The New Orleans Saints have found their new defensive coordinator under Dennis Allen. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reports the Saints will hire former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods to fill the same role.
The Saints recently saw former co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen According to NewOrleans.Football, Allen will remain the play-caller on defense for the Saints (just as he was last year), while Woods will be his top assistant and help out with the defensive backs. (New Orleans also allowed the contract of assistant defensive backs coach Cory Robinson to expire.)in Atlanta, then allowed fellow co-defensive coordinator Kris Richard out of his contract.
Woods served as the defensive coordinator in Cleveland for three seasons, and previously held the same role with the Denver Broncos for two seasons. He has otherwise been a longtime defensive backs coach, working at different times with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers. It was on that Raiders staff where he worked with Allen, who was the team's head coach until being fired after an 0-4 start to the year.
The Saints have several young defensive backs that Woods can presumably help with their development, such as Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor. Their defense remains an older unit overall, though, and he will need to work with Allen to stave off any possible age-related regression.
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New Orleans recently replenished some of the draft capital it has spent over the years with the compensation it received from the Broncos for Sean Payton, and the Saints always find a way to manufacture salary-cap space even when it does not seem possible at the outset of the offseason. Using those avenues to fortify the depth and bring in some younger players who can be groomed to eventually take over at key positions would be a wise move.