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Dennis Allen to Return as Saints Head Coach in 2023, Mickey Loomis Confirms

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2023

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Dennis Allen of the New Orleans Saints watches his team play against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed to reporters Friday that Dennis Allen will return as the team's head coach in 2023.

Allen was elevated from defensive coordinator to head coach prior to the 2022 campaign following the retirement of Sean Payton.

In Allen's first season at the helm for the Saints, New Orleans went 7-10 and finished one game behind the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

From 2012 to 2014, Allen had his first NFL head coaching stint with the Oakland Raiders, going just 8-28 and failing to reach the playoffs in any of the three seasons.

He caught on as senior defensive assistant for the Saints in 2015 and then spent 2016 to 2021 as New Orleans' DC.

When Allen arrived in NOLA in 2015, the Saints had the NFL's worst defense in terms of points allowed, but the team has improved tremendously on that side of the ball throughout his tenure.

The Saints have finished inside the top 10 in the NFL in total defense and scoring defense in each of the past three seasons, including fifth in total defense and ninth in scoring defense in 2022.

Offense has been the Saints' biggest issue over the past two years, which would have been inconceivable during the era of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees.

New Orleans ranked just 19th in total offense and 22nd in scoring offense this season, and a lack of consistency from the quarterback position is a big reason why.

Jameis Winston began the season as the Saints' starting quarterback, but he got injured and never regained the starting job when healthy, as he went just 1-2 in three starts with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Veteran signal-caller Andy Dalton had decent numbers with 2,871 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 14 games, but it is clear he isn't the long-term answer.

Finding a franchise quarterback should be the top priority for the Saints, but they don't own a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, so doing so could be difficult.

Trading for a veteran like Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders could be an option, though, since the Saints have the makings of a playoff team if they can get the offense right.

Regardless of what happens at quarterback, Allen figures to be under the microscope in 2023 since the Saints have now missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons after making it four years in a row previously.