As was reported to The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity, the New Orleans Saints have promoted Dennis Allen from defensive coordinator to head coach to possibly replace Sean Payton. The Saints had not made their chosen replacement public as of the time of the leak to The Associated Press.
The Saints chose to promote from within after also interviewing outside candidates, including former Miami coach Brian Flores, Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Allen, 49, is in his second stint with the Saints. He first joined the Saints in 2006 as an assistant on Payton’s first staff and was their defensive backs coach when they won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. He left New Orleans in 2011 to become Denver’s defensive coordinator before taking his first and only other head coaching position with the Oakland Raiders in 2012.
He was fired by the Raiders four games into the 2014 season and returned to the Saints as a senior defensive assistant in 2015 before eventually taking over as defensive coordinator late that season when Payton fired Rob Ryan.
The Saints have ranked in the top seven in the NFL defensively during the past two seasons, raising Allen’s profile once again as a head coaching candidate.
Should the Saints choose Allen as head coach, that should go well for them, as Allen, the team, including staff are familiar with one another.
“Just a phenomenal coach, leader,” linebacker Demario Davis said late last season. “Really understands our defense’s personnel, understanding what guys do well, understands how to put us all in position to have success, really good at understanding the opponents.”
But Allen also will inherit some new challenges and headaches. New Orleans’ quarterback position remains unsettled just one year removed from the retirement of franchise all-time passing leader Drew Brees.