Doug Pederson and Brian Flores among four candidates included in interviews with Saints head coach this week

The Saints waste no time finding Sean Payton’s replacement, and the slate includes a Super Bowl-winning coach.

New Orleans interviewed former Eagles coach Doug Pederson on Sunday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported. The search for Saints coaches continues this week with plans to interview former Dolphins coach Brian Flores on Tuesday, current Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn on Wednesday and current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen on Wednesday or Thursday, per Rapoport .

Pederson hasn’t coached since the 2020 season, his last in Philadelphia before he and the Eagles agreed to part ways at the end of the campaign. Prior to his departure, Pederson had accumulated plenty of goodwill in Philadelphia, leading the Eagles to a 13-3 finish in 2017 that included a three-game playoff winning streak to the franchise’s first Super Bowl triumph. A product of Andy Reid’s coaching tree, Pederson endeared himself to Eagles fans who had never seen their team reach the top of the mountain by proving he could chase (and ultimately win) a title. with not one, but two quarterbacks, and lead them through the outside. doubt to the promised land of football.

Eventually, however, the magic wore off, with a nightmarish 2020 season that ended Pederson and Carson Wentz’s stay in Philadelphia. Pederson spent the last year out of football but has been a notable name in this hiring cycle, taking with him a demonstrated ability to steer a football team to serious Super Bowl affirmation, provided the talent is there. adequate.

Flores joined the coaching pool via a surprise dismissal which seemed to be the product of internal discord more than it was performance on the pitch. Flores was seen as a promising head coach in Miami and led the Dolphins into an impressive season turnaround despite constant questions about his quarterback status, nearly reaching the playoffs after starting 2021 with a 1-7 record. . Flores has been a hot candidate with a bright future for much of the cycle.

Glenn and Allen each have a story in New Orleans. Glenn just completed his first season as defensive coordinator in Detroit after five seasons working under Allen as the Saints’ defensive backs coach. Glenn’s rise to head coaching would be quick, but not entirely surprising, considering this isn’t the first head coaching opening he’s been interviewed for this cycle.

Allen has experience as a head coach, having played for the then Oakland Raiders from 2012 to 2014. Allen won eight games combined in his first two seasons while guiding an untalented Raiders team before being fired after a 0-4 start to the 2014 season. He has since worked for the Saints as defensive coordinator and has overseen a steady transformation from one of the league’s worst defenses (31st in 2015, 27th in 2016) into one of its best units in recent years. landing in the top seven in total yards allowed. per game in each of the past two seasons.

Although they have significant cap gymnastics to perform to remedy their current salary situation, the Saints are well positioned to challenge for an NFC South crown in 2022, provided they can address the quarterback ( the only quarterbacks currently under contract are Payton favorite Taysom Hill and Ian Book). With Tom Brady’s early retirement, the NFC South appears to be wide open, which means the Saints are looking for a coach who can step in and get the job done right from day one. Such an openness could be appealing to veteran coaches looking for another chance to lead a team that won‘t include a massive rebuild.

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