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Bengals coaching profile: Dennis Allen

Allen’s team lost to Zac Taylor in this year’s postseason. Could the two join forces in Cincinnati?

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tonight’s Super Bowl is the only thing standing in the way of the Bengals’ coaching staff getting put together. Tomorrow, the team will officially announce Zac Taylor as their new head coach, and the rest of his assistants will soon be revealed subsequently.

The favorites to be hired as Taylor’s defensive coordinator seemed to be Jack Del Rio and John Fox, but Dennis Allen’s name has now been thrown into the discussion as well.

Like Del Rio and Fox, Allen has head coaching experience along with an extensive background coaching the defensive side of the ball. In comparison to those two, Allen’s overall success falls a little bit short when he’s been running the show.


  • 1996-1999: Texas A&M (Graduate Assistant)
  • 2000-2001: Tulsa (DB Coach)
  • 2002-2003: Atlanta Falcons (Defensive Quality Control)
  • 2004-2005: Atlanta Falcons (Defensive Assistant)
  • 2006-2007: New Orleans Saints (Assistant DL Coach)
  • 2008-2010: New Orleans Saints (DB Coach)
  • 2011: Denver Broncos (Defensive Coordinator)
  • 2012-2014: Oakland Raiders (Head Coach)
  • 2015: New Orleans Saints (Defensive Assistant/Interim Defensive Coordinator)
  • 2016-2018: New Orleans Saints (Defensive Coordinator)

12 years before Taylor became a graduate assistant for his father-in-law Mike Sherman at Texas A&M, Allen spent four years starting his coaching career there as well. Allen’s future then became centered around defense when he made the jump to the NFL as a defensive assistant and quality control coach for the Falcons.

Allen then jumped to the Falcons’ hated rival in the Saints for five years. By the time he was about to get promoted to defensive coordinator for the Broncos, Allen had experience as four different kinds of defensive assistants.

In 2011, his one season as defensive coordinator in Denver, Allen’s unit ranked 20th in total defense as the Fox-lead Broncos finished 8-8. The Raiders then took a chance on Allen and made him their new head coach, replacing Hue Jackson.

In his three seasons in Oakland, Allen went 8-28. He was fired four games into his third year after they opened the year 0-4. The Saints reunited with Allen the following season and he re-joined the organization as a defensive assistant. Halfway through his first year back in New Orleans, he replaced a Rob Ryan at defensive coordinator and has held down the position ever since.

The Saints defense under Allen’s direction hasn’t been the historically bad version the Saints were accustomed to before him, but they haven’t been great either. 2016 saw his defense finish fourth-from-last in expected points, while 2017 and 2018 brought a more middle-of-the-road result with a ranking of 17th in that category in both years.

Allen had an interview with the Miami Dolphins for their head coaching position last month, but like any other candidate besides Brian Flores, was unsuccessful in acquiring that job.

Overall, Allen’s résumé isn’t as exciting as Del Rio’s or even Fox’s, but he roughly fits in the category that both of them fall in. A former head coach with extensive history running a defense, Allen can continue to rebuild his coaching pedigree after failing in Oakland and provide veteran guidance in Cincinnati for Taylor.