It isn’t too surprising that Sean Payton is pulling from the years of connections he made with the New Orleans Saints to assemble his staff on the Denver Broncos. Payton is bringing Saints assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief with him to work with the Broncos blockers up front, and KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis reports that three other former Saints assistants are “in the mix” for jobs on Payton’s new coaching staff.
Two of them were just recently let go by second-year head coach Dennis Allen: co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kris Richard as well as run-game coordinator and tight ends coach Dan Roushar. They aren’t alone, though. Let’s dive a little deeper into the names Klis reports are in consideration in Denver:
The longtime Saints quarterbacks coach has had two different stints as an offensive coordinator in the NFL, flaming out twice with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers. It’s possible he gets a look for that same position under Payton though he very likely would not call plays. That’s a responsibility Payton has shouldered himself for much of his coaching career. Lombardi was fired by the Chargers earlier this offseason.
Roushar wore many hats on Payton’s coaching staff over the years, at times working with the running backs, tight ends, offensive line, and the running game as a whole. It would make a lot of sense for him to follow Payton to Denver and coach one of those position groups though it remains to be seen how many members of the Broncos’ initial coaching staff will be retained for 2023.
Vaguely-worded philosophical differences led to a fissure between Richard and Allen as the 2022 season wore on, and now he’s looking for a fresh start. He first came to the Saints in 2021 to work with Payton after being out of football in 2020, and a successful run in Denver could catapult him back into the spotlight. He was getting head coach interviews not too long ago. Denver’s defense is already well-built and it’s easy to see Richard stepping in as Payton’s coordinator on that side of the ball.