Saints coach Sean Payton believes NFL teams that target young, offensive-minded coaches are making a mistake by ruling out other qualified candidates without giving them a chance to prove themselves.
During an interview with NFL Network, Payton explained this year’s hiring process left out worthy candidates simply because teams were searching for the “next Sean McVay.” Based on the eight teams that hired new head coaches this season, there’s a notable trend as six of those coaches led the offense.
NFL Network notes only two of those six hires (Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians and Jets’ Adam Gase) have had previous head coaching experience. Denver’s Vic Fangio and Miami’s Brian Flores were the only two hired during the latest coaching cycle from the defensive side, with Flores being the only non-white male.
“I think we’ve got a diversity problem, like this season, what took place, that’s hitting us square in the face. I think that not a lot was written or discussed about it,” Payton explained. “There are a handful of coaches that I know that if I was a GM who I would be interested in hiring.”
I asked @Saints Coach Sean Payton about the trend of teams hiring young, offensive-minded head coaches. He delivered a strong, honest response, capped by him saying some teams are making mistakes and the Saints can’t wait to play them. This is damn good. 🔥🔥🔥@nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/AOiAsLCXeO
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) March 28, 2019
Payton pointed to Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy as examples that came from the defensive side before seeing success as head coach.
“The thing that can be disappointing though is when you talk to someone and they give you the profile (of their desired new coach) and then I’ll say ‘well you’re not interested in a young Bill Belichick or a young Tony Dungy?'” Payton said.
“They get so pigeonholed into — cause this is cyclical, right, this goes — and ultimately you would say if we did a little history, successful head coaches probably come from the east and the west and north and south. They probably come of both color and they probably come on defense and on offense. And they’re good leaders. They’re great leaders. And, so, if you say ‘well I just want the one that coaches quarterbacks and they’re on offense,’ well, then, you’re going to end up with a smaller pool and you’ll probably have less of a chance to be right, because already of eight hired there’s going to be three that survive three years.”
Payton, 55, added he’s excited to play those teams that hired a new head coach because he “see(s) a lot of mistakes made in that process.”