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Dennis Allen ranked worst among NFL’s returning head coaches

This isn’t a glowing endorsement for Dennis Allen. The New Orleans Saints head coach was graded worst among his peers by NBC Sports analyst Patrick Daugherty, clocking in at the bottom of the offseason coach rankings — at least among returning head coaches. The eight first-year coaches were also ranked beneath Allen, but that’s because they’re all relatively unknown quantities.

Unfortunately for Allen, we know exactly what he is and where his shortcomings lie. We’ll let Daugherty explain why Allen was ranked at No. 24 among the 24 head coaches returning from 2023:

“We lost a lot of bad coaches last winter. Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley, Josh McDaniels and Ron Rivera send their regards. That means we are left with the merely mediocre to round out our list. No one is more committed to the bit than Dennis Allen. A defensive coordinator trapped in a head coach’s body, Allen has treated Sean Payton’s leftover offense like a museum heirloom that disintegrates if you touch it. This is an attack that hasn’t innovated in three years, right down to banging Alvin Kamara between the tackles for no reason and rushing Taysom Hill onto the field any time there’s a critical down. Well, it’s not entirely true there’s been no innovation. Allen has decided to find out just how boring Drew Brees-style quarterbacking can become. Andy Dalton pushed the envelope in 2022. Derek Carr reached new heights in 2023. Allen, who admittedly takes care of business on defense, has finally moved on from Payton Ball on offense but replaced it with … Kubiak Ball. Not Gary, but Klint. It’s a fine system in a vacuum. It’s also become mummified under Klint, with no new wrinkles inserted since the Peyton Manning days in Denver. Maybe 2023 49ers passing-game coordinator Klint learned something under coach Kyle Shanahan. That’s what the Saints’ season and Allen’s future employment hinges on: This old Kubiak dog picking up some new Shanahan tricks. I suppose there are worse plans, but I’m not seeing many for 2024.”

That uncalled-for shot at Taysom Hill aside — the Saints have used him on critical downs because he’s more reliable than anyone else, being one of 11 players in the NFL with a positive success rate as both a runner and receiver on 100-plus touches — this is a good assessment of the trouble the Saints have found themselves in.

Allen was either unable or unwilling to replace Pete Carmichael when it was clear he couldn’t call a functional offense in 2022, and he bet big on Derek Carr covering up Carmichael’s shortcomings in 2023. That’s a bet he lost, which is why the offensive coaching staff was overhauled from the top down.

Now Allen is gambling again, hoping that Kubiak will run an offense styled more strongly after Shanahan’s example than what we’ve seen when Kubiak called plays in the past. With the odds stacked against him, he has to be hoping for this plan to pay off.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire