Who will coach the Saints?

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
3:28
PM ET
The New Orleans Saints are 25 days away from their first regular-season game and we still don’t know who will be their head coach when they host the Washington Redskins in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

We know it won’t be head coach Sean Payton, who is serving a season-long suspension. We know it won’t be assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who has been running the team in Payton’s absence. Vitt has to step aside just before the start of the regular season and begin a six-game suspension of his own.

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Who should fill in as head coach of the Saints when Joe Vitt begins his six-game suspension at the start of the season?

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    28%
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    54%
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    18%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,222)

As Gerry V. points out, it’s totally out of character for the Saints not to have a plan. Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have thrived because they pay such close attention to every detail. Although Vitt has repeatedly said no decision on his replacement has been made, I have a hard time believing the Saints don’t already know who will be running the team. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Payton helped make that decision before starting his suspension.

There were some early reports that offensive line coach Aaron Kromer would be the temporary head coach. But the Saints haven’t confirmed that and a long time has passed since those reports.

Still, you have to believe that, as long as the Bill Parcells rumors don’t start floating again, that Kromer is one of three in-house possibilities.

Let’s take a look:

Kromer: He’s respected in the locker room and he’s respected enough around the league that his name was at least tied to some head-coaching jobs in the offseason. There also would be strong logic in going with Kromer because that would allow the coordinators to focus on their side of the ball.

Pete Carmichael: Don’t be fooled by the offensive coordinator’s shy public nature. He also has tremendous respect and he’s been on the staff since Payton took over in 2006. Plus, Carmichael has one other thing going for him. He’s got a strong bond with quarterback Drew Brees. The two worked together in San Diego, long before they ever arrived in New Orleans. And we all know Brees carries a little bit of clout.

Steve Spagnuolo: The new defensive coordinator has one thing going for him that Kromer and Carmichael don’t. He’s been a head coach in the NFL before. Spagnuolo was brought in to fix the defense after he was fired as the head coach in St. Louis. Yes, he’s busy installing a new defense, but he at least has experience as a head coach.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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