Loveland Reporter-Herald

Payton interviews Curry for OC

OLB coach Watts not returning to Broncos’ staff

- By Parker Gabriel

Broncos head coach Sean Payton has his first known offensive coordinato­r interview request in, and it’s a person he’s familiar with.

Denver put in a request to interview New Orleans quarterbac­ks coach Ronald Curry for its offensive coordinato­r position, a source confirmed to The Post on Tuesday. first reported the request.

Curry has spent the past two seasons coaching quarterbac­ks, including 2021 when Payton was in his final year as the Saints’ head coach. Before that, he spent 2016-17 as an offensive assistant and 2018-20 as New Orleans’ wide receivers coach.

Curry started his coaching career with two seasons in San Francisco after a lengthy playing career in the NFL. He caught 193 passes over 76 games for the Oakland Raiders between 200208 and finished with 2,347 yards receiving and 13 career touchdowns. Curry is considered an up-and-coming offensive coach. He interviewe­d for Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinato­r post last week.

“I feel like I’m more than capable to go out here and call plays on Sunday,” Curry told reporters at the Senior Bowl, where he served as the National Team’s offensive coordinato­r, last week. “I’ve been in the game for 11 years, I played for eight years. I’ve been around some great coaches, some different systems, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot along the way.”

In Denver, of course, Payton is expected to call plays, but Curry would still be in line for a promotion to coordinato­r.

Payton is expected to hire New Orleans assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief as his offensive line coach in Denver, a source confirmed to The Post, while CBS

Sports reported Payton is also interested in Saints staffer Declan Doyle as a potential tight ends coach.

DC candidate Desai interviews. Payton is interviewi­ng Seattle associate head coach and defensive assistant Sean Desai via Zoom for the team’s defensive coordinato­r role Tuesday.

Desai is the only known interview on the books after Brian Flores accepted the Vikings’ defensive coordinato­r job Monday night. Payton will have to interview at least one more candidate,

as the expanded Rooney Rule requires coordinato­r openings to include interviews with at least two external minority or female candidates.

Desai has worked for several highly regarded coaches throughout his career, perhaps most notably Vic Fangio in Chicago. He also spent time with Al Golden at the college level and Chuck Pagano after Fangio left the Bears to become Denver’s head coach.

When Chicago’s staff was fired in 2021, he quickly landed in Seattle working for head coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinato­r Clint Hurtt.

“(Hiring Desai) was priority No. 1 to me, and

Pete and (Seattle GM John Schneider) knew how important that was,” Hurtt told Seattle’s team website last year. “You don’t want to hire buddies, so it wasn’t about the fact that it was me hiring a friend — I know the guy is a heck of a person and a (heckuva) of a football coach, and he’s somebody I trust. So he checks all the boxes.”

Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols, now with Las Vegas, played for Desai in Chicago and told the Chicago Tribune, “I call him ‘The Mastermind.’ Because he’s always coming up with crazy schemes and ideas.”

OLB coach Watts not returning. Denver outside linebacker­s coach Bert

Watts is not returning to the staff in 2023, a source told The Post on Tuesday. Watts coached the Broncos outside linebacker­s for one season after several years at the college level. He spent 2021 at Auburn, 2022 at Memphis and three years at Fresno State before that.

Watts started the year with a disruptive group but saw it whittled by injury and trade over the course of the season.

Watts has been close with former Denver defensive coordinato­r Ejiro Evero and head coach Nathaniel Hackett since his brother played with the pair at Uc-davis while he played for Cal.

 ?? AARON ONTIVEROZ — THE DENVER POST ?? Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton hugs former Broncos lineman Mark Schlereth during an introducto­ry press conference at team headquarte­rs in Englewood on Monday.
AARON ONTIVEROZ — THE DENVER POST Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton hugs former Broncos lineman Mark Schlereth during an introducto­ry press conference at team headquarte­rs in Englewood on Monday.

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