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Saints Coaching Search: The Hot Names

As the New Orleans Saints embark on their first coaching search since 2006, here are a few of the hottest names on the market.
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New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton retired from the franchise after 15 Hall of Fame worthy seasons with the team. For the first time since 2006, the Saints have to conduct a coaching search.

New Orleans has already reportedly set up interviews with defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Aaron Glenn, defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. Glenn was the Saints defensive backs coach from 2016 to 2020.

Many people hope that the team will promote from within. It would probably mean little changeover in the current coaching staff. Allen would be the most likely candidate. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael may also get a look. Even Glenn, or current Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, are former New Orleans assistants who could keep much of the same continuity.

The Saints also may go outside the building for their next head coach. Remember that Payton had no ties to the organization when he was hired in 2006. Expect the Saints to interview several candidates in the coming days and weeks.

Here are some of the hottest names to watch if New Orleans goes outside the Sean Payton coaching tree for their next coach.

ERIC BIENIEMY

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

  • Offensive Coordinator
  • Kansas City Chiefs

Bieniemy has been one of the hottest assistant coaching names for the last four years. He's had several interviews and is the favorite among Saints fans if the team hires outside the organization.

The 52-year-old Bieniemy is a native of New Orleans. A decorated running back at the University of Colorado, he'd go on to have a nine-year NFL career. He'd have most of his success as a player with the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals from 1991 to 1998 as an all-purpose back.

Bieniemy got his start in coaching at Colorado, serving as a running backs coach in 2001. He'd work five years at the college level with Colorado and UCLA. The Minnesota Vikings gave him his first NFL job in 2006, where he'd be a running backs coach until 2010.

Bieniemy returned to Colorado as their offensive coordinator in 2011. In 2013, he was added to Andy Reid's Kansas City staff as offensive coordinator. Reid and Bieniemy have orchestrated one of the NFL's most explosive and imaginative offenses over the last six seasons.

BRIAN DABOLL

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

  • Offensive Coordinator
  • Buffalo Bills

Another of the league's hottest assistants over the last two years, Daboll, 46, has already been linked to several job openings. He actually got his coaching start as a defensive assistant with the New England Patriots in 2000.

After two seasons in that capacity, Daboll was promoted to wide receivers coach for the Patriots. He'd serve in that role until 2006, winning three Super Bowls in seven years with New England. Daboll joined the New York Jets as their quarterbacks coach in 2007. He was hired away in 2009 by the Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator.

Daboll was Cleveland's offensive coordinator for two years, then served the same capacity for the Dolphins in 2011. He moved on as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2012. Daboll would be there just one year. A coaching change brought Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy to Kansas City in 2013.

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Daboll returned to the Patriots in 2013. He was their Tight Ends coach until 2016, winning two more Super Bowl rings. Daboll then joined Nick Saban's staff with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2017. As Alabama's offensive coordinator, he oversaw a unit that led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship.

After just one year at Alabama, Daboll returned to the NFL as offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills in 2018. He has overseen the development of fourth-year QB Josh Allen and one of the league's most diverse offenses over the last three years.

BRIAN FLORES

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

  • former Head Coach
  • Miami Dolphins

Other than Payton's retirement, Miami's firing of the 40-year-old Flores has been the offseason’s most surprising coaching move. After a 1-7 start, Flores guided the Dolphins to seven straight wins down the stretch to stay in playoff contention.

After getting his start in the Patriots scouting department in 2004, Flores was added to the team's coaching staff in 2008. He started as a special teams assistant, then served in various defensive capacities from 2011 through 2018. During his time with New England, Flores was a part of four Super Bowl titles.

Flores became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2019. He rebuilt one of the league's worst rosters that season and led them to a winning record in the last two years.

Expect to Saints to do their due diligence for perhaps the most important coaching hire in franchise history. Sean Payton left behind a roster with some questions, but still talented enough to win a championship.

New Orleans will undoubtedly interview some ‘‘under the radar'' names. They also may ultimately hire someone who is currently, or has recently been, on their staff. If the Saints look to pursue Bieniemy, Daboll, or Flores, the most popular names available, they'll have to move quickly. 

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