New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen faces a murky future. After Sean Payton left the team prior to the 2022 season, the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach took over as the primary man responsible for the fate of the organization. Following a Hall of Fame coach like Payton, especially with memories of the Drew Brees Era still fresh in everyone’s mind, meant that this was going to be a difficult job no matter what.
Allen’s first season at the helm ended with a 7-10 record, as the duo of Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton were not enough to push this team into the playoffs. To combat this, New Orleans signed former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to a massive contract. Carr and Allen worked together during their time with the Raiders, so there was no excuse for the coach to not know exactly what he was signing up for.
Playing in a weak NFC South with the most complete roster in the division, the Saints should have faced a relatively easy path to the playoffs. Instead, the team is 5-6 and would not make the playoffs if the season ended today. Because of this, Dennis Allen has earned a spot on NFL.com’s list of coaches with the most to prove.
Dennis Allen Earns Unfortunate Spot on NFL List
The List Itself
In total, 11 coaches made Judy Battista’s list, most of whom are in very real danger of losing their job. Dennis Allen, of course, certainly fits this description, as the team has not played up to expectations under his watch. According to Battisa, the biggest issue with Allen’s tenure in the red zone offense, as the team is simply incapable of getting the tough yards to finish out drives.
“The Saints’ Dennis Allen has to figure out how to solve New Orleans’ scoring woes — the Saints were 0-for-5 in the red zone in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons — and how to steady quarterback Derek Carr, to avoid wasting a top-10 defense.”
Unfortunately, at this point in the season, it’s hard to imagine Dennis Allen suddenly figuring out how to fix Derek Carr and the Saints offense. Even before he arrived in New Orleans, Carr was one of the worst red zone passers in the league. Those struggles have not improved with a change of scenery, and the $150 million quarterback is playing like a bottom-10 passer. While Carr is leaving plays on the field, the fact of the matter is that Allen needs to be responsible for making the most of the talent on the field. He hasn’t been able to do that during his two seasons running the show and, barring a dramatic turnaround, the Saints will try to find someone that can at the end of the regular season.
Will Dennis Allen Come Back?
Of course, there is a chance that a trip to the playoffs buys Allen another year at the helm. At 5-6, the Saints are currently tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the division lead. If the season ended today, Atlanta would earn a trip to the postseason by way of a tiebreaker, but there is still a long way to go before the season is over. The Saints path to the playoffs is pretty straightforward, so if they can take care of business, Dennis Allen might come back for 2024.
That being said, a trip to the playoffs still might not be enough to save Dennis Allen. The NFC South is the worst division in football, and the Saints are close to winning this division by default. There is no such thing as an easy win in the NFL, but there is no denying that New Orleans has faced a remarkably favorable schedule. Despite the relatively effortless path to victory, New Orleans is still hovering around .500. If the Saints make the playoffs and lose in embarrassing fashion against a legitimate contender, Allen will still probably lose his job.
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