Saints getting back to stability

NEW ORLEANS -- After a bizarre 2012, the New Orleans Saints are getting back to being the picture of stability they were before the bounty scandal broke last March.

The latest example came Monday when it was revealed that general manager Mickey Loomis had signed a contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2017. Loomis signed the deal in August, but the team didn’t make any formal announcement before or during a disappointing 7-9 season.

Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the season and coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season. Payton was reinstated last week and recently signed a contract extension of his own.

Prior to the bounty scandal, the Saints had enjoyed a period of unprecedented success under Payton and Loomis. They built a regular playoff contender and won a Super Bowl by using their strong working relationship and an aggressive style.

Now that things are getting back to normal for the Saints, there are a lot of reasons to think Payton and Loomis can get things back to the way they were. It won’t be easy because the Saints have salary-cap issues and a defense that, statistically, was one of the worst in NFL history.

But Payton and Loomis built this franchise into a power once and they can do it again.