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Coaches

Dennis Allen
Defensive Coordinator

Now in his second stint in New Orleans, Dennis Allen will enter his first full season as the team’s defensive coordinator in his seventh campaign with the club.

Allen’s resume includes 20 years of coaching experience, including the last 14 in the NFL. In those 14 seasons, he has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs six times, won four division crowns and captured Super Bowl XLIV.

Now in his second stint in New Orleans, Dennis Allen will enter his first full season as the team’s defensive coordinator in his seventh campaign with the club.

Allen’s resume includes 20 years of coaching experience, including the last 14 in the NFL. In those 14 seasons, he has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs six times, won four division crowns and captured Super Bowl XLIV.

After starting the 2015 season as the club’s senior defensive assistant, Allen assumed defensive coordinator duties in Week 11. As New Orleans rallied to win three of their final four contests, Allen’s unit contributed to finishing strong as the defense surrendered 34.3 total net yards per game below the overall season average, including 24.3 fewer yards per game in stopping the run. New Orleans also held opponents to a season-low 17 points in two of the final four contests. Working primarily with the secondary prior to being elevated to coordinator, a pair of Allen’s pupils enjoyed impressive campaigns. CB Delvin Breaux developed throughout the season in his first NFL campaign, leading the team with three interceptions and 23 passes defensed, while often covering the opponent’s top wideout. S Kenny Vaccaro set career-highs with 136 tackles and three sacks.

Allen served as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2012-14. In his second season, he guided a team that made significant improvement in several areas. Offensively, the Raiders ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing, moving up 16 spots in league rankings from 2012 and ranked sixth in yards per rush (4.6), improving 21 places in league rankings despite starting an NFL-high eight different offensive line combinations due to injury. The defense replaced nine starters, yet still improved in several categories. The defense recorded 38 sacks, 13 more than 2012, and tied for second in the NFL with 15 different players getting to the quarterback. The rush defense improved five spots from 18th in the NFL in 2012 to 13th in 2013, as they limited opposing offenses to just five runs of 20-or-more yards, tied for the fewest in the league, and kept opponents to less than two yards per carry three times. On special teams, the Raiders moved from the NFL’s bottom-third to first overall in opponent gross punting (41.7), ranked third in opponent net punting (37.0) and fourth in opponent kickoff returns (20.4).

Allen coached the first four games of the 2014 regular season for the Raiders, during which he helped usher in a pair of rookies that went on to enjoy impressive campaigns in QB Derek Carr and LB Khalil Mack. The club’s pass defense ranked fourth in the NFL.   

In 2011, Allen served as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He led a defense that helped the Broncos win the AFC West division crown and advance to the AFC Divisional round with an AFC Wild Card game victory. The Broncos improved 12 spots over the previous year in overall defensive ranking and bettered their points allowed eight spots. The defense produced four Pro Bowl selections as rookie LB Von Miller joined CB Champ Bailey, S Brian Dawkins and DE Elvis Dumervil on the AFC squad. Miller tied the team’s rookie record with 11.5 sacks en route to NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and Dumervil also thrived under Allen, rebounding from injury to register 9.5 takedowns. The Broncos’ 41 sacks as a team marked the unit’s most since 2000.

During Allen’s previous five-year tenure in New Orleans, he first served as assistant defensive line coach (2006-07) before being promoted to secondary coach (2008-10).

He was a part of a defensive coaching staff that engineered significant improvement from 2009-10 when the club went 24-8 in the regular season, qualified for the playoffs both times and captured Super Bowl XLIV. Under Allen’s direction in 2010, the Saints secondary allowed an NFL-low 13 touchdown passes, while New Orleans ranked fourth in both opponent net yards per game (306.3) and pass defense (193.9 ypg.). They also registered top five rankings in opponent third down efficiency (34.5%) and opponent passer rating (75.3). S Roman Harper was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, posting 100 tackles and three sacks, and CB Jabari Greer recorded two interceptions with one brought back for a touchdown.

In 2009, Allen tutored a secondary that played a key role in helping the Saints to the club’s first Super Bowl victory. A revamped unit accounted for an NFL-high six interception returns for touchdowns and totaled 22 picks on the season with two of the four starters being selected to the Pro Bowl. Greer returned one pick for a touchdown. Harper led the unit with a career-high 127 tackles and added 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles while being selected to his first Pro Bowl. CB Tracy Porter picked off Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter in consecutive contests in the postseason, with his famous Super Bowl XLIV interception being brought back for a touchdown.

While serving as assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07, Allen helped develop a unit that ranked as one of the strengths of the Saints’ defense. During that stretch, the defensive front combined for 48.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries and DE Will Smith was voted to the 2006 Pro Bowl.

Allen joined the Saints after a four-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons, where he spent his final two years as defensive assistant/quality control with an emphasis on working with the defensive line. Over the previous two seasons, he was in charge of defensive quality control while helping tutor the secondary.

Over his last two years in Atlanta, the Falcons’ defense was paced by the play of the front four. In 2004, Atlanta led the NFL for the first time in club history with 48 sacks and the unit sent DE Patrick Kerney to the Pro Bowl. In 2005 DT Rod Coleman represented the club in the Pro Bowl and the Falcons notched 37 sacks.

In 2002, Allen’s first year with the Falcons, he assisted in coaching the defensive backfield. Atlanta improved to 16th against the pass after ranking 30th the year before, and tied for third in the NFL with 24 interceptions.

Allen worked as the secondary coach for the University of Tulsa (2000-01) before heading to the NFL. Prior to his stint at Tulsa, Allen was on the coaching staff for four years (1996-99) at his alma mater, Texas A&M, as a graduate assistant working primarily with the school’s secondary.

A native of Hurst, Texas, Allen earned four letters for Texas A&M as a safety from 1992-95 and started the final 21 games of his career. A highlight was his fourth-quarter interception that clinched an 18-9 victory over Texas in 1993, sending the Aggies to their third-straight Cotton Bowl. He collected Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after intercepting two passes in a 36-14 win over Oklahoma in 1994.

Allen was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills and competed in their training camp in 1996. Allen’s father, Grady, played at Texas A&M and was a linebacker for the Falcons from 1968-72.

PLAYING CAREER: Texas A&M, 1992-95.

COACHING CAREER: Texas A&M, 1996-1999; Tulsa, 2000-01;

Atlanta Falcons, 2002-05; New Orleans Saints, 2006-10, Denver Broncos, 2011, Oakland Raiders (Head Coach), 2012-14, New Orleans Saints 2015-.

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