Per Vic Lombardi on Twitter, as well as Alex Marvez and Jason La Canfora, the Denver Broncos have hired former New Orleans Saints defensive backs coach Dennis Allen as their new defensive coordinator.
Allen and the Saints were absolutely shredded during wild-card weekend against the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks through the air, but the Saints were also without their best and really only legitimate cover safety in Malcolm Jenkins.
It should be noted that only a couple of weeks earlier, Allen's unit shut down Matt Ryan and the top seeded Falcons--on the road--and got a much needed win that helped them reach the postseason.
Here is Allen's biography courtesy of the New Orleans Saints' official website:
Entering his fifth year with the Saints, Dennis Allen begins his third season as secondary coach after serving as assistant defensive line coach during his first two years with the club. A nine-year NFL coaching veteran, Allen brings a well-rounded base of experience to his position – with an emphasis on working with defensive backs – and a strong reputation for his teaching skills.
In 2009, the Saints’ secondary overcame injuries to both starting cornerbacks that cost them much of the second half of the season, but still posted 20 interceptions and returned five of those picks for touchdowns. Defensive backs also made large contributions in the postseason, with CB Tracy Porter intercepting a pass late in the NFC Championhip game to send the game to overtime and returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIV to ice the victory.
While serving as assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07, Allen helped develop a unit that ranked as one of the strengths of the Saints’ defense. During that stretch, the defensive front combined for 48.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries and DE Will Smith was voted to the 2006 Pro Bowl.
Allen joined the Saints after a four-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons, where he spent his final two years as defensive assistant/quality control, with an emphasis on working with the defensive line. Over the previous two seasons, he was in charge of defensive quality control while helping tutor the secondary.
Over his last two years in Atlanta, the Falcons’ defense was paced by the play of the front four. In 2004, Atlanta led the NFL for the first time in club history with 48 sacks and the unit sent DE Patrick Kerney to the Pro Bowl. In 2005 DT Rod Coleman represented the club in the Pro Bowl and the Falcons notched 37 sacks.
In 2002, Allen’s first year with the Falcons, he assisted in coaching the defensive backfield. Atlanta improved to 16th against the pass after ranking 30th the year before, and tied for third in the NFL with 24 interceptions.
Taking over as the Saints’ secondary coach in 2008 was a return to Allen’s coaching roots. He had two stints working with defensive backs in the past on the college level.
Allen worked as the secondary coach for the University of Tulsa (2000-01) before heading to the NFL. Prior to his stint at Tulsa, Allen was on the coaching staff for four years (1996-99) at Texas A&M as a graduate assistant, working primarily with the school’s secondary.
A native of Hurst, Texas, Allen earned four letters for Texas A&M as a safety from 1992-95 and started the final 21 games of his career. A highlight was his fourth-quarter interception that clinched an 18-9 victory over Texas in 1993, sending the Aggies to their third-straight Cotton Bowl. He collected Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after intercepting two passes in a 36-14 win over Oklahoma in 1994.
Allen was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills and competed in their training camp in 1996. Allen’s father, Grady, was a linebacker for the Falcons from 1969-72.
He and his wife, Alisson, have a son, Garrison and a daughter, Layla.
PLAYING CAREER: Texas A&M, 1992-95.
COACHING CAREER: Texas A&M, 1996-1999; University of Tulsa, 2000-01; Atlanta Falcons, 2002-05; New Orleans Saints, 2006-
I think this is a solid hire for the Broncos, who have interviewed three defensive backs coach (not to mention, John Fox himself is a defensive backs guy).
One interesting tidbit from this is that Allen successfully coached up former Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins into a Pro Bowl caliber free safety. The same move has been rumored to be in the near future for current Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, and it's also been rumored that prospective draftee Patrick Peterson could make the move to free safety after playing cornerback at LSU.
Also, the Saints primarily run a 4-3, and with John Fox's roots coming in the 4-3, it might be safe to assume at this point that this is the direction the Broncos are headed, but nothing has been stated for sure either way.