Adam Forsythe / February 8, 2022
After conducting six different interviews to fill their vacant head coaching job, the New Orleans Saints ultimately landed on the candidate that was widely considered the favorite from the beginning. On Monday evening, it was reported that the Saints intend to promote Dennis Allen from defensive coordinator into the role of head coach.
While Dennis Allen was an early favorite to replace Sean Payton after he announced his retirement, the Saints conducted a thorough search for Payton’s successor before ultimately deciding on Allen. Doug Pederson and Darren Rizzi were two of the candidates involved in the search, however, Pederson secured a head coaching position with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Rizzi, for now, remains on the Saints staff as the special teams coordinator.
Among the six interviewees were Detroit Lions DC Aaron Glenn, former Miami Dolphins HC Brian Flores, and Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, whose interview lasted nearly 8 hours on Sunday. All three of these candidates had a strong interview with team officials, but ultimately the Saints decided that Allen was the man for the job.
This decision, according to columnist Jeff Duncan, met both of the requirements that Saints GM Mickey Loomis was searching for throughout this process. Loomis reportedly was looking for a candidate who had “familiarity with the Saints culture” or had “head coaching experience”. While the other candidates made strong cases, Allen was the only one to fulfill the criteria set forth.
Allen spent two full seasons as the Oakland Raiders head coach before being relieved of his duties four games into his third season. During that span, the product was less than desirable as his record was 8-28. Since then, Allen has had plenty of time to reflect on his performance as a head coach and has helped the Saints develop an elite defense. Furthermore, Allen got an opportunity to show off his head coaching capabilities last season when he served as interim head coach for one game when Sean Payton tested positive for COVID-19. In that game, Allen coached a 9-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their otherwise electric offense.
Going forward, there will be plenty of crucial decisions for Allen to make, from putting his staff together to who will be his signal caller for the upcoming season and beyond. For Saints fans, this will be one of the most interesting off-seasons in recent memory.
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