Ask 10 NOLA Saints fans who they want to be Sean Payton’s successor and eight or nine of them probably respond with Dennis Allen, who is the current defensive coordinator of the team. This logic makes sense, as Allen has been with the organization since 2015 when he was hired to be the defensive coordinator.
Before that, Allen had spent 2006-2010 with the team in two different roles before landing in Denver as the defensive coordinator and then getting hired as the Raiders’ head coach in 2012.
Allen’s tenure in Oakland didn’t go well. He won just eight games in less than three years and was fired after just four games in the 2014 season. He returned to the Big Easy the next season and, well, now here he is, potentially in line to get another crack at being a head coach.
Allen feels like an easy option to slot in as Payton’s successor. He was the interim head coach in the 9-0 shutout win over Tampa Bay and the players and fans love him. He’s been responsible for the major turnover from this defense, which at one time, was one of the worst in the league.
Dennis Allen might be a good fit but NOLA Saints have to conduct a search
It’s unfortunate that this news hit this week because some of these teams have been searching for their next head coach for nearly a month now. The Broncos already have their head coach for the 2022 season and it won’t be shocking if we see the other dominos fall after conference championship weekend.
Per Katherine Terrell of The Athletic, the Saints have put in requests to interview Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. The Jaguars seem to be the likely candidates to hire Leftwich, who once played quarterback there and has done a bang-up job in Tampa Bay. Glenn was with the Saints until 2020 and is someone who also makes sense.
As Terrell mentions in the tweet above, NOLA interviewed five candidates when Payton was chosen to be the guy in the Big Easy. As of now, there are just three on tap.
Ian Rapoport reported that the team is indeed planning to conduct a full search but that Allen is the favorite to land the job.
I won’t be angry if Allen becomes the next head coach of the New Orleans Saints. This post isn’t intended to say that he isn’t a good candidate to take over. I would, however, like to see the organization speak with other candidates to ensure they’re finding the best possible option to run this franchise.
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The NOLA Saints have been beyond fortunate that they haven’t had to search for a head coach in nearly two decades but all good things come to an end. They need to be open-minded and not just hand Allen the gig, even if he is the top guy on their list.