It is rare to read articles about the job a coach wants. The job market for unemployed coaches often works the other way around. The job opened, a series of trained candidates crowded into the interview hall. Sean Payton is in a unique position where he can take shots.
Payton is a transcendent attack mastermind. During their time in New Orleans, the Saints finished first with a total of six fouls over 16 seasons, twice they led the league in goalscoring and four and top three fouls. From 2006 to 2018, they hit more yards than any team in NFL history over a 12-year period. Then, like Avatar, he disappeared.
Instead, the Saints’ offense was demolished. He went to heaven at quarterback, as a studio analyst for FOX. But unlike most retired coaches, we never buried Payton’s career. It is thought he will eventually return from a sabbatical, possibly as soon as 2023. He is said to have tried to fill the vacancy in Miami and lure the “retired” Tom Brady to town. But that plan failed. Since then, he has chosen internal football knowledge sharing instead, on Colin Cowherd’s couch.
That can’t last though. According to ESPN NFL reporters Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, Payton has narrowed its focus on the Los Angeles Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals. Somewhere in downtown Dallas, a breeze blew across town from Mike McCarthy breathing a sigh of relief.
Payton has options and he has wisely fixed on teams with franchise midfielders. Los Angeles has the most stable quarterback situation. However, they extremely lacked dexterity in attack and mismanaged Justin Herbert. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi defeated Herbert. After being praised for his deadly off-field passes during his first two trips around the NFL sun, he suddenly developed Chad Pennington’s passing record.
Arizona’s problems are well documented and Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive genius is overstated. He does not take the advantage of front-shooting motion, his teamntigrate in the second half of the season and his relationship with him The midfielder caused a stir. However, the assault personnel in Arizona are underutilized. Murray’s size may be a minor setback, but Payton has shown over the course of 15 seasons with Drew Brees what he can do with a tiny signal caller. If the Cardinals were to invest $230 million in Murray, they might as well splurge on all the jewels.
Kingsbury’s plan of mass-spreading attacks didn’t cut it, but Payton was a master tailor. The individual attack he will design for Murray must be cunning enough to keep the defense honest and get the Cardinals players into open space or open lower court.
However, there is one obstacle. In return, the team that ends up hiring him will owe the New Orleans Saints compensation in the form of picks. Herm Edwards and Jon Gruden are the best coaches traded while on contract. In 2006, Edwards was released from his contract to become the captain’s head coach. The captains planned the pick in the fourth round. Then, in 2002, the Raiders traded Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers in exchange for Tampa’s first-round picks in the next two drafts as well as second-round picks in 2002 and 2004. Tampa won one. Super Bowl in the first year.
Payton’s reports would upset Brandon Staley and Kingsbury in particular. Staley’s Chargers offense is struggling this season, but he has generated more goodwill in Los Angeles than Kingsbury in half the time. Kingsbury was hired as an attacking specialist, but the Cardinals were never a top 10 scorer.
Payton’s name used to be around work in Dallas. From the sounds of it, Payton saw the Cowboys blow VIkings to shreds and realized he should have a backup plan.
However, #PaytonWatch has been hanging around vulnerable coaches throughout the season like some kind of spirit haunting teams that are on the brink. Endure a two-game losing streak and you’ll feel Payton’s presence in the room even though he’s long since left the active NFL coaching world. This could drag on for another year, as Payton has a contract with New Orleans through 2024, but active coaches are hoping the coach’s sacrifice is made on Sean Payton’s altar and reduced heat for the rest.