After the mini-camp ended this week, the Saints got their first real dose of life without Sean Payton at the helm. Saints’ new head coach, Dennis Allen, has been receiving positive reviews from Saints players so far.
That may come as no surprise given their familiarity with Allen, which is likely part of the Saints’ strategy to promote their defensive coordinator to head coach. Veteran running back Mark Ingram believes in that approach with the current roster of the Saints.
“I think that was huge, keeping the DNA the same,” Ingram said via the team’s website. “It’s not like it’s a full rebuild here. I think you have a team that can make a lot of noise and run into it. Obviously we need to improve and get better and learn as a unit, but I think that keeping the DNA of the team, the culture of the team the same, I think that’s huge and I think we’ll all benefit from it.”
Ingram, the Saints’ all-time greatest rusher, has not been able to work directly with Allen during his nine seasons in New Orleans, but the respected veteran’s assessment must be considered. Allen, who will remain the Saints DC, promoted Pete Carmichael from QBs coach to offensive coordinator and retained most of the Saints staff. Ingram sees the transition as an ideal sequel to Payton.
“Obviously DA is different from Sean. But DA has done a great job of keeping it as normal as possible and adding its own flavor to it,” Ingram said. “I think the defense is more used to it because they spent so much time with him in defensive meetings. We only saw him sometimes when he had to come in. But I like him a lot. I think he’s doing a great job with the team , he does a great job in the team meetings, he does a great job with us out there saying let’s get our job done let’s be efficient let’s be effective let’s improve let’s work let’s have a sense of urgency “He’s going to take care of us and get us off the field. I think he did a great job. Just having the same DNA and culture of the team, I think that will be good for everyone in the locker room.”
A model for consistent success, Payton compiled a regular-season record of 152-89 as Saints coach, racking up nine seasons over 10 wins (all of which resulted in playoffs), while never falling short of seven. wins and seven NFC South titles during his 15 seasons. The Saints’ all-time winning coach earned the franchise’s only Super Bowl title in 2009 and will forever be a celebrated sports figure in New Orleans.
Allen was there for 12 of those seasons under Payton, but it won’t be easy to follow a tenure like that. For better or worse, Allen has experience as a head coach, despite his run with the Raiders (8-22 record), which resulted in a mid-season shootout. Allen has been the Saints DC for the past seven seasons and has overseen one of the most consistent defenses in the NFL. Going into the 2022 season, the Saints defense is expected to be the team’s strongest asset, which is a key factor in the organization’s strategy to promote Allen.
Matching the offensive success of Payton’s era will be the hardest attempt for Allen. It will also be the most expanded storyline for the Saints of 2022. While he has earned the respect of key veterans on the team thus far, Allen is well aware of the work that remains to be done to bring the Saints into a new era. to lead.
“I see it as if it’s been a successful low season, but it’s just an off season,” Allen said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and the start of the season.
“I definitely felt more comfortable in this role, in this environment, with this organization with so much experience here. I feel good about where I am, I feel good about where the coaching staff is, I feel good about where our players are, but not satisfied yet.”