Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld put out his annual NFL Best Coaches rankings column for 2017 on Wednesday, which has New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton up one spot over last year. Payton climbed from 12th to 11th after tumbling out of the Top 10 from 2014 (5th). The ranking criteria for Daughtery’s list is fairly straightforward by asking the question of who he would want coaching his team right now.
Here’s what was said on Payton:
Sean Payton’s strength — scoring points — is one of the strongest individual-coaching attributes in the entire NFL. If only he weren’t continually undermined by his weaknesses: Inconsistent play away from home, and too many “defense optional” breakdowns. Payton’s recent failings have him in danger of becoming a bizarro Jeff Fisher. The Saints have gone 7-9 four of the past five years, winning 16 total road games in the process. More than one of those teams were historically bad on defense. Cameron Jordan and company allowed the second-most points in football last season (454), revealing an end of the tunnel that’s yet to be lit. Payton’s offense will always be ready to make a deep playoff run. If the defense doesn’t improve in 2017, however, the Saints might finally let a coach who always seems to be “monitoring” other jobs take his talents elsewhere.
You can read the full column with rankings here. Other NFC South coaches finished all over the board, with Ron Rivera (Panthers) being ranked at 9th, Dan Quinn (Falcons) at 13th, and Dirk Koetter (Buccaneers) coming in at 17th on the list.