Joe Vitt, Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach:
Joe Vitt has spoken up more times since Sean Payton has left than in perhaps his entire Saints career. Vitt has left his comfort zone in Sean Payton’s shadow and has had to face all the adversity Sean left behind. The media has not been kind to him, the pressure has been great, and Sean Payton left behind an enormous pair of shoes for Joe to fill, yet fill them he has. Joe has managed to gain the trust of the Saints players and fans, but now he has to turn the reins over to Coach Kromer. I feel comfortable with Joe Vitt as head coach when he returns after his suspension.
Aaron Kromer, new Interim Head Coach, Offensive Line Coach/Running Game:
Coach Kromer has always stayed in the background like Joe Vitt and Pete Carmichael, but vacations over and he has to take over Joe Vitt’s job until he returns. I’m going with blind faith in Tom Benson’s and Mickey Loomis’s judgment on this one, and the knowledge that the best offense in NFL football has been in Kromer’s care already. I’m good with it.
Pete Carmichael, Offensive Coordinator:
There’s not a lot I can say about Coach Carmichael, except to say I trust his judgment. Pete hasn’t just been in Sean Payton’s shadow throughout his career, he’s been in a solar eclipse. Coach Carmichael has much the same relationship with Sean Payton as Texans Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison has with Head Coach Gary Kubiak; they’re both extensions of their head coach. When Sean got hurt last season Coach Carmichael stepped into the light for the first time and did a fine job. Tom, Mickey and Sean have faith in him; I do too. Reservation: Will Kromer stand back as head coach and give him a free hand with the offense?
Steve Spagnuolo, Defensive Coordinator:
The newest member of the Saints coaching staff will have an opportunity to make the difference between the Saints missing the playoffs and going perhaps past them. The Texans staff has no idea yet what Spags has accomplished with the Saints defense, but then again neither do I. We’ll both find out soon enough what this wild card brings to the game. Steve Spagnuolo has already earned the trust of the fans and myself, but will be hard pressed to live up to expectations. The window of opportunity is closing fast; this is the only chance Drew Brees will have to lead the team into a Super Bowl with home field advantage. Spags in an uncertainty I feel comfortable with.
My final conclusion after watching Kromer get his “feet wet” as the head coach in the Texans and Titans game? I feel good about the direction the Saints are heading this season, even with the leadership upheaval Roger Goodell has thrust upon us.