It sounds as if players won’t be the only ones competing for positions in the New Orleans Saints' training camp.
Coaches also will be on the spot. The Saints have a unique situation with coach Sean Payton suspended for the season. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt is currently running the team, but he will have to step away at the start of the season and serve a six-game suspension. Although there have been wide-spread reports that offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will step into the role of head coach for the first six games, Vitt said Tuesday that nothing has been decided and that general manager Mickey Loomis and owner Tom Benson still are discussing options.
“[The talks] are in the infantile stages right now,’’ Vitt said. “Mickey has a couple of coaches that he will talk to. He has a couple people in mind. But again, I think this is critical. We are going to see the personality of this team and what it takes on. Every year is different and the coach that can best serve the needs of this team is the guy that Mickey and Mr. Benson will pick. This is not something that is going to be made in the next week or two. We are going to see who can best serve the needs of our team. We’ve got great coaches here now. We’ve got coaches that have been here since 2006 and know our team and roster. We are blessed to have them.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael would seem to be likely possibilities. Spagnuolo is new to the Saints, but he has experience as a head coach with the St. Louis Rams. Carmichael hasn’t been a head coach, but he’s been with the Saints since 2006 and he previously worked in San Diego, when quarterback Drew Brees played for the Chargers.
Maybe the Saints turn things over to Spagnuolo or Carmichael. Or maybe they let them focus on defense and offense and let Kromer fill the shoes of Payton or Vitt. I don’t think any of those three are bad options for the Saints. They have a veteran staff and a veteran team that largely will be following Payton’s system, no matter who is running the team.
“There are a lot of things that are going to be staying in place,’’ Vitt said. “We are going to do the best job that we can at getting this thing scripted and prepared for the guy that comes in. We’ll do a good job.”