METAIRIE, La. — Dennis Allen’s transition to the New Orleans Saints’ head teaching job has been a clean one by all accounts.
“We’re such creatures of behavior,” stated the Saints’ former defensive coordinator, who confessed to at least one explicit misstep from a couple of weeks in the past. “I left the locker room and went as much as my workplace, and I simply walked up the again method and down the corridor and walked into what’s now [co-defensive coordinator] Ryan Nielsen’s workplace. And I used to be like, ‘Oh rattling, I simply walked into the incorrect workplace.’
“He was in there, and I began up some type of dialog and acted like I wanted to speak to him. And then on the finish, I used to be like, ‘I gotta admit one thing: I actually simply got here to the incorrect workplace.'”
To be honest, although, Allen has made a degree of making an attempt to maintain issues as regular as attainable to date this offseason.
The vibe has been a lot completely different than it was when Allen’s mentor, Sean Payton, first arrived in New Orleans 16 years in the past and did all he might to alter the tradition. Payton made tweaks to simply about every part, right down to indicators hanging within the locker room and jersey colours at dwelling video games.
Allen, alternatively, is happy with the tradition he helped Payton and far of this present Saints teaching workers and roster construct over the course of 5 straight successful seasons from 2017 to 2021 earlier than Payton determined to step away from the job in January.
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“Why would I alter issues simply to alter them?” Allen stated. “We’ve completed lots of great things round right here. So you’re gonna see lots of the identical stuff.
“Now, the best way I current the message could also be just a bit bit completely different than the best way Sean offered it … type of placing my very own aptitude on it.”
Players and coaches appear to broadly respect that method from the 49-year-old Allen, who’s looking for the success in his second head teaching stint that eluded him when he struggled to an 8-28 document with a a lot much less established Oakland Raiders from 2012 to 2014.
“That’s big, simply holding the DNA the identical,” operating again Mark Ingram II stated. “It’s not prefer it’s a full rebuild right here. We have a staff that may make lots of noise and make a run at it. Obviously, we have now to enhance and get higher and gel as a unit. But I feel holding the DNA of the staff, the bloodline of the staff, the tradition of the staff the identical is large.”
It helps that everybody — together with offensive gamers like Ingram — has seen Allen’s outcomes on the defensive facet of the ball. Under Allen’s watch, the Saints have ranked fourth within the NFL in each yards allowed and factors allowed over the previous three seasons. Last December, they grew to become the primary staff to close out Tom Brady in 15 years with a 9-0 win on the highway in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Although the Saints missed the playoffs at 9-8 in an injury-ravaged 2021 season, their 58 regular-season wins over the previous 5 years rank second within the NFL to solely the Kansas City Chiefs.
Even gamers who simply joined the Saints in free company, like security Tyrann Mathieu and receiver Jarvis Landry, spoke about being attracted by the established tradition in New Orleans — regardless of the top teaching change.
“The stage of consistency is good. It’s one thing that you just depend on. It’s one thing you already belief,” defensive finish Cameron Jordan stated. “[Allen is] somebody we already trusted. So once you say, ‘Hey, that is for the higher of the staff,’ you imagine that. It’s not like a brand new man coming in saying, ‘Hey, that is how we’re gonna run the staff’ and also you’re like, ‘Damn, do I purchase in or not purchase in?’
“You know what our protection is about, and that instantly brings credibility.”
That consistency is felt all through the teaching workers, the place Allen retained longtime offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and promoted assistants Nielsen and Kris Richard to the roles of co-defensive coordinator. The largest workers change the Saints made this offseason was rehiring former Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone as offensive line coach — after Marrone beforehand served as Payton’s offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008.
Allen was additionally a part of Payton’s unique workers from 2006 to 2010, together with the Saints’ Super Bowl-winning 2009 season, earlier than he grew to become the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2011 and Raiders coach in 2012. Allen returned to New Orleans in 2015.
“What we do works and what we do is efficient. And let’s be sincere, Dennis has been part of growing that,” stated assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief, who was a rookie when Payton and Allen first arrived in 2006. “[Allen] has been a giant a part of constructing the tradition and the construction. So though Sean was the top coach, a few of it may need come out of [Allen’s] mind.”
The most noticeable change gamers and coaches identified was a barely enhanced consideration to element. Not that Payton didn’t sweat the small stuff — he completely did — however Allen is approaching every part with recent eyes, together with assembly instances and apply drills.
“DA’s at all times been in regards to the trivia, and it’s been attention-grabbing to see him assault with that very same thought on the offensive facet that every part must be precise,” stated Jordan, who stated he has to date resisted the urge to poke enjoyable at Allen for something — and even to complain when the now-impartial head coach doesn’t credit score the protection for sufficient sacks in apply.
“I’m simply making an attempt to not get on his nerves,” stated the often-rambunctious Jordan — who admits he could have some firsthand expertise with that.
“I’ll fall in line and say ‘Sir, sure sir’ … in the meanwhile.”