The New Orleans Saints were in an unfamiliar situation last offseason when Sean Payton decided to step away from the organization. They hired Dennis Allen, who had been the team's defensive coordinator since 2015, and so far, things aren't going well.
Now, it's worth noting that the Saints were late to the party when it came to finding a head coach. By the time Payton had announced he'd be stepping away from coaching, the other teams looking for a new head coach had already had time to talk to their favorites and establish a connection.
Still, it's hard not to look at the success other first-year head coaches are having and become frustrated.
Did the Saints make a mistake in hiring Dennis Allen?
The biggest success story so far is easily what Brian Daboll has done for the Giants. They're 5-1 and look like a totally different team than they have over the past five or six years. Daboll has been the difference there and he's helping that team win games even with Daniel Jones at quarterback.
Another success story has been what Kevin O'Connell has done for the Vikings. They're also 5-1 and the Saints got to see them first-hand in London during the Week 4 tilt with Minnesota. Coaching proved to be the difference in that one.
Mike McDaniel of the Dolphins had the 'Fins off to a 3-0 start but quarterback injuries now have them at 3-3. Still, McDaniel absolutely showed that he can run a franchise and had the Dolphins as one of the early-season favorites in the league.
The Saints interviewed Doug Pederson but he ended up joining the Jaguars. After three weeks, Pederson had the Jags at 2-1 and surprising favorites to win the AFC South but since then, the Jags have lost three games and now sit at 2-4 on the year. Still, it's clear that Pederson has made an impact with the young guys in Jacksonville and he could have been exactly what New Orleans needed in the post-Sean Payton era.
First-year head coaches like Todd Bowles and Josh McDaniels were never going to be realistic options for the Saints but that doesn't look to be a bad thing early on. The Bucs look off so far this year while the Raiders have just one win on the year. I will say that the Raiders don't look as bad as their record indicates they are but you're are what your record says you are.
The only head coaches that are arguably worse than Allen so far through six games are Matt Eberflus of the Bears, Nathaniel Hackett of the Broncos, and Lovie Smith of the Texans. The Bears and Broncos both have two wins as of this writing (this was written before Denver's Monday night game), which matches NOLA's two wins. The Texans have just one win but Smith knew that was going to be a bad team when he accepted the job.
Allen has not been great so far into the season but he's certainly not the worst possible option. Pederson would have been a good fit for this team and his offensive background could have really helped this team get things going quicker.
I'm not out on Dennis Allen yet but it's been a disappointing start for a team that had playoff aspirations before the season began. Injuries have been a major problem for New Orleans early on but Allen certainly isn't impressing anyone six games into his Saints head coaching career, especially when you look at what Daboll and O'Connell are doing.
What are your thoughts on Dennis Allen through six games?