According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, Sean Payton is beginning to work on assembling his coaching staff with the Denver Broncos. Reports indicate that he has met with and will meet again with defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero already about his interest in remaining the Broncos' defensive coordinator. However, we have three more names who are in the mix to join Payton’s coaching staff.
Klis states that former Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, former defensive backs/co-defensive backs coach Kris Richard, and former offensive line/tight ends coach/run game coordinator Dan Roushar are the three coaches who could join Payton’s staff.
Lombardi recently was the Los Angeles Chargers' offensive coordinator and play-caller for the past two seasons. However, after an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the wild-card round, the Chargers fired Lombardi and replaced him with former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
So, he is not the most attractive coaching candidate, but he did serve as Payton’s quarterbacks coach during his two stints with the Saints during his coaching career. He first joined as an assistant back in 2007 before becoming the quarterbacks coach from 2009 to 2013. He left to be the Lions' offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2015 before rejoining the Saints staff as the quarterback’s coach from 2016 to 2020. So, he is very familiar with Payton and seems likely to join his staff as his quarterbacks coach or even offensive coordinator. Remember, Payton runs the offense and is the play-caller, so having someone he can trust in the roles under him is important.
As for Roushar, he was recently let go by the Saints but has served on Payton’s staff from 2013 to 2021. During those years, he served as their running backs coach from 2013 to 2014, as the tight ends coach in 2015, as the offensive line coach from 2016 to 2020, and run game coordinator & tight ends coach from 2021 to 2022. If he joins the Broncos staff, he would likely either be their offensive line coach or tight ends coach under Payton.
Next, we have Kris Richard who joined the Saints staff in 2021 as the defensive backs coach. This past season, he served as the co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach for them. He was recently let go by the team and is reportedly a candidate to join Payton’s staff in Denver. Before his stint with the Saints, he served as the Cowboys' defensive backs coach & passing game coordinator. He started his NFL coaching career with the Seattle Seahawks and was their defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2017.
Richard could be viewed as a fallback option at defensive coordinator if things do not work out with Evero and he is allowed to seek other opportunities. However, this would appear to be a bit of a downgrade at defensive coordinator and I would hope they would consider other candidates as well.
Keep in mind, these three coaches are just considered coaches “in the mix” to join Payton’s staff and are not locks. With that said, Lombardi and Roushar likely have a good shot at joining Payton’s staff because of their extensive history with him with the Saints. As for Richard, he only spent one year with him so the connection is not nearly as strong.