For four teams, the clock keeps ticking toward Threat Level Midnight.
Three weeks after the regular season ended, coaches haven’t been hired in Denver, Indianapolis, Arizona, or Houston. Former Saints coach Sean Payton is a factor in three of those places.
Appearing on the FOX NFL Kickoff show, Payton addressed his candidacy, in broad terms.
“It’s been a busy week, a great week,” Payton said. “We’ve had a chance to visit with a lot of great owners, a lot of outstanding organizations. They’re obviously looking for a reboot.
“I think with the way the coaching hiring process has changed this year, we’re seeing it play out a little longer for these clubs. And I think there’s more pressure on everyone who’s covering it. And I think it’s a good thing, because they’re allowing teams to get to the right candidates.
“I think in the next week we’re going to know a lot more. . . . There’s a handful of things that still are taking place for these coaches, and myself.”
A week can be a lifetime when it comes to coaching searches. Three days ago, the Panthers made their hire.
Payton didn’t address the report from the Washington Post that he has concerns about a potential power struggle with a member of Broncos ownership. He previously refuted it on Twitter.
It continues to be one of the stranger reports of the week, something Payton would have no reason to leak. Even if he has concerns, it’s still important to have maximum options and leverage. Burning a bridge to Denver pre-emptively makes no sense.
Within the next week, more sense will be made of the entire situation. That’s what Payton thinks, and he’s right in the middle of 75 percent of the current searches.