ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported this morning that “it is a virtual certainty” that Bill Parcells will not be the interim coach for New Orleans this season while Sean Payton is suspended. According to one source, Parcells indicated to Sean Payton that he preferred to remain retired.
Of course, the Saints had never actually offered any position to Bill Parcells, and all of this talk began when word leaked that Sean Payton had approached Parcells to replace him for a year. Smart by Bill Parcells. I’m not sure he would have been offered the position by Tom Benson or Mickey Loomis anyway. However, now Bill Parcells can ride off, tell Hall of Fame voters, “see, I’m really retired” and they will sweep him to election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in early February.
Meanwhile, the Saints have the interim position to fill. Assistant coach Joe Vitt would be the likely preferred candidate, but he has the little problem of also being suspended for the first six games of the year. He is not suspended in the offseason, but if Vitt is the choice, someone else would be making the calls in the first six weeks after he handles the preseason.
The other choices currently on the staff are offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, along with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. There really is no good solution, and any move would create the potential for internal chemistry issues. Carmichael would be a good candidate, but do you want him calling plays in place of Payton AND then making decisions about the entire team at the same time. Spagnuolo has recent coaching experience but is the new man on the block; elevating him over other internal candidates who have been in the program may create problems. Aaron Kromer was mentioned in the ESPN piece. Yes, he would be able to make the calls, but how would everyone view him being elevated above the coordinators?
Even though the Parcells thing was likely not to happen, I don’t think the idea of having an outside person come in and act as the game strategy guy was a bad concept. Let the coordinators coach their sides of the ball and basically be the head coaches for each unit with autonomy to provide input on personnel and packages. Have Vitt handle practice schedules and administrative stuff. Then have someone else make the time management, challenges, and game calls. Of course, the list of guys–from Dungy to Cowher to Gruden–likely to take it is small since they have television gigs they are not giving up for one year.
Personally, I’d like to see Marty Schottenheimer, who coached Drew Brees back in 2004 and 2005 in San Diego when he emerged as a star, get a chance to be the overseer. Then, again, I have a soft spot in my heart for Marty.
[photo via US Presswire]