Payton pleased to see Allen on opposite sideline
Dennis Allen didn’t get a chance to match wits against his
former boss when New Orleans visited Oakland last season.
Sean Payton’s season-long bounty suspension wiped that out, so
Allen will have to settle for a preseason date Friday night against
the coach and franchise he helped to win the Super Bowl title in
the 2009 season.
Allen was a defensive assistant for Payton’s first five seasons
in New Orleans. He saw firsthand how Payton arrived amid Hurricane
Katrina’s devastation and turned a moribund franchise into a
”Sean’s a heck of a football coach. I’ve learned a lot from him
just as far as how he handles a football team, what his demeanor is
and the swagger that he brings to his team,” Allen said this week
as he prepared the Raiders for Friday night’s game in the
Superdome. ”You’ll see a different New Orleans Saints football
team this year with having him back. That’s where I feel like, in
New Orleans, in those five years, that’s where I feel like I really
grew up as a football coach in the National Football League.
”It’ll be fun to go back,” Allen added. ”It’ll be fun to get
a chance to see some of those guys. I’ll get to talk to Sean and
bounce a few ideas off of him and see what he has to say.”
Allen also got to coach against Payton’s prolific offense in
practice, working first with the defensive line and then with the
secondary before leaving to become Denver’s defensive coordinator
for the 2011 season.
In terms of offensive play design and play-calling, Allen sees
Payton ”up there at the top of the league. That’s for sure.”
He said the Saints ”present a lot of challenges offensively in
the way that they match up their personnel, their tempo on offense,
the things that they do in the running game and in the passing
game. So it’ll be a great test for us.”
Allen was a quality control coach in Atlanta when Payton was
hired for his first head coaching job in New Orleans.
Payton said he had heard ”a lot of good things” about Allen
from coaches he knew, and decided to offer Allen a chance to work
with the defensive line. Soon after, he was promoted to head
”We saw very early on his talent, his ability to teach and
communicate,” Payton said. ”You know, you get a coach like that
and it’s hard to keep up with and then all of a sudden they’re on
to being a coordinator maybe quicker than you can put him in that
position, and now he’s a head coach and that’s not very surprising
Now 49, Payton said he takes pride in the fact that his former
assistants have taken promotions with other clubs and enjoys the
fact that two of his assistants from his initial staff – Allen and
former offensive line coach Doug Marrone – are now head coaches.
Marrone is in his first season with Buffalo, and Payton will see
him in New Orleans on Oct. 27 for a game that counts.
”It’s something you get excited about when somebody that was on
that original staff” becomes a fellow NFL head coach, Payton
He added that he often reminds Saints owner Tom Benson: ”Let’s
not get worried when others want to talk to our coaches. You get
worried when no one wants to talk to any of your coaches.”
Notes: Payton said LB Jon Vilma was in Philadelphia for
arthroscopic knee surgery. He says Vilma is expected to return but
did not specify when. … LB Curtis Lofton also was not present.
… OLB Junior Galette watched practice but did not participate.
… Also sitting out practice were WR Marques Colston, WR Courtney
Roby, LB Chris Chamberlain and C Eric Olsen.
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow in Napa, Calif., contributed to this