The final head coaching vacancy has been filled. The Saints have informed defensive coordinator Dennis Allen that he’ll be the team’s new head coach, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
Allen was thought to be the favorite for the gig considering his familiarity with the franchise and the continuity he’d provide in a post-Sean Payton era. As SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan reports (on Twitter), Allen isn’t expected to make many (if any) changes to the coaching staff, while Albert Breer of TheMMQB notes (on Twitter) that the new HC also has a strong relationship with the scouting department.
The 49-year-old’s coaching career started in Atlanta, but he took on a bigger role once he moved to New Orleans, eventually becoming their secondary coach (which saw him earn his lone Super Bowl ring). He later became the Broncos defensive coordinator before getting hired as the Raiders head coach in 2012.
His tenure with Oakland didn’t last very long. Early on in his third season in charge, he was fired, and he finished his tenure as head coach with an 8-28 record. Allen ended up returning to the Saints, and after a brief stint as a senior defensive assistant, he became their defensive coordinator in 2015.
In his seven seasons in the role, Allen rehabilitated his image. He was on the HC radar last offseason, and he was a candidate for the Bears head coaching gig this cycle. Once Payton left New Orleans, he seemed like a natural replacement for the Saints. While he received some strong competition from the likes of Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores (per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter), Allen was ultimately chosen as the 11th full-time head coach in franchise history.