The Saints didn’t have Sean Payton on the sideline for Sunday night’s game against the Buccaneers because of a positive COVID-19 test and that meant defensive coordinator Dennis Allen took on a bigger role for the NFC South matchup.
Allen had the team ready to go. His defense shut the Buccaneers down in a 9-0 win that improves the Saints’ playoff chances heading into the final three weeks of the season. Allen was the head coach of the Raiders for 36 games earlier in his career and he said on Sunday that he appreciated another chance to step into the role.
“Look, I relish that opportunity,” Allen said. “Certainly, I really appreciate everything that Sean Payton has meant to me and my coaching career. So, for him to ask me to step in for him in this circumstance I appreciate the fact that he had the faith and the trust in me to lead this team. I really appreciate all the players and the assistant coaches and the way that they just hung together and fought and scratched and clawed for each other so that we could come away with this win. I think anytime you win in this league I think it’s a great feeling, and certainly in these circumstances, it feels good to win.”
Allen has led the Saints’ defense to four wins over the Buccaneers in the last two seasons, which is a feather in the cap of any coach and should help his chances of getting an extended second run as a head coach at some point in the near future.