Saints' play-calling duties could switch

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has been mulling the idea of handing the play-calling duties back over to longtime offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.

Carmichael has handled the play calls so far during the preseason. It was a role Carmichael handled for most of the 2011 season and all of the 2012 season. Payton resumed his play-calling duties last year when he returned from his season-long bounty suspension.

Either way, Payton said they will continue to collaborate as they always have.

"Look, Pete's got experience. We go back to 2011, where he had most of the season in a year when we were outstanding on offense. He's definitely someone that can handle that," Payton said. "And how we handle the season, we'll go back and forth, we'll give some thought to it.

"Generally, there'll be some input either from myself if he's calling them or maybe (offensive line coach Bret Ingalls) in the run game. We'll see how that goes. But he's someone that in his ninth year is very good at it."

Carmichael has been with Payton since he put his original staff together in New Orleans in 2006. He began as a quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2009.

The Saints' offense set the NFL record with 7,474 yards gained in 2011 en route to a 13-3 record, with Carmichael taking over play-calling duties after Payton suffered a sideline leg injury in Week 6. Then the entire team struggled during Payton's suspension in 2012, finishing 7-9. The offense still put up a ton of yards that year (ranking second in the league with 6,574), but it wasn't nearly as consistent as usual.