Reports: Dennis Allen looking to bring in a new offensive coordinator

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Reports: Dennis Allen looking to bring in a new offensive coordinator
© Provided by Saints Wire

I anticipate a lot of changes to the offensive staff under Allen. https://t.co/arbBxe8a3J

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— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) February 8, 2022

Well this is interesting. Nola.com’s Jeff Duncan reports that Dennis Allen is looking to make some changes to the New Orleans Saints offense once he’s been formally hired as the team’s new head coach, including the hiring of an offensive coordinator from outside the building. It makes sense given how New Orleans has stagnated on that side of the ball in recent years, bottoming out with some of the worst performances of the Sean Payton era in 2021.

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That would mean a move for incumbent offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., though Duncan adds he is expected to hang around in a different role. That’s something NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill has shared, too. While it’s a developing situation that could change course in a hurry, Carmichael has a reputation as a good soldier willing to do what’s best for the team. If Allen wants to bring in a new coordinator and bump Carmichael to, say, quarterbacks coach — he probably wouldn’t get much argument about it. But that’s just my speculation.

While Allen was selected for the job implicitly for his ability to maintain team culture and continuity from years of past success, he owes it to himself and the franchise to evaluate everything and make changes where needed. The Saints have underperformed in too many areas to avoid it, particularly offense. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes to evaluate that side of the ball and right the ship would be big.

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And, hey, Eric Bieniemy is a free agent with his Kansas City Chiefs contract expiring, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. It’s very possible that he and the Saints discussed hiring him as offensive coordinator for a different head coach during their eight-hour interview last weekend. It may look like a lateral move on its surface, but the Saints could sweeten the deal by naming Bieniemy assistant head coach, doubling his salary, and/or giving him full autonomy on his side of the ball. Teams haven’t wanted to hire him as a head coach after working so well in Andy Reid’s shadow. Building his own brand in New Orleans could be what Bieniemy needs to get his own head coaching job someday.

Another option to consider: Doug Marrone, the current Alabama offensive line coach who was Sean Payton’s first offensive coordinator back in 2006. He and Allen have worked together before. And he has plenty of NFL experience as the former Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. If the Saints want someone with more experience and some familiarity with how they run things, he’d make sense. But that would hardly be an exciting change of direction.

There’s also a debate beginning about who should step in for Allen as defensive coordinator. While they likely won’t have the same autonomy in that role Allen enjoyed under Sean Payton, it’s still a job with more responsibilities and greater visibility, and a plausible path towards becoming a head coach. Defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen (who was named assistant head coach last year) is a strong candidate, but maybe it’s secondary coach Kris Richard’s job to lose. He interviewed for three different open defensive coordinator positions this offseason. He’s run his own defenses before, and a promotion could be the launchpad he needs to get looks as a head coach again. It’s a really intriguing situation.

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Saints to name Dennis Allen their new head coach

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