The Oakland Raiders have finally found their new head coach, hiring current Broncos defensive coordinator and former Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen just hours ago.
Allen was hired by the Broncos a year ago to become their new defensive coordinator under new head coach John Fox. Denver was in a re-building mode post Mike Shanahan, moving forward with new VP John Elway calling the shots.
He converted the Broncos defense from a 3-4 unit into a 4-3 unit in an abbreviated off-season, and while they got off to a rough start, his defense improved dramatically late in the season and was a large reason the team made the playoffs with an 8-8 regular season record.
Before moving on to Denver Allen served as the Saints secondary coach from 2008-2010. Under his guidance the secondary was one of the best in the NFL in 2009 at taking away the football, and free safety Darren Sharper enjoyed a record setting nine interception season.
Following the 2009 season the secondary declined in consideration to how may turnovers were generated, but overall defense went up as the unit ranked as the NFL’s fourth best passing defense (193.9 yards per game).
Assistant coach Tony Oden was promoted to replace Allen when he left for the Broncos, and without Allen the secondary took a step back under Oden in 2011 ranking 30th overall in passing defense (259.8 yard per game).
Currently the Saints are looking for another secondary coach as Oden was hired away by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the same role last week.
Allen will be replacing Hugh Jackson as head coach in Oakland, who was fired by GM Reggie McKenzie just days after McKenzie was hired to revive the struggling franchise.
The Raiders have gone through seven head coaches since 2001 — Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, and Hue Jackson – so Oakland is surely hoping Allen is the man that can last in the coaching “black hole”.