Nearly 25 percent of the NFL’s teams are looking for coaches. The dance cards are filling up. And there’s one very noticeable absence.
Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen continues to get snubbed.
I’m always a little nervous about articulating opinions like this, because so many in the media prop up certain candidates for inauthentic reasons, whether it’s representation by the same agency, a calculated desire to enhance access, or boosting the interests of a friend.
I don’t know Dennis Allen. I’ve interviewed him twice, maybe three times. Those happened back in the 2012-14 window, when he served as coach of the Raiders. When I last interviewed him in early 2014, I asked him how close he thought he came to getting fired after the 2013 season. I could tell he didn’t love the question.
He probably feels differently about this question. Why hasn’t he gotten serious consideration for a second act? He has, in seven seasons with the Saints, turned the defense from a glaring liability into a driving force.
This year alone, the Saints finished seventh in total defense, and fourth in yards allowed per play. Last year, the Saints were fourth in total defense.
The team showed continuous improvement defensively since he inherited the 31st-ranked defense in 2014. His first year, the Saints again finished 31st. Then they climbed to 27th, 17th, 14th, and 11th before finishing in the top 10 each of the last two years.
Along the way, the Saints have gone 4-0 in the regular season against Tom Brady‘s Buccaneers, outscoring them 47-3 in 120 minutes at Raymond James Stadium — including a 9-0 shutout during which Allen ran the defense and subbed for Sean Payton, who was out with COVID.
I’m not saying Allen should get hired. But he should at least get an interview. Somewhere, somehow.
Last year, Allen was one of the candidates to interview with the Eagles. This year, his name has yet to even come up.
As the saying goes, dysfunctional teams do dysfunctional things. And good teams aren’t the ones currently looking for new coaches. Does part of the proof of their collective dysfunction come from the fact that none of them are looking at Dennis Allen?
Yes, he failed in his first stint with the Raiders. So did Mike Shanahan.