We spoke too soon.
The division rival Oakland Raiders have officially hired away former Broncos’ defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday. Allen was rumored to be a frontrunner to replace departed coach Hue Jackson after returning to Oakland for multiple interviews.
The move means that the Broncos will, for the seventh year in a row, hire a new defensive coordinator to start the 2012 season.
Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey expressed his dismay at losing Allen, saying, “It will be another coordinator…that’s another change for us.”
Allen’s hiring marks a quick ascension for the young coach, having spent just one season as defensive coordinator in Denver. Allen is credited for turning the league’s worst defense in 2010 into a respectable, aggressive unit that kept a lot of scores low, games close, and memorable Tim Tebow comebacks possible. Allen won a Super Bowl coaching the secondary with the New Orleans Saints in 2009.
While losing a good young coach to a division rival hurts, the Broncos will undoubtedly retain head coach John Fox, a defensive-minded coach himself. The Broncos will again field one of the best pass rushing tandems in the league with a bevy of developing young talent.
Only time will tell the effect that Allen’s departure has on the Broncos, Raiders, and the AFC West race. As fans found out with former head coach Josh McDaniels, bright young coordinators often flop in their head coaching debuts.
John Fox and the Broncos’ front office must now evaluate their options to fill the vacancy at defensive coordinator. An early possibility is former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack del Rio, who worked under John Fox as defensive coordinator with success for the Carolina Panthers.