Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports
METAIRIE, La. ― Saints head coach Sean Payton said Monday during his season-ending news conference that the Denver Broncos faxed in a formal request for permission to speak with New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for their head coaching opening.
Ancient technology notwithstanding, it’s Williams’ only known request for an interview this offseason. He guided the Saints to the No. 4 total defense ranking this season, including the league’s fourth-best pass defense during the regular season.
Denver Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway tweeted Monday that Williams will go to Colorado for a Wednesday interview. The Broncos also will visit with Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Jacksonville offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and former Carolina head coach John Fox.
Denver already has met with Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Eric Studesville, who was acting as interim head coach for the Broncos after they fired Josh McDaniels.
No other coaches have been requested for interviews, Payton said
Still, Payton doesn’t mind getting requests because it means New Orleans is doing something right.
“When (the faxes) are coming in for your coaches, that’s a good sign,” Payton said. “That means people value what you’re doing. That generally comes with winning. I’ve always said be leery if three or four years comes by and nobody has had any interest in any of your coaches. That’s probably a bad sign.”
He added later, “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.”
Payton said he expects the entire coach staff to remain intact, Williams’ interview with Denver notwithstanding.
He credited the entire staff with helping the Saints follow up the 13-3 Super Bowl-season with an 11-5 playoff berth season.
“I thought they did a fantastic job this year,” Payton said. “I was not only proud of the locker room, but proud of the way those guys responded after a long season the year before. Part of having success is having the right teachers and I have a group – oftentimes I’m hard on them, especially on game days – but I have group that are very good teachers.
“They’re very good communicators. We’ve had stability and I think that has been a big reason why we’ve had success.”
Nevertheless, Williams is the coach right now with an interview opportunity. Payton said the two spoke for nearly 30 minutes Monday morning and attributed some of the Saints’ recent success to the veteran defensive coordinator who has helped improve the defense overall.
“I knew how difficult he was as a defensive coach,” Payton said. “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.”