Skip to main content

Saints GM on decision to retain HC Dennis Allen: Bill Belichick, Tom Landry struggled at beginning 

The New Orleans Saints opted for patience in 2024, sticking with head coach Dennis Allen after another fruitless season in The Bayou.

The Saints finished 9-8, outside the playoffs in Allen's second season. He went 7-10 in his first year with the club.

General manager Mickey Loomis cited the records of some legendary coaches at the start of their careers when defending the team's decision to march forward with Allen.

"Bill Belichick, here's his first three seasons: 6-10, 7-9, 7-9. Tom Landry: 0-11, 4-9, 5-8, 4-10, 5-8. Hall of Fame coaches, all of them. Bill Walsh: 2-14; second year, 6-10," Loomis told reporters on Wednesday.

"So I think the easy thing to do is just look the results and say, 'Oh no, we've got to have a change.' You need to look beyond that. What are the reasons why we were 9-8 instead of 13-4. It's collective. It's the players, it's the coaches, it's me. It's our personnel staff, our roster, it's variables sometimes that we don't have control of. And so my assessment is Dennis Allen is a good coach. Again, with Sean Payton we went 10-6 the first year, but then we were 7-9, 8-8 and I heard some of the same noise, but at the time I knew we had a good football coach, I think sometimes the hard thing to do is to be patient and recognize your other shortcomings and get those fixed, and that's what we're doing."

It's fair to point out that if Loomis uses Belichick's Browns tenure and the start of Landry and Walsh's careers in Dallas and San Francisco, respectively, to make his point, then including Allen's time with Oakland -- 4-12, 4-12, 0-4 --becomes notable. Allen was not a first-time head coach when Loomis elevated him to replace Payton in 2022.

As in Allen's first year, the 2023 Saints were a concoction of inconsistencies on both sides of the ball, and the coach had his fair share of mismanagement situations. The end-of-season hubbub regarding Jameis Winston overriding a kneel call to get Jamaal Williams a touchdown in the waning moments a Week 18 win over the Falcons underscored the disconnect between the coaches and players.

As was the case this season, talent remains on the Saints' roster to make noise in the NFC South in 2024. Moving on from long-time offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will allow Allen to reshape that side of the ball this offseason.

It will be a massive year for Allen and the Saints. Another failed season and Loomis will be out of Hall of Fame coaches to compare Allen to.

Related Content