In the wake of the departure of longtime head coach Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints will be hard at work in the coming days to hire his replacement.

On Monday morning, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Saints had interviews with former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, and their own defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen, lined up for the week.

Later in the day, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network added that New Orleans special teams coach, Darren Rizzi, is also set to be interviewed.

Flores is the only one of those four candidates with no ties to the Saints. He had a 24-25 record in his three years as head coach in Miami. Given that the first year was essentially a tank season, that’s not bad.

Allen’s prior head coaching experience was from 2012-2014 with the then Oakland Raiders. He went 4-12 in 2012 and 2013 and 0-4 before being fired in 2014. The Raiders were 8-8 in the two seasons prior to Allen’s hiring. So, there’s no way to spin that record into a positive. But a lot of time has passed since then. Furthermore, the Saints were seventh in total defense and fourth in points per game during the 2021 season.

Glenn was the defensive backs coach for the Saints from 2016 to 2020. The Lions were one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2021. Given where that franchise is, however, that must be graded on a curve.

Rizzi, meanwhile, oversaw a special teams unit that Rick Gosselin of Sports Illustrated ranked as the fifth-best in the NFL for the 2021 season. So it’s not hard to figure out why he’s a candidate for multiple jobs.

Excluding the 2012 season, which saw Aaron Kromer and Joe Vitt roaming the sidelines as interim coaches while Payton served his one-year suspension for Bountygate, this is the first time the Saints have looked for a head coach since Payton was hired following the 2005 season. Because it’s been so long, they’re easily the hardest team of all those searching for a head coach to figure out.

But given the number of candidates, New Orleans is not rushing into anything. The Saints are doing their due diligence.

[Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafalo]

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