<
>

Payton: NFL 'pigeonholed' how it hires coaches

play
Is Sean Payton right about the NFL pigeonholing how it hires coaches? (1:23)

Will Cain asks why NFL teams are so focused on hiring offensive-minded coaches instead of coaches similar to Bill Belichick and the Patriots. (1:23)

METAIRIE, La. -- You would think Sean Payton, of all people, would support the NFL's recent wave of offense-minded coaching hires.

But the New Orleans Saints coach told NFL Network that he sees "a lot of mistakes made in that process" when teams get so "pigeonholed" in searching for a specific type of coach.

"And so we're excited to play those teams," said Payton, who also mentioned that the NFL has a "diversity problem" with its head-coaching hires.

Payton, who was once hired as a rising young offensive mind, was asked about this year's NFL coaching cycle being dominated by several teams trying to replicate the success of young, offense-minded head coaches such as Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams and Matt Nagy with the Chicago Bears.

"It's not frustrating, but the thing that can be disappointing is when you talk to someone and they give you the profile. And then I'll say, 'Well, you're not interested in a young Bill Belichick or a young Tony Dungy?'" Payton said. "They get so pigeonholed, because this is cyclical, right? And then ultimately you would say if we did a little history, successful head coaches probably come from the East and the West, the North and the South, they probably come of both color, and they probably come on defense and on offense, and they're good leaders -- they're great leaders.

"So if you say, 'Well, I just want the ones that coach quarterbacks and they're on offense,' well then you're gonna end up with a smaller pool. And you probably have less of a chance to be right. Because already of eight hired, there's gonna be three that survive three years.

"I [also] think we've got a diversity problem that -- this season, what took place -- that's hitting us square in the face. And I think not a lot was written or discussed about it."

Only one of the eight new head coaches hired this year is a minority -- the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- as the total number of minority head coaches fell from eight to four leaguewide.

Four of the eight coaches hired were first-time head coaches with offensive backgrounds -- the Arizona Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury, the Green Bay Packers' Matt LaFleur, the Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor and the Cleveland Browns' Freddie Kitchens. Two others were offense-minded head coaches in their second gigs -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Bruce Arians and the New York Jets' Adam Gase. And two were defensive coordinators getting their first head-coaching jobs -- Flores and the Denver Broncos' Vic Fangio.

Payton mentioned that three members of his staff were considered for head-coaching jobs -- offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. And he said he thinks he has "four or five coaches on my staff that are gonna become head coaches at some point."

He also brought up his own team when he made a funny comparison between teams trying to find the next McVay and teams trying to find a versatile running back like New Orleans' breakout star, Alvin Kamara.

"It's like, 'I want Alvin Kamara.' Well, you can't have him," Payton said. "Now you can go draft 10 more running backs and be 0-for-10 trying to find him. Or McVay."