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Transcript: Mickey Loomis speaks about Sean Payton stepping down, new coaching search

Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis spoke with the media on Friday, January 28

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis

Virtual Media Availability - Friday, January 28, 2021

Do you feel that it's significant that this head coaching job became open after eight other teams have openings as well?

"Yeah, I don't think that's a significant factor. A couple of teams are further along in the process and a couple guys have been hired already. I'm not overly concerned with that. I think our circumstances are different. Those eight teams where they let go of head coaches, I think their situations are different than ours. We had our coach retire with a lot of really good things in place already."

What are your reflections on Sean Payton stepping down? What kind of time is it for you having to hire a new head coach for the first time since 2005?

"Yeah, I think what I am going to do is speak with you guys next week in Mobile (at the Senior Bowl) and I will hold those comments until then. I still have to wrap my arms around the emotion of it all. Look, it is hard to summarize up 16 years in a few words. I want to give that a little more thought and make sure I do it justice. I apologize that I'm not answering that question right now. I'm going to answer that, but I want to do a really good job of that, so I want a few more days to think about that so I can make sure I say the right thing in the right way."

How much different is this hiring process compared to your last head coaching hire in 2005?

"Yeah, look, there's a lot of things relative to that question. The first is that you go back 16 years, we were dealing with Katrina, an evacuation with a city that was devastated, and a lot of questions about long-term viability. There were so many other unique things 16 years ago that made that (head coach) opening at that time so unique and such a challenge. Obviously, it's different now. We're not coming off of anything like that. We're coming off a long run of success with a different process, even that exists within the league rules. It's just a completely different process, really, other than the fact that we're looking for a head coach."

Who will be involved in the head coaching search process?

"I'm going to have a number of guys involved. Mrs. Benson will be and sit in (on those meetings). Dennis Lauscha will be at times, and a number of our football personnel guys as well."

Do you think this current roster in place is good enough to win a lot of games next season?

"Look, I would say that we've got some good things on our roster, but we've got some questions too. We are going through that process of evaluation and we are going to have a list of things we need to accomplish this offseason in order to get us in position to be successful. There are a lot of things that we like, obviously. We had some good things happen this year. We had a lot of injuries and difficult circumstances that our coaches and players did an amazing job of overcoming. But the answer to your question really remains to be seen. We have an entire offseason to deal with first."

Do you have a timeframe on when you want a head coach to be in place?

"Well, no, I wouldn't say that I have some drop-dead date. Obviously, you want to move this process around as quickly as possible, but it's more important to get it right than it is to be quick. You know, we're going to be diligent about that."

Get a look at the unique bond between New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and legendary quarterback Drew Brees throughout their years in New Orleans.

How important is it for whoever the next coach is to understand what pillars the organization already has in place?

"Yeah, I think that would be correct to assume. We don't see it as a wholesale culture change, roster change, anything like that. Look, we have a lot of really good things here. That doesn't mean that it can't be improved and built upon, but you know, as Sean (Payton) said in his press conference, he's leaving this franchise in a much better place than when he got here."

Can you just explain the general approach for the coaching hire, I know you have qualified candidates in-house, but would also want to look outside as well?

"Well you just gave the answer, we do have great candidates from within the building and yet we also recognize that there are great candidates outside the building and we want to go through the full process. That's the fair thing to do, it's the right thing to do for the New Orleans Saints."

Does the approach to the Senior Bowl next week change without having a head coach in place and will the current staff be there?

"Yes, we do have a staff in place. We don't have a head coach in place, but we do have a staff and they're going to continue to do the things that we would ordinary do, until we do get a head coach in place and then we'll see if they'll be changes or not after that."

Are you going to try to do all the interviews in person or will some be virtual?

"Look, my preference is we do those in person. I just think there's so many things that you can miss if they're not (in person). I also recognize that sometimes that's not possible, so we're not married to one specific way to do it and yet I know what my preference is."

How do you look at the candidate pool and know when you have the right amount of interviews lined up?

"Yeah, I don't like to think of it that way. I think we're just going to through the process. We have got a lot of names and it kind of depends on how you define candidates because everyone out there, I should not say everyone, there are a lot of candidates. Now who we ultimately interview, that number gets paired down to the guys that we think will fit, A, what we're looking for and B, the circumstances that we have. I don't have a set number, it might be a lower number, it might be a higher number. We have not settled on that yet and some of that gets dictated by where guys are in the process with other teams."

How does the timing of the playoffs affect how you want to approach this if there's another candidate who's still working in game preparation?

"It does impact it because it impacts whether or not we can speak with them and interview them. It definitely impacts it. I don't want to get specific into any particular situation, but yes, it does impact it."

How do you balance that, whether it is that or it's guys who you're particularly interested in who are interviewing elsewhere? How do you find a balance?

"I don't know that balance is the right word. We're going to interview people and if we find someone that we're in love with then we're going to pull the trigger. Until we do that we'll keep exploring our options."


I know Dennis Allen is scheduled to interview, why are you all interested in talking to DA?

"Well, look, he's qualified, he has experience, he understands our culture here. We just know a lot about him. He's an excellent candidate and there are some others as well."

You alluded to how much of a better the place the organization is compared to where it was 16 years ago. Have you seen that in the outreach? Are you seeing more candidates or agents contacting you? What's that been like the last few days when the job became open?

"Well, that's definitely the case. There was not anybody ringing my phone 16 years ago. I was having to ring theirs and it wasn't always positive when I did get a hold of someone 16 years ago. We've had a lot of outreach, a lot of people interested in coming to New Orleans and, yeah, it's completely different in terms of how we're perceived."

You just reference 16 years ago, obviously Mr. Benson was still alive and instrumental in the process. Can you talk about I guess the comparison to how Gayle will be involved this time? Obviously they're two vastly different people, but none the less, the owner of the team and their participation in this and how they handle it and the input you get from them regarding a candidate?

"Yeah, I don't have a lot of detail with that yet. We're still trying to sort out, but Mrs. B has opinions and she's going to give those to us and we'll see how that works out throughout the process, but I haven't got a definitive answer on that for you on that."

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