Dennis Allen

Saints Retain Dennis Allen As DC

FEBRUARY 2nd: The Saints have formally announced that Allen will stay on as the team’s defensive coordinator. They have also confirmed their other moves on the staff, including the appointment of Dan Campbell as tight ends coach/assistant head coach.

JANUARY 13th: If the Saints haven’t already officially agreed to a deal with Dennis Allen to remain the team’s defensive coordinator, they’ll do so soon, says Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Allen, who replaced Rob Ryan during the 2015 season as the interim defensive coordinator in New Orleans, will be retained as the Saints’ permanent DC.Dennis Allen

[RELATED: Sean Payton to remain Saints’ head coach]

A week ago, Saints head coach Sean Payton was asked during his end-of-year press conference if Allen would be brought back as the team’s defensive coordinator, and declined to say one way or the other. However, Payton indicated at the time that Allen did a good job stepping in for Ryan, and would likely return for the 2016 season.

Allen, who was on the Saints’ coaching staff from 2006 to 2010, working with the defensive line and the secondary, earned his first defensive coordinator job with the Broncos in 2011 before becoming the head coach of the Raiders. After leaving Oakland, Allen returned to New Orleans in 2015 as a defensive assistant.

The Saints’ defense was one of the NFL’s worst in 2015, ranking 31st in the league in yards allowed per game (413.8) and dead last in points allowed per game (29.8) for the season. Still, those numbers improved slightly under Allen. In the team’s six games following the change at defensive coordinator, New Orleans gave up 395.3 yards and 26.8 points per contest.

If and when the Saints officially name Allen as their permanent defensive coordinator heading into the 2016 season, the club will become the third club this month to announce a DC hire. The Colts hired Ted Monachino and the Dolphins hired Vance Joseph within the last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Notes: H. Jackson, Browns, Rams, Allen

Earlier today, we heard that the Browns intend to interview Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson on Sunday, less than 24 hours after Jackson’s Bengals face the Steelers in Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game. Jackson won’t be the only coach interviewed by the Browns that day – Cleveland also plans to speak to Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther – and apparently the Browns won’t be the only team that meets with Jackson.

According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link), in addition to interviewing with the Browns, Jackson will also meet with the 49ers and Dolphins on Sunday. Given his full schedule, Jackson will be letting those teams come to him, conducting the interviews in Cincinnati, rather than traveling individually to meet with each of them.

Here are a few more of Wednesday’s coaching-related updates:

  • The Browns confirmed today that they’ve completed their head coaching interview with Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Next up for Cleveland? Teryl Austin, Sean McDermott, and Doug Marrone.
  • The Rams are parting ways with several assistants from their coaching staff, announcing today (via Twitter) that they won’t be renewing contracts for offensive assistant Jeff Garcia, running backs coach Ben Sirmans, wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, assistant special teams coach Paul F. Boudreau, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Adam Bailey.
  • Asked during his press conference today if Dennis Allen would keep the Saints‘ defensive coordinator job, Sean Payton wasn’t ready to announce any decisions. However, Payton praised the job Allen did as Rob Ryan‘s replacement and said there’s a good chance he’ll be back (Twitter link via Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune).

NFC South Notes: D. Allen, Falcons, Martin

As Christopher Dabe of details, new Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen received plenty of praise from head coach Sean Payton this week after the team’s win over the Buccaneers, in which New Orleans held Tampa Bay to just 17 points.

Since Payton’s future remains uncertain, it’s hard to say for sure that Allen’s job as Saints DC is safe next season — a new head coach may want to bring his own assistants. Still, if Allen finishes the season strong after taking over the NFL’s worst defense, he shouldn’t have any trouble finding work for 2016.

Here’s more from around the NFC South:

  • With the Falcons in the midst of a six-game losing streak, it’s looking more and more like owner Arthur Blank will make changes to the front office in the offseason, writes Jason La Canfora of According to La Canfora, there have been rumblings since before training camp that Seahawks executive Trent Kirchner could end up in Atlanta, working with ex-Seahawk Dan Quinn, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Kirchner replaces Thomas Dimitroff as the Falcons’ general manager.
  • Buccaneers running back Doug Martin only got 11 carries on Sunday against the Saints’ league-worst rushing defense, despite racking up 81 yards on those 11 attempts. While the Bucs’ usage of Martin was questionable, the conspiracy theory that the team is trying to limit his yardage totals to make him easier to re-sign doesn’t make sense, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes.
  • Rookie Panthers linebacker David Mayo will miss at least the next two weeks with a hamstring issue, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Mayo hasn’t played much for Carolina this season, so we’ll see if the club decides to place him on injured reserve or keep him on its roster for the playoffs.

Saints DC Dennis Allen On Rob Ryan, New Job

Roughly two weeks ago, New Orleans opted to move on from the well-respected Rob Ryan and turn things over to ex-Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, whom many felt was the team’s DC-in-waiting all along. While the Saints’ defense was solid in Ryan’s first year with the team, the unit struggled last year, ranking 31st overall in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, including dead last against the run. This year, the New Orleans defense was dead last in DVOA through ten weeks under Ryan and his gorgeous grey locks.

This week, Allen chatted with local media for the first time since taking over the position. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, courtesy of Christopher Dabe of The Times-Picayune.

On his overall reaction to being the new defensive coordinator in New Orleans:

Obviously, it is a difficult situation to be in, really for everybody that is involved. Obviously, I have strong feelings for Rob Ryan and the type of individual he is. I know that it is tough when you have a situation like this because families are involved. I think we all understand the business. I went through the same thing last year. It is part of this business and part of what we have to deal with, but we have to move forward. I am looking forward to the opportunity and I am excited about getting a chance to hopefully improve this defense.

On whether he expected to eventually become the Saints’ DC after joining the staff:

No, not really. It wasn’t anything that was thought about or discussed. Obviously, Sean (Payton) wanted me to come in here and I wanted to come back and be a part of it. I wanted to try to help get the defense better. All of us, players, coaches, everybody – we all have our autograph on where we are at right now as a football team, and specifically as a defense. We have gotten to work to try to change that image and that picture. I have been pleased by what the guys have done so far. We’re working hard this week and worked hard over the bye week to try to get some things corrected. Hopefully, it’ll show on Sunday.

On whether there was ever any confusion within the players of who was in charge of the defense between him and Ryan:

You’d have to ask the players that. I don’t have the answer to that question. I don’t think that was the case. I think I tried to make it as clear as possible that Rob was in charge, and Rob was in charge.

On whether he’ll be more aggressive than his predecessor:

I think we’ll play the game how we feel the game plays out. I am sure there’ll be some situations in a game that’ll call for some aggressive calls, and they’ll be some situations in a game that’ll call for a little bit more coverage or a little bit more relaxed.

Saints Fire DC Rob Ryan, Promote Allen

6:30pm: The Saints have fired Ryan, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). The Saints are promoting Dennis Allen to defensive coordinator, sources tell Rapoport (link). Allen had been calling the coverages anyway, he adds.

11:37am: Speaking to reporters today, head coach Sean Payton said that the Saints have not made any changes to their coaching staff at this time and that Ryan is “absolutely” still a member of the staff, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link).

Of course, that doesn’t mean Ryan will continue to hold the defensive coordinator job by the time the team’s next game rolls around. Ryan hasn’t been officially let go yet, but at least one New Orleans scribe – Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune – suggests Payton may be just “playing semantics,” adding that the head coach definitely left the door open for a change (Twitter links).

9:27am: Following the Saints’ latest defensive meltdown on Sunday in Washington, the team has decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, multiple sources tell Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The move doesn’t come as a real shock, coming off a blowout loss, with a Week 11 bye looming.

Ryan, the brother of outspoken Bills head coach Rex Ryan, had been the Saints’ defensive coordinator since the 2013 season, having previously served as the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Between those two jobs, he agreed to become the Rams’ defensive coordinator in January 2013, but resigned a few days later.

While the Saints’ defense was solid in Ryan’s first year with the team, the unit struggled last year, ranking 31st overall in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, including dead last against the run. This year, the New Orleans defense was 32nd in DVOA through nine weeks, and after the unit allowed Kirk Cousins to put up 47 points and a perfect passer rating in Week 10, that ranking surely isn’t improving.

While there’s no indication yet who will take over Ryan’s position for the rest of the season, defensive assistant Dennis Allen looks like a strong candidate. Allen, who has previous experience as a head coach and defensive coordinator, was hired by New Orleans in January to work with the defense, after having been linked to the Bears’ defensive coordinator opening.

NFC Notes: Packers, Saints, Eagles

A look around the NFC. . .

  • Although the Packers’ offense is slumping, head coach Mike McCarthy said after Sunday’s 18-16 loss to Detroit that he won’t take play-calling duties away from coordinator Tom Clements. “I like the way our staff works, and I like the way they work with our players,” McCarthy stated, per ESPN’s Jason Wilde. McCarthy called Green Bay’s offensive plays from 2006-14 before deciding to give the role to Clements this year.
  • The 4-6 Saints are entering their bye week, and Larry Holder of writes that it’s the perfect time for head coach Sean Payton to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and give Ryan’s job to defensive assistant Dennis Allen. Payton brought in Allen after Ryan’s defense finished 31st in the league last season. Led by Ryan, the Saints have allowed 130 points over the last three weeks – including 47 in an embarrassing defeat in Washington on Sunday. Afterward, Payton said that “we’re not going to discuss any of those types of changes, certainly not right now.”
  • While Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t been particularly good this year, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer submits that Sunday’s output by backup Mark Sanchez was a prime example of why nobody should call for Sanchez to take over the starting job. After an injured Bradford left the Eagles’ game against Miami with Philadelphia leading 16-13, Sanchez came in and failed to help the team to victory – even throwing a costly interception – in a 20-19 defeat. The season’s on the brink for the 4-5 Eagles, and Sielski doesn’t expect their playoff chances to stay alive for long if Bradford misses time and Sanchez has to be the No. 1 signal caller.
  • Jeff McLane of the Inquirer believes that Eagles head coach and football czar Chip Kelly‘s decision to trade for Bradford in the offseason was a worthy gamble. However, Kelly could be done in by his failure to surround Bradford with a sturdier offensive line and better receivers, McLane opines.

NFC Mailbags: Cardinals, Bucs, Vikings, Saints

We checked out’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift focus to the NFC…

  • Josh Weinfuss believes Cardinals offensive lineman Ted Larsen, Earl Watford, Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie could be moved because of the depth at their positions.
  • The Buccaneers have been active in their spot atop the waiver wire, claiming Tim Wright and D.J. Swearinger. Pat Yasinskas says the team could make five or six more claims before the start of the season.
  • If running back Doug Martin has a big season, Yasinskas thinks there’s a good chance he’d re-sign with the Buccaneers.
  • 2018 is the earliest the Vikings would have to invest a longterm contract into a quarterback, writes Ben Goessling. That means that team shouldn’t have an issue signing their younger core players, including Harrison Smith, Matt Kalil and Xavier Rhodes. The one player that the writer could see the organization move on from is wideout Cordarrelle Patterson.
  • Mike Triplett says it’s “safe to assume” that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can’t survive another bad season. If the defense continues to struggle, defensive assistant Dennis Allen could also receive part of the blame.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Saints, Panthers

Former Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik may prefer Marcus Mariota to Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in this year’s draft, but Dominik won’t be involved in that decision. On the other hand, head coach Lovie Smith will have significant input in making that call, and according to Pat Yasinskas of, early indications are that Smith likes Winston more than Mariota.

Yasinskas writes that, from what he has gathered, Tampa Bay chose Dirk Koetter over Marc Trestman as the team’s new offensive coordinator in part because Trestman preferred Mariota to Winston. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for Smith to change his mind on the draft’s top two quarterbacks, with the combine, pro days, and individual interviews still on tap, and he won’t be the only person making the decision on that No. 1 pick. But for now, it looks like Winston could be the early favorite.

Here’s more on the Bucs and a couple of their division rivals:

  • Mel Kiper of agrees with Yasinskas’ assessment, and has Winston going first overall to the Buccaneers in his latest mock draft (Insider link). As Kiper explains, he expects the Bucs to take a close look at Mariota, but he believes Tampa Bay will ultimately opt for Winston if their questions about his past off-field behavior are answered to the team’s satisfaction.
  • The Saints have officially announced their complete 2015 coaching staff, including new additions like senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen and wide receivers coach John Morton. Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune takes a closer look at the new additions, and at Allen in particular — he expects the former Raiders head coach will “undoubtedly place his mark” on Rob Ryan’s defense.
  • The Panthers confirmed a previously-reported hiring today, announcing in a press release that Cameron Turner has joined the club’s staff, and will assist Ricky Proehl in working with Carolina’s receivers.

Saints To Hire Dennis Allen, Jeff Ireland

8:40am: In addition to hiring Allen, the Saints are also bringing aboard former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland to do college scouting, a source tells Schefter (Twitter link).

8:16am: When we learned two weeks ago that the Saints intended to retain defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for the 2015 season, one report suggested that Sean Payton wanted to provide Ryan with “better pieces for success” to support him. It’s not clear yet what that means in terms of personnel, but the team has made a notable addition to its defensive coaching staff, according to Adam Schefter of, who reports (via Twitter) that the Saints are hiring Dennis Allen in a senior defensive role.

Allen, who started the 2014 season as the Raiders’ head coach before being replaced by Tony Sparano, served as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator during the 2011 season, and worked for the Saints for several years before that. Beginning in 2006, Allen acted as New Orleans’ assistant defensive line coach before shifting into a secondary coach position in 2008.

Recent reports had linked Allen to the defensive coordinator opening in Chicago, indicating that he was perhaps the frontrunner for the position. If Allen had joined the Bears, he would’ve been reuniting with head coach John Fox, who was coaching the Broncos during Allen’s brief DC stint in Denver, and GM Ryan Pace, who worked in New Orleans’ front office while Allen was with the Saints.

Instead, Allen will be tasked with helping to turn around a defensive unit that ranked fourth overall in Ryan’s first season with the team in 2013, but plummeted to 31st in 2014, both in terms of yards allowed and DVOA (per Football Outsiders).

Coach Updates: Fangio, Allen, Kromer, Tarver

The Bears have requested permission to interview ex-49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for the same position, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). Previous reports indicated Fangio was released from his San Francisco contract earlier today, so technically Chicago shouldn’t need to ask the Niners for approval. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of “continues to hear” (Twitter link) that former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is the favorite for the Bears DC job.

Here’s the latest on the coaching front…

  • The Bills have hired former Bears assistant Aaron Kromer as their offensive line coach, per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). was the first to hear the Kromer rumblings, and Ian Rapoport of tweeted the two sides were “closing in” on a deal. Additionally, Rapoport says (Twitter link) that Buffalo has also hired David Lee as its quarterbacks coach. Lee worked with new Bills coach Rex Ryan with the Jets from 2013-14.
  • After hiring his defensive coordinator earlier today, new Jets head coach Todd Bowles has added another staff member, ex-Cardinals linebackers coach Mike Caldwell (Twitter link via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic). Per Somers, Caldwell will be named an assistant head coach in New York after the Cards let him out of his contract.
  • It’s been speculated that former Raiders DC Jason Tarver could have a role on Jim Tomsula’s 49ers staff, and today Tarver interviewed for a position with San Francisco, according to Matt Maiocco of Tarver previously spent ten years with the Niners, beginning in 2001.
  • The 49ers will not retain special teams coordinator Brad Seely, reports Maiocco. Seely, a 22-year NFL coaching veteran, had been with SF since 2011. Meanwhile, Maiocco adds that the Bills have requested an interview with Niners offensive assistant Ronald Curry, who has not been fired by San Francisco.
  • The Browns continue to interview candidates for their vacant offensive coordinator position, and met with Jim Hostler today, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Hostler, currently a senior offensive assistant with the Bills, was the 49ers’ play-caller during the 2007 season.