Dennis Allen comments on Jon Gruden visiting Saints practice

This might have been blown out of proportion. The New Orleans Saints invited Jon Gruden to attend three days of practices last week to observe their offseason program and share input on how to best tool things to their new quarterback Derek Carr — who had some of his best seasons with Gruden calling plays for him on the Las Vegas Raiders.

Of course, Gruden’s tenure with the Raiders ended in scandal when a trove of racist, sexist, and homophobic emails surfaced and led to public outcry. When asked about the decision to host Gruden at the team facility and link him to New Orleans, Saints head coach Dennis Allen was blunt in discussing his motivations behind that call.

“Look, I mean, number one, we’ve had several coaches come and visit (during minicamp),” Allen said, referencing visits from consultants like Mike Martz, Tom Coughlin, and the late Alex Gibbs over the years when Sean Payton was coaching the team. Gruden’s presence was hardly unprecedented.

Allen continued, “Obviously, Jon’s a guy that has a lot of experience with Derek and Derek has had his most success under Jon Gruden. And so we felt like bringing him in, having a chance to sit down and with him as an offensive staff, with the quarterbacks and just getting some new thoughts and ideas of things we might be able to implement. … But if there’s a few ideas that we could take from that, we felt like that would be beneficial.”

So Gruden isn’t on payroll, and he certainly isn’t getting an email address on the Saints’ server. From Allen’s perspective, this was an easy decision to make. Bringing in someone who knows Carr’s strengths and weaknesses as well as Gruden does makes a lot of sense, and it could pay off in the fall if the Saints are able to better acclimate Carr to the offense they have now.

Frankly, Allen isn’t in position to be picky. He’s on the hot seat after the Saints stumbled into a 4-9 deficit last season and clawed their way back to a 7-10 finish, with his mismanagement in Week 18’s loss to the Carolina Panthers costing another win. The sooner Carr has the offense humming, the safer Allen’s job will be. If that means bringing in someone with controversy surrounding them like Gruden, that’s what he’ll do. We’ll see how it works out for him.


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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire