Saints Bills Football

New Orleans coach Sean Payton walks the sidelines during a Nov. 12, 2017, game against the Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Oh, when the Braints come marching in!

Laissez les bon temps rouler, Sean Payton.

Is this the  biggest steal involving both Nawlins and the site where Mile High Stadium is located since the Louisiana Purchase 220 years ago?

Payton is bringing NOLA to DENCO. He has begun hiring a coaching staff that could be loaded with eight assistants or more accustomed to the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, jambalaya, Café Du Monde and the voodoo they do. What’s next – the Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing at the opening game?

Get this: The former Saints coach Wednesday even added an assistant from the famed high school in New Orleans that produced Peyton, Eli and wunderkind Arch Manning.

No po’boys need apply for Sean Payton.

Officially named Broncos head coach Feb. 3, Payton said his philosophy of hiring assistants has evolved over the years to “slow to hire, fast to fire.’’ He has been deliberate deliberately in his decisions the past 10 days.

When Sean’s return to the NFL after a one-season hiatus as a network TV analyst became evident, it was reported on Christmas Eve that he already had formulated an “all-star staff’’ that included Vic Fangio, the Broncos’ ex-head coach. However, Fangio has accepted an offer from Miami Dolphins coach and Aurora’s own Mike McDaniel. Fangio, who signed on to be a consultant for the Eagles in the Super Bowl (and lost to the Chiefs for the seventh consecutive game) turned down a proposal from San Francisco 49ers coach and Denver’s own Kyle Shanahan.

So, another rumor since then had Payton talking with Rex Ryan, the old coach of the New York Jets, about the defensive coordinator’s job in Denver.

Now Payton has progressed the process and obviously is concentrating on coaches he’s comfortable with from the Saints, the franchise he coached from 2006-2021. His first appointment was Zach Strief, who Payton drafted in New Orleans, was a 12-year veteran guard-tackle at the Superdome, became the Saints’ radio play-by-play broadcaster, then became the team’s assistant offensive line coach. Strief has taken over as the Broncos’ offensive line coach.

He has been joined on the offensive side by Declan Doyle, who was an offensive assistant with the Saints for four seasons and will coach the Broncos’ tight ends.

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Payton is expected Thursday to hire Dan Dalrymple, who was his strength and conditioning coach for 16 seasons in New Orleans. And the coach is considering at least four others who coached for him with the Saints. Sean has conferred with Ronald Curry, who likely would be the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach. Curry has been with the Saints since 2016 after playing wide receiver for three NFL teams and coaching with the 49ers. Joe Lombardi, fired at season’s end as Chargers coordinator, likely will be reunited with Payton as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator.

Other previous Saints assistants who could be employed by the Broncos include Kris Richard, who was co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in New Orleans until being fired recently, and Cory Robinson, the Saints’ assistant secondary coach this past season.

The latest and most surprising hire is Logan Kilgore as a quality control coach. Kilgore, who played quarterback in the Canadian Football League for six years, was Arch Manning’s offensive coordinator at Newman High School in New Orleans last season. He also was invited to Saints camp as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

Payton’s own posse of Lombardi, Curry and Kilgore probably would work in aggregation with Russell Wilson.

Sean could sign another Sean as defensive coordinator. Sean Desai, currently the Seahawks’ associate head coach and former Bears DC, has been interviewed by Payton. He has an undergraduate degree from Boston University, a masters from Columbia and a doctorate from Temple.

He must have vacationed in New Orleans sometime.

And Rex Ryan, who certainly has consumed his share of etouffee, looms as a possibility.

Not one Broncos assistant has been retained so far. Several remain in flux.

Perhaps Payton will solidify his coaching staff by the time Mardi Gras celebrations are held Tuesday in New Orleans and even the Denver area, which has more than a dozen outstanding Cajun and creole bars and restaurants (from Lucille’s to NoNo’s Café to Lost Cajun and Nola Voodoo Tavern), including several with Louisiana Crawfish Boils and which claim to be the official Colorado home of the Saints. Payton and his assistants should feel right at home.

Bring on the Braints! Let the good times roll.

Woody Paige has been a sports and general columnist in Colorado with the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, The Colorado Springs Gazette and The Denver Gazette since 1974. He has been a commentator for the ESPN network on six different shows for 20 years.

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