Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen Expects To Remain Saints HC

As news continues to pour in regarding coaching and general manager changes, no such shifts seem to be looming in New Orleans. Saints head coach Dennis Allen said on Monday (via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell) that he expects to remain in place for 2024.

Like the rest of the NFC South, the Saints were the subject of speculation regarding their head coaching future throughout the year. Allen had been reported as being on the hot seat, something which came as little surprise given the team’s offensive struggles in particular. More recent signs did point, however, to Allen being safe regardless of New Orleans’ end to the campaign.

The 51-year-old was promoted to head coach in 2022 to replace Sean Payton. The move came after he had spent the past seven years on New Orleans’ staff as defensive coordinator, and that unit has remained strong over the past two campaigns. Shortcomings at the quarterback position were a talking point this past offseason, though, and the team made a major move in the form of adding quarterback Derek Carr.

By and large, the four-time Pro Bowler did not live up to the expectations generated by his four-year, $150MM pact. A number of issues contributed to his struggles early in the year in particular as he and the team’s skill-position corps dealt with injuries and the season-opening suspension to running back Alvin Kamara. New Orleans finished the year ranked only 13th in passing yards per game and 15th in total offense (although the team managed to check in at ninth in scoring).

For that reason, changes to the offensive staff have been mentioned as a distinct possibility. OC Pete Carmichael could be on the hot seat, although no firm decisions on his fate have been made yet. The Saints improved in Allen’s second year at the helm, posting a 9-8 record in 2023 after going 7-10 the year before. The veteran-laden squad was unable to win an underwhelming NFC South once again, though, which represents a point of consternation.

In spite of that, Allen (who has yet to receive an official vote of confidence at this point) appears to be on track for a third year in charge. Several key offseason decisions lie ahead, and the franchise will no doubt continue its annual tradition of signficant contract restructures this winter. While changes will be made in some capacity, continuity on the sidelines can be expected.

Saints Likely To Retain HC Dennis Allen

About three weeks after we heard that Saints head coach Dennis Allen could be on the hot seat, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of offer a contrasting view. The duo report that Allen is likely to get a third season as New Orleans’ HC in 2024.

Of course, the same caveat that these types of reports typically contain is also applicable to this situation: if there is a “late-season debacle,” the organization could elect to move on from Allen. However, barring such a catastrophe, Rapoport and Pelissero are hearing that Allen is safe for at least one more year.

At present, the Saints are 7-8 and in third place in the NFC South. However, they have the same record as the second-place Falcons and are just one game behind the first-place Buccaneers and will take on both clubs over the final two games of the season. They therefore have a real chance to win the admittedly weak division and secure a home playoff game, a scenario that would obviously boost Allen’s job security in a big way.

Regardless of whether New Orleans qualifies for the postseason, owner Gayle Benson and GM Mickey Loomis recognize the difficulties that Allen has faced — the early-season suspension of Alvin Kamara and the injuries to quarterback Derek Carr, the O-line, and the defensive front seven, for instance — and have nonetheless been unwavering in their support of him. During Allen’s run as the Saints’ DC from 2015-21, he helped transform a defense that had generally struggled prior to his arrival into a formidable unit, and it appears he still has a great deal of goodwill with the franchise’s top decision-makers.

Even if Allen is retained, some coaching changes may be on the horizon. In the earlier report indicating that Allen’s job could be in jeopardy, it was suggested that Benson and Loomis would seek a replacement with an offensive background, and Rapoport and Pelissero concede that the offensive operation will get a “thorough examination” after the season. Although they do not say so explictily, OC Pete Carmichael could be on the outs irrespective of New Orleans’ decision on Allen.

Back in October, we learned that Carmichael is on the hot seat, although the offense’s performance has improved since then. The team currently ranks in the top half of the league in terms of both total offense and points per game.

Saints HC Dennis Allen On Hot Seat?

The Saints posted a comfortable win over the Panthers on Sunday, but the 2023 season has not gone according to plan. New Orleans sits at 6-7 on the year, a mark which has the team in contention to win the NFC South. Nevertheless, signficant changes could be coming in the offseason.

Head coach Dennis Allen could be replaced this offseason, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post writes. In the event a coaching change takes place, he adds, a replacement with an offensive background would be sought out. Allen had defensive coordinator experience prior to his time at the helm of the Raiders, which was then followed by a lengthy stint on that side of the ball before his promotion to head coach of the Saints.

The 51-year-old went just 8-28 in a two-plus year run with the Raiders, and his second opportunity as a head coach has not produced a strong showing in the win-loss department. The Saints went 7-10 in 2022, the first season of the post-Sean Payton era. After seven years as defensive coordinator, Allen was tapped as Payton’s successor. A strong defensive showing ensued, but the team’s offense struggled. Similar issues have emerged in 2023.

The Saints gave Allen a vote of confidence this offseason, so it came as little surprise that he was retained in the winter. It became clear a quarterback addition was needed, though, which led to the signing of Derek Carr after the end to his Raiders tenure. The three-time Pro Bowler landed a four-year, $150MM deal from New Orleans, leading to increased expectations for team and player. The Saints have not managed to find consistent success on the ground or through the air, however, leading to middling rankings in several offensive categories.

Carr has dealt with a number of injuries this season, and he has found himself in concussion protocol twice in his debut Saints campaign. Still, this season’s mediocre run has Allen’s New Orleans HC record sitting at 13-17. A postseason berth is still very much within reach as the team jockeys with the Falcons and Buccaneers, but missing the playoffs again would no doubt increase speculation about Allen’s job security.

Notably, La Canfora adds the Saints will be a team to watch at the QB spot in April’s draft. Carr’s deal includes guaranteed salaries of $30MM in 2024 and 2025 (in the latter case, the compensation kicks in on March 17 of that year). Carr’s struggles could lead New Orleans to explore one of the many signal-callers expected to hear their names called on Day 1 of a draft headlined by Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Given the financial commitments to Carr, adding a rookie quarterback would certainly create an interesting situation at the position.

Time still remains for Allen and the Saints to show improvement down the stretch. In the absence of a notable rebound from poor showings earlier in the year, however, New Orleans will be a team to monitor in the lead-in to the 2024 head coaching cycle.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

After the 2022 offseason produced 10 new head coaches, this one brought a step back in terms of turnover. Five teams changed HCs, though each conducted thorough searches — four of them lasting until at least January 31.

The Colts and Cardinals hired their HCs after Super Bowl LVII, plucking the Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Jonathan Gannon). The Cardinals were hit with a tampering penalty regarding their Gannon search. Conducting their second HC search in two years, the Broncos saw multiple candidates drop out of the running. But Denver’s new ownership group convinced Sean Payton to step out of the FOX studio and back onto the sidelines after just one season away. The Panthers made this year’s first hire (Frank Reich), while the Texans — running their third HC search in three years — finalized an agreement with DeMeco Ryans minutes after the Payton news broke.

Only one of last year’s top 10 longest-tenured HCs lost his job. A turbulent Colts year led to Reich being fired barely a year after he signed an extension. During a rather eventful stretch, Jim Irsay said he reluctantly extended Reich in 2021. The Colts passed on giving interim HC Jeff Saturday the full-time position, despite Irsay previously indicating he hoped the former center would transition to that role. Reich landed on his feet, and after losing Andrew Luck to a shocking retirement just before his second Colts season, the well-regarded play-caller now has another No. 1 pick (Bryce Young) to mentor.

After considering a Rams exit, Sean McVay recommitted to the team and is overseeing a reshaped roster. Andy Reid also sidestepped retirement rumors, staying on with the Chiefs after his second Super Bowl win. This will be Reid’s 25th season as an NFL head coach.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2023 season:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  11. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  12. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders): January 1, 2020
  13. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  14. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  15. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  16. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  17. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  18. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  19. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  20. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  21. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  22. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  23. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  24. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  25. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  26. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  28. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers): January 26, 2023
  29. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  30. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  31. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  32. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023

Saints CBs Alontae Taylor, Paulson Adebo Competing For Starting Role

The Saints already have one starting cornerback spot spoken for with four-time Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore. The competition to determine who will line up opposite him will take place during training camp.

Alontae Taylor and Paulson Adebo are vying for a first-team role, as detailed by ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. The pair split reps with the starting defense during OTAs, allowing each to state their case as a full-time outside corner (although the former has also spent time practicing in the slot). Their performances in the summer will determine the pecking order behind Lattimore for New Orleans.

When addressing the situation, head coach Dennis Allen said, “the great thing about it, those two particular players… both of them are fully capable of being starters and playing at a high level for us, but we’re going to let that competition play out.”

Both Adebo and Taylor have already seen signficant playing time early in their respective careers. Adebo, a 2021 third-rounder, has started all but one of his 30 career appearances and logged a snap share of 94% last season, one in which Lattimore was limited to just seven contests. The latter’s injury allowed Taylor, a second-round pick, to start nine games in his rookie season.

Taylor registered 11 pass breakups and posted much better coverage statistics than Adebo during his first-team audition in 2022. Given the potential for growth both players have (each will be 24 at the start of the regular season), though, plenty remains to be determined heading into the 2023 campaign. Regardless of how the competition for the outside corner spot shakes out, each could see a notable workload since the Saints’ lone free agent CB addition was Lonnie Johnson and the team elected not to add further to the position during the draft.

Saints’ Michael Thomas Expected To Be Healthy By Training Camp

Michael Thomas is assured to be in New Orleans for at least one more season, but he has work to do to return to full health in time for the 2023 season. Training camp has been named as the target for the oft-injured wideout to reach that point.

During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Thomas will not be a full participant in the Saints’ offseason program (video link). He reiterated, however, the team’s confidence in the 30-year-old’s ability to return to his All-Pro form upon return.

“Right now, he’s still going through some of the rehab process,” Allen said. “He had some hardware removed out of that foot that he had surgery on this past season. He’s doing really well… Our anticipation is that he’ll be limited throughout this offseason. But our anticipation is that when we get to training camp, he’ll be good to go.”

Thomas was limited to three games in 2022 due to the toe injury which, as Allen noted, required surgery. The two-time All-Pro last put together a healthy season in 2019, a year in which he broke the record for receptions in a season (149) and led the league in yards (1,725). New Orleans has remained optimistic in his ability to remain highly productive when healthy, but his future appeared to be headed elsewhere after a January restructure of his contract.

However, the sides agreed to a new one-year deal with a maximum value of $15MM in March. That will give Thomas another opportunity to rebuild his value on an offense now led by quarterback Derek Carr and first-round wideout Chris Olave, who had a successful rookie campaign in 2022. Questions will naturally be raised regarding Thomas’ ability to remain healthy this season, and, if so, to once again be one of the most impactful receivers in the game.

On that point, general manager Mickey Loomis echoed Allen’s confidence that Thomas can post triple-digit catches for what would be a fourth time (Twitter link via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell). He also confirmed that the latter remains on schedule with his recovery, something which will be a key storyline to follow leading up to the season.

Saints TE Foster Moreau Could Participate In OTAs

Foster Moreau‘s return to football took an unexpected and encouraging step when he inked a deal with the Saints. That move suggests the veteran tight end will be able to suit up by the fall, but he could be on the field much sooner than that point.

Moreau – who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier this offseason – could take part in OTAs in New Orleans, per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. That would represent another surprising development, considering the 26-year-old is still receiving treatment at this time. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Moreau’s prognosis has remained “extremely positive,” opening the door to his quick return to the field.

The latter signed a three-year, $12MM pact to continue playing with quarterback Derek Carr after the pair spent time together with the Raiders. Moreau received $8MM guaranteed, illustrating the Saints’ confidence that he can recover in full and play a large part in the team’s passing attack. Moreau will compete with Juwan Johnson for snaps and targets in what is now a Carr-led offense.

The Saints created a vacancy in the TE room by trading Adam Trautman to the Broncos. After that deal was complete, New Orleans – one of the teams which hosted Moreau on a free agent visit – circled back to the latter to work out a deal knowing his absence from football was expected to be temporary.

“I think we knew that he was going to be cleared to participate and we felt like we were a destination that he was certainly interested in,” Allen said, via Terrell. “And so soon as the draft was over we had some communication. I will say that we knew where we were looking and it was just a matter of trying to get something done.”

New Orleans will begin OTAs on May 23, which will be the first point at which Moreau could practice with his new team. To no surprise, Allen insisted that the team will remain cautious in their approach with the LSU product, but his latest remarks point further to a quick recovery on Moreau’s part not long after what could have been a career-ending diagnosis.

Saints “Ready” To Sign Derek Carr

Derek Carr has made it clear that he intends for his free agent process to be a lengthy one. For at least one of the teams he has met with, though, a quick ending would be preferred.

During an appearance on the Official Jets Podcast, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that the Saints are “ready” to sign Carr. He added that they “want to get something done” with Carr, illustrating how well the two meetings which have taken place between the parties have gone. New Orleans has long been connected to the 31-year-old, who is the top quarterback on the market at this time.

When a trade was thought to be a possibility, the Saints were reportedly in agreement with the Raiders on compensation after Carr’s first visit to New Orleans. The four-time Pro Bowler forced Vegas to release him, though, not as a sign of disinterest in the Saints but rather a means of allowing himself to hit the open market and leverage the best possible contract for the next chapter of his career. That move opened up the number of suitors interested in at least a short-term QB upgrade.

New Orleans faced a difficult cap situation last offseason, but general manager Mickey Loomis carved out enough space to make the team a serious contender for Deshaun Watson. After the latter was ultimately traded to the Browns, though, the Saints elected to use a pairing of Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton under center in 2023. Their collective performance left plenty to be desired, and it would come as no surprise if Carr or a similar veteran were brought in to solidify the position.

New Orleans has begun this year’s cap gymnastics, but they still have a long way to go. The Saints are currently more than $30MM over the cap, and not much is certain for them under center. Dalton is a pending free agent, and one year remains on Winston’s contract. Releasing the former first overall pick would yield $4.4MM in savings, a relatively modest amount but one which would nevertheless move the team closer to being able to afford the $35MM AAV Carr is believed to be seeking.

The Saints and Jets met with Carr not only last month, but during this week’s combine as well. Loomis and head coach Dennis Allen spoke positively about their sit-down, and their support of the potential of a deal taking shape. The Panthers, another team which could be a significant player in this year’s quarterback market, is also set to meet with Carr, though. Not surprisingly, Fowler adds that the former second-rounder is likely to remain patient in the name of setting up a bidding war for his services, especially if Aaron Rodgers and/or Lamar Jackson don’t end up becoming available.

Rodgers has routinely been connected to the Jets this offseason, and mutual interest exists between the AFC East outfit and Carr. They figure to face stiff competition from New Orleans in the Carr sweepstakes, though, as the QB landscape slowly starts to take shape.

Saints To Retain HC Dennis Allen

Rumors about a quick Sean Payton New Orleans return emerged late last month, but Mickey Loomis squashed that prospect Friday. The longtime Saints GM said Dennis Allen is not going anywhere.

Allen will return for a second season as the Saints’ HC. While it was trending in this direction, despite the team’s first 10-loss season since 2005, Loomis confirming it adds finality to what had become a murky situation. Allen has been with the Saints for the past eight seasons, returning to New Orleans after a failed stint as a head coach in Oakland.

Although Payton’s potential interest in returning generated understandable attention, ownership is behind Allen — for at least as second season. The Saints have granted permission for Payton to speak with other teams — a Broncos interview is on tap for Tuesday — but Loomis said (via Nick Underhill of, on Twitter) compensation has not been finalized, citing different levels each of the interested teams are able to send.

Payton, who coached the Saints for 16 seasons, is believed to want to bring personnel staffers with him wherever he goes. As far as coaches, Loomis said (via Underhill) the Saints would probably block contracted staffers from leaving — so long as it is a lateral move, as rises to coordinator positions are unblockable. No GM interview requests have come in for Saints execs yet this offseason, and no New Orleans coordinators are on this year’s coaching carousel.

A report indicated the Saints and Broncos had agreed on a Payton compensation package — without Payton having agreed to terms to become Denver’s HC yet — that includes a first-round pick and then some. It is unclear if that will be the final price. No head coach has been traded since the Chiefs sent the Jets a fourth-round pick for Herm Edwards in 2006. It took just a second-rounder for the Seahawks to acquire Mike Holmgren‘s rights in 1999, though the Jon Gruden (2002), Bill Belichick (2000) and Bill Parcells (1997) trades all involved first-round picks.

As for Allen, he did have the Saints back in relative contention — since the NFC South was historically bad this season — late in the season. The Saints won three of their final four games to finish 7-10. Were it not for a late-game collapse in Tampa, New Orleans would have entered Week 18 with a chance to win the division. The longtime Saints DC-turned-Payton replacement oversaw fifth- and ninth-place defensive rankings (yardage, points), but New Orleans’ offense ranked 22nd in scoring its first post-Payton slate.

Loomis said the team has no plans to “blow things up,” so an Allen-overseen rebuild is not in the cards. The Saints are again in need at quarterback, with Andy Dalton‘s contract expiring and Jameis Winston having been benched. The team has not begun any negotiations with Dalton about a return yet, per Underhill (Twitter links). Dalton, 35, signed a one-year, $3MM deal but ended up usurping Winston early in the season. Dalton started 14 games for the Saints — his most starts since the 2017 season. New Orleans figures to be in the mix for a QB upgrade this offseason.

Dennis Allen Likely To Return As Saints HC In 2023

While the prospect of Sean Payton wanting to return to New Orleans would put team brass in a difficult spot, it is not completely known if that is the case. And the Saints’ current coach has backers in high places.

Dennis Allen is likely to stay on for a second season as Saints HC, according to’s Jeff Duncan, who adds ownership and management are still behind Payton’s longtime DC. Allen replaced Payton in February, and while the Saints have taken a step back, Duncan does not anticipate the team making its coach and one-and-done.

A report this week labeled a potential Payton-Saints reunion as the “worst-kept secret,” but’s Jeremy Fowler noted earlier this month Allen was likely to receive a second season. The cost component in firing a coach after one season is part of the equation as well, per Duncan.

The NFL has certainly condensed its timetables for coaches in this era, but the Saints have not made any coach even a two-and-done since the 1970s. Under late owner Tom Benson, Mike Ditka and Jim Haslett received at least three seasons. The latter coached for six years, despite the Saints qualifying for just one playoff field — in Haslett’s first season — during that time. Payton changed the game for the Saints and stayed 16 seasons, leaving surprisingly in late January. The current FOX analyst has been researching potential opportunities and may well come back to New Orleans at some point, but a reunion appears to be on hold.

The Saints hold Payton’s rights and would be in position to collect a nice compensation package for the Super Bowl-winning HC, in the event he ends up coaching another team. Payton has been connected to working with ex-Saints assistant Vic Fangio somewhere. That partnership coming to pass in New Orleans could leave Allen, who served under Payton during two Saints stints before succeeding him as HC, out in the cold. But Payton will have other options. Though, the top two teams he has been linked to — the Cowboys and Chargers — do not look likely to fire their current coaches. Both teams have clinched playoff spots.

The Saints did finish under .500 five times under Payton, so Allen’s debut (6-9 presently) is not completely out of step. But New Orleans never lost 10 games with Payton. Drew Brees being under center for 15 of those seasons did help protect against that outcome, however. Allen has not been as fortunate, going from Jameis Winston to Andy Dalton this season. The Saints have improved from 28th to 18th in total offense from last season, which featured a worse QB situation. And they rank ninth in total defense, with their win over the Browns keeping them technically alive for postseason play. FiveThirtyEight gives New Orleans only a 3% chance to make the playoffs, though Duncan adds management is happy with the fight the team has shown down the stretch.

While the Cardinals have also been loosely linked to Payton, Duncan notes this pairing should not be expected. The team still has a decision to make on Kliff Kingsbury, who joined Steve Keim in signing an extension this offseason. But with the Cards falling to 4-11 in Kingsbury’s fourth season, the longtime college coach is squarely on the hot seat. With Payton likely to have options upon returning, taking over a team coming off a dysfunctional 2022 would be a tougher sell compared to other opportunities. Kyler Murray‘s ACL tear certainly does not help matters.