MOBILE, Alabama – The New Orleans Saints are leaning to promoting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to head coach, and that announcement could come early next week, sources close to the team have said.
But Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis is not all done just yet, though he is close to concluding interviews for the opening. Allen and Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi completed interviews on Friday at the Saints’ facility in Metairie.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will be the final interview this weekend in Metairie.
Loomis and company previously interviewed former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores on Tuesday – the same day a lawsuit by Flores against the NFL, the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants for discriminatory interview practices and other issues was filed in federal court in New York City.
“He was very impressive,” Loomis said. “We had a great interview. It went well.”
Loomis said Flores informed him of the lawsuit after they were done interviewing.
Loomis interviewed Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, a former Saints’ assistant coach, on Wednesday here during Senior Bowl week as well. Kickoff for the Senior Bowl college all-star game is at 2:30 p.m. eastern Saturday on the NFL Network.
Early in the week in Metairie, Loomis interviewed former Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson, who later took the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching job.
“We’re going to take our time,” Loomis said Wednesday in Mobile. “We have a set of criteria. We’re just going to go through the process. Our head coach is the face of the franchise – the direction we’re going to be headed. I think we’re a desirable place, and I think we’re desirable for a lot of reasons. I’d like it to be someone who coaches here for 16 years and has a lot of wins like the last one.”
Sean Payton retired as Saints coach on Jan. 25 after dramatically turning around the franchise from 2006 through 2021 with the club’s only Super Bowl title in the 2009 season and nine playoff appearances with three NFC title games.
Allen, 49, has been Payton’s right hand man since becoming defensive coordinator late in the 2015 season. He was on Payton’s first two staffs with the Saints in 2006 and ’07 as assistant defensive line coach was was secondary coach from 2008-10 before becoming Denver’s defensive coordinator in 2011. He was Oakland’s head coach from 2012-14.
“First of all he’s a great coach,” Loomis said when asked what he liked about Allen. “He’s been a part of our building for a long time. He’s been a part of the culture and the success we’ve had over the years and has the experience as a head coach as well.”
Loomis said he is looking for many of the same attributes in the new coach that he found in hiring Payton after the 2005 season.
“A lot of philosophy, vision and leadership,” he said.