The New Orleans Saints have named assistant/linebackers coach Joe Vitt interim head coach going into the regular season. This comes after speculation that the Saints might try and lure Bill Parcells out of retirement. It’s a little bit of a surprise because Joe Vitt must serve a six game suspension to begin the season. The Saints say that they will choose a coach to serve in his place during his suspension, the decision is expected to come during training camp. Potential candidates include offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
The move caught some flack because Vitt is not a well known name across the league, he’s not necessarily a high up position like Carmichael or Spags(Spagnuolo). I was watching ESPN First Take and Skip Bayless was talking about how the Saints chose Vitt to appease Goodell. He didnt have a high opinion of Vitt and he didn’t think Goodell would either, as opposed to getting a big figure like Parcells. He suggested that it would all be on Drew Brees this year because the Saints would be without the same degree of coaching benefit.
While I kind of agree that there won’t be the same kind of coaching presence this year for the Saints, I don’t think he understands what the Saints will be getting from Joe Vitt. Joe Vitt may not be one of the biggest name positions and the linebackers may have been spotty these past couple of years, but Vitt is a well respected figure in the clubhouse. Sean Payton had Joe Vitt named his assistant head coach when he came to New Orleans, even though Vitt had been in talks with the Jets about the head coaching job. Vitt service included many years as a defensive assistant, and an interim gig as head coach for the 2005 Rams. Head coach Mike Martz was unavailable due to illness, and Vitt stepped in during week 5 and coached the remainder of the season.
This is pretty good experience for the job he’s got this year. The guy has interim head coach experience. He is a no-nonsense type of guy with a motto of “no excuses, play like a champion”. He knows how Payton’s system works and it’ll be his job to make sure that system of winning is working properly. I think that with the team and staff we’ve got, he’ll be well equipped to successfully complete his task.