The Saints aren’t wasting any time in trying to find a replacement for Sean Payton. General Manager Mickey Loomis surely already had a list of candidates after meeting with Payton last week and learning that the team’s long-time coach was considering walking away.
The team is expected to interview Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. Allen served as the acting head coach in a win over the Bucs this season when Payton contracted COVID, and he is considered the leading candidate for the job.
“In fairness to Dennis, who’s a great candidate in the building or any other coach that possibly would be hired, I think that there’s no half-in in this game,” Payton said Tuesday. “You’re jumping in the deep end and you’re swimming. . . . Yeah, I think that’s the approach that has to be taken.”
The Saints also want to talk to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
Glenn and Allen were teammates at Texas A&M, with both playing in the secondary, and they coached together in New Orleans for five seasons. Glenn left New Orleans with Dan Campbell after the 2020 season to become the Lions’ defensive coordinator.
The Bears had scheduled an interview with Allen for Tuesday but postponed it to work on finalizing a deal with Ryan Poles for the General Manager job.
The Eagles interviewed Allen for their open position last year before hiring Nick Sirianni. Allen has head coaching experience, having spent three seasons as head coach of the Raiders from 2012-14. He joined the Saints as a defensive assistant in 2015 before taking over the coordinator role in 2016.
In 2020, New Orleans ranked fifth in points allowed and fourth in total yards. It improved to fourth in points allowed and seventh in total yards this season.