Dennis Allen had become the seventh Raiders coach in a 10-year span when he was asked, in 2012, how we would be the one to put his stamp on the moribund franchise.
His answer was telling — and of interest, even three years later, to the Bears, who, sources said, continued their pursuit of former Broncos coach John Fox on Thursday.
Ryan Pace, whose entire 14–year NFL year career was with New Orleans before the Bears hired him as their general manager last week, worked with Allen there.
Fox employed him as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, too, in 2011.
“When you look at the New Orleans Saints, we were 3-13,” Allen said then, “Sean Payton goes in there, I was a part of the first coaching staff there. We took a team and went to the NFC championship game the very next year. Four years later, we’re in the Super Bowl and winning a world championship.
“The Denver team last year was a down team at 4-12. We turned that team around, won a division title. Those are the same things that I intend for us to be able to do here.”
He didn’t, and was fired by the Raiders in September after going 8-28.
Allen, though, has emerged as a likely defensive coordinator candidate for the Bears, assuming they seal their deal with Fox.
His style would fit Pace’s desire for an aggressive defense, even if Fox, a fellow college safety and a defensive-minded head coach, helped to craft the scheme. Allen called his own defensive plays in Denver.
His focus on discipline could help a Bears unit aching for it. They allowed the most points in franchise history in 2013 and the second-most in 2014.
Allen — who coached the Saints’ defensive line from 2006-07 and the secondary from 2008-10 — interviewed with the Giants for their coordinator position Tuesday. Two days later, though, the Giants chose to bring back former coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to run the defense.
Allen could be paired, sources said, with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan on the Bears. Only 35, Shanahan has already served as the offensive coordinator for the Texans, Redskins and Browns. He resigned from his Cleveland job after one season last week.
One appeal of hiring Fox is his ability to craft a coaching staff, even if he might have to fight former defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio — hired as the Raiders head coach on Wednesday — for familiar assistants.
In Denver alone, Fox coached three men who went on to become head coaches — the Chargers’ Mike McCoy, Allen and Del Rio. A fourth, Adam Gase, interviewed for Fox’s old job Thursday, the Broncos confirmed.