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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Sigler

Derek Carr reflects on ‘great relationship’ with Saints head coach Dennis Allen

A lot has been said about the link between New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen and Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr — Allen drafted Carr into the NFL back in 2014, after all, — and that bond clearly mattered to some extent when Carr made a two-day excursion to New Orleans to meet with Allen and other Saints brass at the team facility, with either a trade or release from the Raiders on the horizon.

And it appears they share a very strong sense of mutual respect. Carr reflected on his ties with Allen ahead of the Raiders’ midseason road game with the Saints last November, saying in a press conference with local media, via’s Aidan Champion: “D.A. and I have a great relationship still to this day. And I still talk to him and things like that — obviously not this week and all those things, but we’ve always kept in contact, we’ve always been close. I love him, I loved having him.”

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Carr was shocked to see Allen let go just four games into his rookie season, and he expressed sympathy for his old coach when the Raiders’ salary cap mismanagement and personnel issues came to light. At the same time, he’s been excited to see Allen succeed as a defensive coordinator, even if Carr himself has fallen victim to some of Allen’s machinations (the Saints limited him to 15 completions on 26 pass attempts for just 101 yards in that Week 8 meeting, sacking him 3 times and intercepting him once in a 24-0 blowout loss).

The Saints defense that Allen has built now would be the best unit Carr has ever been paired with. He acknowledged Allen’s strength on that side of the ball, adding: “He’s a brilliant mind, really smart, cerebral, can break down an offense, can really put pressure on quarterbacks, make it hard on them. From a quarterback perspective as a defensive coach, I had a great relationship with him. We had open communication for the short time that we had, and I’ll never forget it.”

So will Carr and Allen be reunited in New Orleans? We’ll know within a week once the Raiders’ self-imposed deadline on Feb. 15 passes by. At that point Carr will either have reached an agreement to be traded to the Saints (which won’t officially process until March 15, due to a quirk in the league calendar) or be released and allowed to pursue opportunities as a free agent. Given Carr’s history with Allen and what the Saints can offer him, though, it’s easy to see why New Orleans is so appealing.

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