Many believe the burden created by an offseason of complete turmoil will eventually be the undoing of the New Orleans Saints in the regular season.
The upheaval created by the bounty scandal and the punishments that were laid down following the NFL’s investigation rocked the organization. General manager Mickey Loomis is serving an eight-game suspension right now. Head coach Sean Payton is in exile for the entire season and right now interim coach Joe Vitt has been replaced by the interim to the interim coach Aaron Kromer. Vitt is serving his own six-game suspension.
But the Saints head into Sunday’s season opener against the Washington Redskins with the belief that the arrival of the regular season will help them put distractions behind them.
“We have a good plan here,” Kromer said, according to Glenn Guilbeau of the Sherevport Times. “I’m following the plan, and the team is with us. I don’t know that there is a lot of adjustment. We all have to work together in this situation. We can’t have factions, and we never do in our building. Luckily, this is after Sean’s sixth year as opposed to the second year. That would be a lot different. We are going to work this as a group, and I just happen to be sitting in this chair. For me, it’s an opportunity, but it is also a collaborative situation.”
Kromer said that despite the absence of Payton, nothing has changed.
“What other program or business do you know or have seen, where they took away the CEO away and said, ‘You can’t come to work,’” Kromer said. “They took your boss away, and he can’t come to work. I bet you would see a difference. I’ll tell you today that you don’t see a difference in the New Orleans Saints. You don’t. It is the same as it has been. I have seen how this thing works, and I think that it should be flawless.”
Everyone will be watching closely to see how this season unfolds for the Saints. Maybe a return to actual football is just what they need.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune