Posted Sat May 21st by Jon Heath
Following their dismal 2010 season, the Denver Broncos starting rebuilding — from top to bottom. It began with the hiring of new Head Coach John Fox and firing of defensive coordinator Don Martindale. Fox, known for his stellar defenses, went out and signed New Orleans’ secondary coach Dennis Allen to replace Martindale.
Allen is a well-respected coach across the league and is known as a witty guy who devours game film. The development of Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, a up and coming player, has often been credited to Allen, who’s secondary recorded 35 interceptions over the past two seasons.
Although New Orleans is just a season-removed from a Super Bowl victory, it appears Allen is not a well-known coach among Denver fans (me included). For that reason, I got in touch with Andrew Juge of Saints Nation to discuss Allen. After the jump, I’ve compiled a few notes and tidbits about Allen.
1. Allen turned down Philadelphia to come to Denver.
Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid had called the Saints’ Sean Payton a day prior to Fox, both were requesting permission to interview Allen. Philadelphia is not going through a rebuilding stage on defense and has been more successful in recent years. Yet, Allen said he chose Denver because it was a better fit, professionally and personally.
2. The Saints were prepared to promote Allen to defensive coordinator if Gregg Williams (their current DC) signed elsewhere.
According to Juge, Allen was very well thought of in the Saints organization and when Williams was expected to interview for Denver’s head coaching gig, New Orleans was ready to promote Allen as their defensive coordinator should Williams leave. Many viewed Allen’s promotion as a no brainer.
3. Allen helped New Orleans defense go from ranking 25th in total defense in 2009 to 4th last season.
In 2009, the Saints’ secondary — coached by Allen — recorded 26 interceptions and helped the team to a dominant +11 takeaway to giveaway ratio. Last season, the defense did not record as many turnovers (dropping from 39 in 2009 to 25 in 2010), but they did rank among the top five defenses in the league.
4. Allen has coached at every defensive position, including the defensive line.
Allen is a bright, sharp coach, as Fox noted shortly after Denver announced the signing of Allen. Juge speculates that Allen will follow in William’s footsteps and run a high risk, high reward style of defense which causes a lot of turnovers. New Orleans ran a 4-3 defense while Allen was with the team, and Denver is planning on using a similar scheme this season.
Coach Fox has said the team will mostly run softer zone coverages (which cornerback Champ Bailey thrives in), while the Saints were an extremely attacking team defensively in 2010 that used mix zones, complex blitzes and double teams, says Juge. New Orleans ran a lot of blitzes (from all over the field), which creates a need for good man cover corners. Look for Denver to place players in positions to play to their strengths this season, as the Saints did with their secondary last season.
A players coach, Allen has a superior understanding of the game and big work ethic and according to Juge, “if Denver’s got smart, young DB’s with promise, Allen will get the most out of them.” That’s good news for young corners Perrish Cox, Syd’Quan Thompson and Cassius Vaughn, not to mention rookie safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter.
While Fox will most likely have the most influence on defense for the Broncos, Allen will undoubtedly have a big role whenever the next season is. From what I hear, the Broncos got quite the coach.