Dennis Allen

Coaching Rumors: Moore, Dolphins, Steelers

Kellen Moore is, in fact, expected to call the Cowboys‘ plays next season, Jason Garrett said. The 29-year-old OC has yet to begin his second season as an NFL coach, but the Cowboys wanted change (without looking outside their staff to seek it).

I think it’s a great opportunity for our team and our players,” Jerry Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He has a great staff on the offensive side with him and they all have some great ideas. We have Jason sitting there as a safety net. I think it’s an ideal time to stretch out.

“I said to everybody, ‘I want those new ideas. I want them thought through far. And if they are not being implemented call me.’ But let’s get in there and do the kinds of things to get the most out of a very talented roster. Kellen has the skill, and the right attitude, and style to make this work.”

Garrett was coaching Moore as recently as the 2017 season, but the 10th-year Dallas coach said he will surround Moore with experience to help this major transition. Tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier, a longtime college OC, is expected to take on a larger role.

The coaching circuit brought some news post-Super Bowl LIII. Here is the latest:

  • Another Patriots assistant will be following Brian Flores to Miami. The Dolphins are expected to name Jerry Schuplinski as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). Schuplinski served as New England’s assistant QBs coach for the past three seasons and has been a Pats staffer for six years. The Patriots gave Schuplinski his first NFL job; prior to that, he was an assistant at Division III program Case Western Reserve for six years.
  • Dennis Allen‘s new Saints contract is a three-year agreement, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. The former Raiders HC has been the Saints’ DC since the 2015 season. His unit has gone from one of the worst in NFL history, in ’15, to one of the top groups in the league.
  • Steelers DC Keith Butler will assume more responsibility next season. The team will not replace Joey Porter as outside linebackers coach, instead having Butler directly oversee that position in addition to his defensive coordinator duties, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Butler, who will enter his fifth year as Pittsburgh’s DC after being the team’s linebackers coach for 12 years, joins OC Randy Fichtner in doubling as a position coach. Fichtner still coaches the Steelers’ quarterbacks.
  • The Giants will hire one of Rutgers’ assistant coaches, Henry Baker, as assistant defensive backs coach, James Kratch and Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com report. This is interesting because Baker accepted a job with the Scarlet Knights for the 2019 season, and it was to be his second stint at Rutgers. This will be Baker’s first NFL job, though he did receive minority coaching internships with the Lions and Giants during recent offseasons. Baker will replace Deshea Townsend, who is now with the Bears. Football Scoop first reported the hire.
  • A former Giants great, Antonio Pierce spent the 2018 season on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff. The Chiefs, however, were interested in prying Pierce away and making him their linebackers coach, per Marvez (on Twitter). But Pierce, who just wrapped up his first season as a college coach, opted to stay with the Sun Devils.

Saints To Retain DC Dennis Allen

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is expected to sign a new deal that will keep him in New Orleans, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Earlier today, reports surfaced indicating Allen was presumptive Bengals head coach Zac Taylor‘s top choice to take over as DC in Cincinnati. Allen’s contract with the Saints had expired, so the Bengals wouldn’t have had to negotiate any sort of compensation in order to land Allen. However, it appears New Orleans was able to convince Allen to stay in the role he’s held since 2015.

The Bengal weren’t the only rival club to express interest in Allen this offseason, as the Dolphins also interviewed him for their head coaching position. Allen, spent three seasons as the Raiders’ head coach, compiling an abysmal record of 8-28. But he’s respected in coaching circles, and his work with the Saints has not gone unnoticed.

Under former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, New Orleans regularly posted one of the NFL’s worst results, and the unit continued to struggle during Allen’s first full season as DC (2016), finishing 31st in DVOA, Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric. However, the Saints vaulted up to eighth in defensive DVOA in 2017 and ranked 11th this past season. New Orleans ranked 14th and 19th in points allowed and yardage allowed, respectively, in 2018.

While players such as defensive end Alex Okafor, linebacker Craig Robertson, and cornerback P.J. Williams are set to reach unrestricted free agency in March, the Saints don’t project to lose any key defensive pieces this offseason. As such, Allen could find himself in head coaching rumors again next year, provided New Orleans’ defense continues to excel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Interested In Dennis Allen For DC

The Bengals will formally announce Zac Taylor as their next head coach tomorrow, and the team has already tabbed Brian Callahan to serve as Taylor’s offensive coordinator.

There is less clarity on Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator vacancy, though a couple of big-name candidates have been mentioned as possibilities. Reports from two weeks ago suggested that Jack Del Rio and John Fox are potential targets, and now Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio has added another name to the mix.

Per Marvez (Twitter link), the Bengals are interested in Dennis Allen, who has served as the Saints’ DC since taking over for Rob Ryan during the 2015 season. Allen has rebuilt his reputation in coaching circles after a difficult stint as the Raiders’ head coach from 2012-14, and his name has popped up as a head coaching candidate in the last couple of years. His unit ranked second in the league against the run and tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks in 2018.

In a separate tweet, Marvez appears to suggest that Allen is the Bengals’ top choice for the job and that Del Rio and Fox may no longer be under strong consideration. Marvez reports that, if Cincinnati cannot get Allen, the club will turn its attention to Dom Capers, who worked as the Packers’ DC from 2009-17.

We recently learned that Allen’s contract with New Orleans is up, so he is a free agent at the moment. The Saints reportedly want to keep him, but they now have some serious competition for his services.

Regardless of whom the Bengals hire as their next defensive coordinator, it looks as though they want an experienced candidate to pair with rookie head coach Taylor and rookie offensive coordinator Callahan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Dennis Allen, Dan Campbell On Expiring Contracts

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell are on the last year of their respective deals, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). New Orleans wants to keep both men on board, so the club will have some work to do when its season is over.

Allen flopped as the Raiders’ head coach earlier this decade, but his run with New Orleans has been largely successful. He replaced Rob Ryan during the 2015 season as the team’s interim defensive coordinator and was retained the following offseason. The Saints’ D has made big strides since then, and in 2018, Allen’s unit ranked second in the league against the run and tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks. He scored an interview for the Dolphins’ head coaching gig earlier this month, and while he did not land the job, he has clearly reestablished himself as a top assistant.

Campbell, meanwhile, has quickly moved up the ranks since starting his post-playing career as a coaching intern with the Dolphins in 2010. He served as Miami’s interim head coach in 2015, and he impressed during that brief run. He has been with the Saints since 2016, and while the Dolphins wanted to interview him for their HC vacancy this year, Campbell had no interest in a South Beach reunion. He did, however, have head coaching interviews with the Browns, Cardinals, and Packers, so like Allen, he is clearly a respected figure in coaching circles.

The Saints will take on the Rams in the NFC title game this afternoon, and while it seems as though New Orleans will be able to retain Allen and Campbell in 2019, there is no guarantee they will be in the Big Easy in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Coaching Notes: Bengals, Dolphins, Jets

The Bengals have already interviewed eight candidates (and attempted to meet with a ninth) for their head coaching position, but their search could expand in the coming days, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cincinnati has interest in assistants who were coaching during Wild Card weekend, but preferred not to disturb those coaches in advance of such critical games. While no new names have yet surfaced, potential candidates who coached this weekend Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard, Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Here’s more from the AFC coaching carousel:

  • As had been expected, Richard will interview with the Dolphins and Jets today, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). “It doesn’t surprise me at all that clubs have the interest that they have in him,” said Jones. “There are no secrets in the NFL when it comes to people that can help you win football games. And he’s a winner.” Assistants preparing for a Wild Card playoff matchup aren’t allowed to interview in the week preceding said game, so Richard had to wait until Dallas completed its victory over Seattle on Saturday night. Richard is also meeting with the Buccaneers on Sunday.
  • In a bit of record-keeping, the Dolphins announced that they completed their head coaching interview with Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen on Saturday, while the Browns did the same with Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Allen, 46, flopped as the Raiders’ head coach earlier this decade, but has transformed New Orleans’ defense from a laughingstock to a respectable unit over the past four seasons. Flores, meanwhile, interviewed for only one head coaching job in 2018 (Cardinals), but has lined up four sit-downs in the 2019 cycle (Broncos, Packers, and Dolphins in addition to Browns).
  • Broncos offensive line coach Sean Kugler and linebackers coach Reggie Herring are drawing interest from around the league, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. However, both assistants are still under contract with Denver, and the Broncos presumably won’t let either leave until their new head coach decides if he wants to retain them. Kugler, previously the head coach at UTEP, joined Denver in 2018 and guided a Broncos front five which ranked as a top-12 unit in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. Herring came to Denver in 2015 after having coached with Houston, Dallas, and Chicago.

Coaching Notes: McCarthy, Jets, Saints, Lions, Falcons

Mike McCarthy will be interviewing for the Jets‘ head coaching vacancy today, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). We previously heard that the organization was going to interview the former Packers head coach.

The two sides seem like a logical pairing. Considering McCarthy’s connection with future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the organization would seemingly see him as a fit with rookie Sam Darnold. Meanwhile, McCarthy would surely be attracted by the team’s $100MM+ in cap space.

We heard earlier this week that McCarthy was looking to stay close to his two high-school aged stepchildren in Green Bay. That would be a positive for suitors like the Jets and Browns, and it may explain why McCarthy ultimately wasn’t interested in the Cardinals gig.

Let’s check out some more coaching rumblings from around the NFL…

  • It will be a busy day for Saints coaches. As Albert Breer tweets, assistant head coach Dan Campbell will be meeting with the Packers and CardinalsDennis Allen is interviewing with the Dolphins, and Pete Carmichael will be meeting with Green Bay. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport provides an update (via Twitter) on Patriots linebackers coach (and de facto defensive coordinator) Brian Flores, who will be meeting with the Browns and Broncos today.
  • Lions general manager Bob Quinn made it clear that he isn’t in any rush to find a replacement for former offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. “There’s no timetable,” Quinn said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “We’re just going to get this right. There’s no rush. The way this works in the NFL is you can’t talk to people that are employed by other teams, so there’s a waiting period if teams are still playing. So our candidate pool is pretty wide right now, so we’re going to keep it wide until it narrows down and then we’ll go hire the right guy.” Quinn also noted that the decision will “primarily” be made by head coach Matt Patricia.
  • Similarly, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn won’t be making a decision on a new offensive coordinator in the upcoming days. “I would say there’s nothing to announce today,” Quinn said (via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure). “I’m not going to put like two weeks or a week [on it], but it’s not in the next few days.” Quinn also noted that quarterback Matt Ryan may have a say in the who gets hired. “Well, I think Matt has input because of his familiarity with the offense,” Quinn said. “But as far as going to select people, that’s not part of his influence. … He has a part of it, but not part of who, if that makes sense.” The Falcons fired all three of their coordinators (offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong) earlier this week. The team has reportedly interviewed former Falcons coordinator Mike Mularkey for the offensive position, and they’re also eyeing former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Dolphins Request Interview With Dennis Allen

The Dolphins requested permission to speak with Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This marks Allen’s first known interview for a head coaching job in this cycle. 

Allen replaced Rob Ryan during the 2015 season as the interim defensive coordinator in New Orleans and was retained the following offseason. The Saints’ D has made big strides since then, so it’s no surprise that Allen is in the mix for a move back up the ladder.

In 2018, the Saints’ defense ranked second in the league against the run and tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks. Allen may have to explain what went wrong in Oakland – he went 8-26 in two-plus years – but his recent results are impressive and could vault him into the top job in Miami.

The date of Allen’s Miami interview is yet to be determined. For now, Allen will focus on getting the Saints ready for their Jan. 13 home playoff game against either the Cowboys, Seahawks, and Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 NOLA.com 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 CBSSports.com. 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.