Saints’ New HC Dennis Allen Faces Tough Task

    • New Orleans' defense improved every season since he took over as defensive coordinator in 2015.
    • Allen went 8-28 while coaching the Raiders from 2012-14.

The final NFL head coaching vacancy will soon be filled. On Monday, the Saints tapped their defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen.

The 49-year-old will replace mainstay Sean Payton, who delivered the franchise’s only Super Bowl title during his 16 seasons with the team. 

Allen, the Saints’ DC since 2015, has proved to be an elite defensive mind — his unit improved every year since he took over — but is he the right choice to lead a franchise in flux in the post-Drew Brees era?  

  • In 2016, the defense ranked 31st in PPG and 27th in YPG in 2016 and jumped to 10th and 17th the following season.
  • In 2020, it was fifth in points (21.1) and fourth in yards (310.9).
  • In 2021, despite missing the playoffs, it improved to fourth in points (19.7) and was still seventh in yards (318.2).

Allen isn’t stepping into a dream scenario: The Saints are currently $76 million over the cap, the highest in the NFL, and the roster is riddled with unanswered questions — including the starting quarterback in 2022 and the futures of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

Allen went 8-28 as head coach of the Raiders from 2012-14, but there’s reason for hope: He was interim coach in Week 15 while Payton had COVID, and the Saints blanked Tom Brady for the first time since 2006.