"We're going to bring in two to three candidates," Payton said. "I think we'll know in a week. Much was reported about Rob Ryan, and he's going to come in and interview here at the end of this week. We'll have, I'd say, at least between two and four candidates."
The number of candidates for the job hinges upon the Saints being granted permission to speak with a handful of position coaches around the NFL.
This lines up with a Tuesday report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, who stated Ryan has become the favorite after former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel's candidacy never quite got going once Ryan, the Dallas Cowboys' former defensive coordinator, became available.
It's clear the Saints are seeking a return to the 3-4 defense after operating out of a 4-3 scheme in 2012 that bled points (28.4 per game) and allowed the most yardage (7,042) in NFL history. Ryan hasn't exactly earned the reputation of a miracle worker on defense, but he's a creative coach in terms of rushing the passer and disguising fronts. That's something we didn't see enough of last season in New Orleans.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.