Advocate staff photo by Scott Threlkeld -- Dennis Allen

Rob Ryan is being given some assistance.

According to ESPN, the New Orleans Saints are bringing Dennis Allen back to town to serve in a “senior defensive role,” working closely with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Allen worked with the Saints from 2006-2010 serving first as an assistant defensive line coach and then taking over the secondary. He left the team in 2011 to become the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and then became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2012.

He was fired by the Raiders in September after an 0-4 start. He went 8-28 over three seasons.

New Orleans finished 31st in total defense last season after placing in the top five in 2013, Ryan’s first season with the team.

There was speculation throughout the season that Ryan could potentially be fired, but multiple sources told The Advocate he would be brought back for another season. It is not clear how Allen’s hiring will impact or change his role with the team -- if at all.

The Saints have made a handful of changes to its coaching staff this offseason, firing tight ends coach Terry Malone, receivers coach Henry Ellard, and secondary coach Andre Curtis.

General manager Mickey Loomis is expected to speak with the media this week in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl.