expects both Allen and Bowles to remain NFL head coaches in 2023, with neither defensive-minded coach currently viewed as being on thin ice.
“I do not get the sense that the two other disappointing coaches in the NFC South, Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles and New Orleans’ Dennis Allen, are on shaky ground, but it wouldn’t surprise me if both of them (assuming they’re kept) made the kinds of coaching staff changes they didn’t make when they ascended to their posts last offseason.”Dan Graziano on New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles
While Bowles is the face of Tampa Bay’s coaching staff this season, the responsibilities have been split this year. He is largely focused on the defense and managing head-coaching duties, while Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich design and execute the offense.
Coming out of a Week 15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay’s defense has allowed the seventh-fewest total yards per game (314.7), the seventh-lowest yards per play (5.1) and held opponents to a 37.7% third-down conversion rate (10th in NFL).
On the other side, Brady and Leftwich are at the helm for an offense that ranks 28th in scoring (17.6 PPG), 20th in third-down conversion rate (37.8%) and 18th in yardage (342.7 total ypg).
Related: NFL defense rankings
Brady’s departure from Tampa Bay likely won’t be the only change made. Leftwich and running backs coach Todd McNair could be dismissed, as part of necessary adjustments to turn the team around next season.
Evaluating Dennis Allen’s likely changes to New Orleans Saints coach staff
Just like Bowles, Allen inherited the Saints’ coaching staff and didn’t make any real changes. With Payton out of the picture, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has stepped in as play-caller this season.
The results speak for themselves. The Saints’ offense ranks 21st in scoring (20.4 PPG), 17th in total yardage (343.8 total ypg) and it sits 19th in red-zone touchdown rate (52.4%). While injuries on the offensive line and to skill players (Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas) have played a part in that, it’s evident the current system isn’t working.
- Dennis Allen coaching record: 13-37 with two teams
An outside hire seems to be the best possible solution. While Allen could promote someone currently on the staff, there isn’t an obvious name that stands out as a quality hire.
As a result, Allen’s best play and the one that might give him the best shot at serving as the Saints’ head coach beyond the 2023 season will be finding a top quarterbacks coach or pass game coordinator from one of the NFL’s best offenses. An opportunity to take control of play-calling duties for an offense with Kamara, Thomas, Chris Olave and Juwan Johnson will attract plenty of interest.