Former Raiders exec Amy Trask unsurprised by Saints’ Dennis Allen drama

At least one person wasn’t shocked by Dennis Allen’s very public split with  New Orleans Saints players in the final minutes of the 2023 season: Amy Trask, Allen’s former coworker with the Raiders and current co-host of the What the Football podcast with Suzy Shuster.

Trask spent 26 years in the Raiders’ front office, spending much of her career as the team’s chief executive officer before resigning midway through Allen’s three-year stint as head coach. She wasn’t a fan of the Saints promoting Allen to head coach in 2022, and she also criticized Allen’s decision to bring ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden to training camp last summer.

Now she’s shared some insight on her experience with Allen, who Trask characterized as a “dismissive, derisive” presence. After Allen introduced himself to the organization in an early staff meeting, Trask says, employees lined up at her door with complaints.

That became a trend. Allen’s leadership style continued to rub people the wrong way, being described as “uninspiring” at best and “rude” at worst. As Trask reflected, Allen wasn’t someone even the Raiders’ veteran players were willing to embrace.

“It appeared to me, and I’m not putting words in a player’s mouth, but players would do the minimum for him,” Trask said, contrasting Allen with coaches that players would run through a wall for. “Nobody’s running through a wall for him.”

The incident this all centers on, of course, featured Saints backup quarterback Jameis Winston agreeing with his teammates to change the game’s final play call. After being told to kneel out the clock at the 1-yard line and seal a blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons, Winston and the rest of the offense went rogue, audibling into a run for Jamaal Williams to score a touchdown. It’s the kind of insubordination you don’t see in the NFL.

Shuster drew the comparison to other coaches who do connect with their players — whether that’s longtime leaders like Bill Belichick or first-year standout DeMeco Ryans. Trask continued, “I had the sense, and some players shared with me, that’s not what they experienced with Dennis. And look, we all grow up, we all grow, I thought he could be better in New Orleans. And I may be the only person to tell you this, but when I saw (the audible) in New Orleans, I was not the slightest bit surprised. Any other coach, I’d be surprised.”

Allen’s two-year run as the Saints’ head coach has been hard to watch. The team finished one game over .500 this year and still has a losing record with him on top of the organization, missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons after he took the job with a promise of continued postseason success. Unable to manage big egos, Allen has created rifts with fan-favorite players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson (traded last year), Marshon Lattimore (likely to be traded this year), Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara (who may also be on their way out).

But he’s here to stay. Allen has already said he expects to return as head coach in 2024, and general manager Mickey Loomis wouldn’t have let him go speak to reporters after the season ended if that weren’t the case. Stubborn to prove he didn’t hire the wrong coach, Loomis appears set to stay the course. Maybe it’s just going to take three years before Allen finds a way to win the worst division in pro football.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire