Dennis Allen, Saints defense look to keep Brian Hoyer, Texans in check


With the promotion of Dennis Allen to defensive coordinator following the dismissal of Rob Ryan, the first task will be stopping a red-hot Houston Texans team with vulnerable quarterback Brian Hoyer under center.

With Rob Ryan merely an afterthought, the bye week out of the way, and the newly promoted Dennis Allen leading the charge on defense, the New Orleans Saints are back on the grind.

What’s in the past is in the past.  There’s no time to dwell on it.  The Saints are 4-6, dead last in the NFC South, and on the verge of missing out on the postseason for the third time in the last four years.

It’s “one game at a time”, right?  If that’s the case, then all the focus should be on the Houston Texans, a red-hot team riding a three-game win streak.  With a victory at home Sunday against the Saints and an Indianapolis Colts loss, the Texans can take the lead in the AFC South.

All the momentum is in Houston’s favor at the moment, which means New Orleans must come out firing on all cylinders, and on both sides of the football.  While Drew Brees and the offense will look to do their part, it will be up to newly promoted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and his department to keep the team in the game, which seemed to be a tall order for the former Rob Ryan-run unit.

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Dennis Allen’s first task as defensive coordinator will be stopping Brian Hoyer, who has been named the Texans’ starting quarterback for Sunday after passing concussion protocol from the Week 10 head injury that left him sidelined for a contest and a half.

Ups and downs is the name of the game when it comes to Hoyer’s inconsistent career.  He’ll have his good days, and then he’ll have his bad ones.  And then he’ll have his incredible days, followed by his “how is this guy even in the NFL?” ones.  He had one of his iffy days against the Saints last year when he played for the Cleveland Browns, but it was good enough to win.

Unfortunately, like last year for the Saints, opposing quarterbacks, no matter the caliber, have found prominent success in 2015.  But that was before Rob Ryan, a man blamed for everything ‘including Hurricane Katrina‘, was run out of town.

Which Brian Hoyer shows up Sunday?  Or rather, which Hoyer do the Saints allow to show up?  Will it be the 24 of 36 with 293 yards, three touchdowns, and a 119.3 passer rating Hoyer, or the get benched just one week into the season Hoyer?

As vulnerable as Hoyer is, even the Saints’ dead-last ranked defense keeping him contained would not be surprising.  Yet, he does give the Texans the best chance to win on Sunday.  But Dennis Allen, an aggressive coach with the blitz and secondary specialist, will do all he can to keep that from happening.  After all, Allen is in the driver’s seat for a permanent position as defensive coordinator — he’s just got to prove he’s the man for the job.

A big win in Houston is a start, especially if the defense exceeds expectations and keeps the Texans’ leaky offense in check.  While all hope seems to be lost for the season, it is any given Sunday.  Maybe, just maybe Dennis Allen can help get this club back on track, beginning on the road in Houston. Whether or not we see improvements, we should expect a whole new look on defense.