Payton speaks about coordinator search and a challenge that awaits his team

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The search for the new New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator will not include a member of the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. Reports from the NFL Network and the Times —Picayune say the 49ers did not grant the Saints permission to interview secondary coach Ed Donatell.


“To interview you have to get permission,” Payton said in the interview in regards to wanting to talk to what he said could be between 2-4 candidates. “Just because it’s a promotion it’s not a given that they would grant that permission. There’s a couple of those requests out there to other teams in regards to a position coach that we would have interest in interviewing as a coordinator.”

Tuesday night it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and tweeted by Fox Spots Jay Glazer that the Saints planned on hiring former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Subsequent reports have the team interviewing Ryan on Friday and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Thursday.

“I think we’ll know in a week,” Payton said in an ESPN radio interview on the Mike and Mike show Wednesday morning.

Thursday night at the Hornets game Hornets courtside reporter Jennifer Hale interviewed Payton and he told her that he is bringing in a 3rd candidate early next week.

Callers on my show “The Sports Hangover” on Wednesday and through messages to me on social media seem to be against a Ryan hire. It was interesting that many of the opinions at some point referred to the demeanor of Ryan being perhaps to close to Gregg Williams the team’s former defensive coordinator and a key component in the NFL’s bounty investigation of the team.

Ryan’s bravado nature however could be what players want as linebacker Scott Shanle tweeted on Wednesday, “whoever Saints hire need to bring back attitude & swag we had in 2009-11& no it wasn't because of $50 pool we had. Save da bounty comments.”

Whoever the hire is it is clear that this could turn out to be one of the most important hires in Payton’s tenure as Saints head coach. Offensively the team has the tools needed to compete for a championship but father time is catching up to quarterback Drew Brees who has thrown for 5,000 plus yards in three of the last five seasons. Brees won’t be in his prime forever and everyone understands the time to go for a second Lombardi trophy is now.

MOVING ON

Several Saints players tweeted seconds and minutes following the end of Super Bowl XLVII that the preparations for the 2013 began then.

“The mindset for the 2013 season starts now, Who Dat Nation. We will make you proud,” Brees tweeted as the confetti was falling on the Baltimore Ravens players.

“Preparation for the 2013 Saints season officially begins now. One team, one city, one goal. #Who Dat,” tweeted Saints tight end David Thomas.
“Was a great Super Bowl wknd here in New Orleans! Now I'm ready to get back on this training grind. Great things coming next season#whodat,” tweeted Saints receiver Lance Moore.

So the players seem to be antsy about getting back to work and when they do head coach Sean Payton will be waiting to deliver a clear message. That message is that the team and organization has to let go of 2012 and move on from the bounty situation.

“I think this is going to be a key challenge for us,” Payton told Mike and Mike when they brought up the fact that Brees during Super Bowl brought up that he was still upset at the bounty penalties. “I think it’s going to be important for all of us to move forward our team, our players and our coaches. Our challenge is 2013 and based on some of the tape I’m watching we got a lot of challenges to get better at.”

“If you can’t let it go it can haunt you the following year, and the following year,” Payton continued. “That’s something I’m going to deal with when the players get back and certainly if I’m able to move from this then they’re going to as well. This has got to be something we put in the rearview mirror. Our focus has got to be on making the improvements and getting back to winning football and getting back to the playoffs. If we continue to hold on to that bitterness and that anger, those emotions and I understand them, then I just feel like it becomes at some point counterproductive”

Who Dats in case you’re wondering, the NFL regular season kicks in less than seven months on September 5.

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