NFC South: NFL coaches 010211

New Orleans fans might want to keep a very close eye on what happens with the head-coaching situation in Denver. There’s a very good chance someone who does not get that job will be running the Saints’ defense next season.

As expected, Denver requested permission Monday to interview New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Coach Sean Payton said permission was granted and Williams will interview sometime this week. The Broncos couldn’t seek permission to interview Williams until the Saints’ season was over and that came with Saturday’s loss to Seattle.

If Williams gets the Denver job, one possible candidate to replace him in New Orleans would be John Fox, who also is scheduled to interview for the Denver job Wednesday. Fox spent the last nine seasons coaching the Carolina Panthers and he and Payton are close friends dating back to the days when they both were assistants with the New York Giants.

Payton said Williams still is under contract for next season with the Saints and the team doesn’t want to lose him. But Payton also said the situation is bittersweet because he wants what’s best for Williams.

“He’s been a huge part of what we’re doing,’’ Payton said. “We have a close staff and guys that understand and are unselfish. It’s about the team; it’s about all of us having success and I think each coach – certainly Gregg – understands that I want what’s best for them. I want them to have these opportunities and I want someday a list of coaches that have all come through here and worked for us and gone on to have success. That’s just a sign that we’re finding the right type of people.

“I think he’s going to have that opportunity and I think he’s going to be very successful when he does have it. Selfishly, there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to see it happen on your watch but I also recognize that he’s too good a talent. If there’s any way, shape or form that we can help him, (general manager) Mickey (Loomis) and myself and the group here will help him. I think that’s something that over his career that he has earned. Back to when we brought him in on an interview and I had never met him really or gotten to know him at all personally in the profession, I knew how difficult he was as a defensive coach. I think he’s going to be a great hire for a team that chooses to hire him. He’s someone that I couldn’t recommend highly enough.”

More from Jerry Richardson

January, 4, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Let’s jump back to the news conference that Carolina owner Jerry Richardson had this morning and touch on several different points.

Richardson explained his decision not to offer coach John Fox a contract extension.

“If we look at John Fox’s tenure, he did an outstanding job in a number of ways," Richardson said. "The fact is we had three winning seasons and failed to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. If you were writing the check, would you extend someone’s contract who you are not sure can produce the results?"

Here are another two quotes I found interesting.

“I would hope we have a head coach that’s compatible with the organization.’’

“We were not specific enough about what we wanted [from Fox and previous coaches].’’

The best interpretation I can give you on those is that somewhere along the way, Fox and the owner veered off on different courses about what’s expected from the coach. Clearly, the first order of business is to coach. But, early in his tenure, Fox also was a bit of a salesman. He grabbed the microphone and talked to fans at training camp and did some television commercials. In later years, Fox stayed clear of that type of thing. It's going to be made very clear to the new coach that he has to do more than coach.

Richardson also made it a point to say the 2-14 season hasn’t dampened his hopes for the future.

“I’m as enthusiastic as I ever have been," Richardson said. "I am extraordinarily excited about the young players on our team."

Although the Panthers have a bunch of key players who could become free agents, Richardson said the team will not make any effort to sign them or make any trades until the league’s labor situation is resolved.

Richardson also took exception to several questions that implied he wasn’t spending enough money to acquire top talent.

“As I former player, I think I may want to win more than some others," he said.
It already has been reported that the Denver Broncos are interested in Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their head-coaching job. But there is at least one other team in the game.

That’s the Cleveland Browns.

“The Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns have requested permission to speak with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their vacant head-coach positions,’’ Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “The Falcons have granted permission for Mike to interview for the jobs later this week.’’

The Falcons have a first-round playoff bye. Although there was some early speculation that Mularkey also could be a candidate in Carolina, there are no indications the Panthers have requested permission to talk to him. Mularkey previously was a head coach in Buffalo.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Add another name to the list of candidates to coach the Carolina Panthers.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the Panthers have asked for and received permission to interview Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. The report said the team and Rivera are working to set up an interview in the coming days.

The Panthers already have asked the New York Giants for permission to interview defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. It is believed the Panthers are in the process of trying to set up interviews with several other possible candidates.

Rivera helped San Diego’s defense allow the fewest yards of any team in the league this year.

Carolina owner Jerry Richardson, general manager Marty Hurney and team president Danny Morrison are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday morning to discuss general plans for the coaching search.