- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our final installment of the All-NFC South team covers the coaches and general managers.
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, Saints. Can there really be any other choice? Forget the last three games of the season, for now anyway. Payton realized in the offseason his team had to get better on defense and at running the ball. He made that happen and that’s called growing as a coach.
Defensive coordinator of the Year: Gregg Williams, Saints. Yes, things got kind of dicey late in the season and the Saints head into the playoffs with some serious questions on defense. But, early in the year before all the injuries set in, Williams had this unit playing very aggressively. There’s no way the Saints win 13 games if Williams wasn’t around. We'll throw out an honorable mention to Carolina's Ron Meeks, whose defense came on strong in the second half of the season.
Offensive coordinator: Pete Carmichael/Payton, Saints. Carmichael officially has the title, but Payton is heavily involved in the offense on every level and he calls the plays. I’m trying to be overly fair and not give every award to the Saints. But, looking around the rest of the NFC South, I can’t even come close to saying any other offensive coordinator had a good season.
Special teams coach of the Year: Richard Bisaccia, Buccaneers. Here, we finally got to an award that doesn’t involve the Saints. Bisaccia, who may be leaving the Buccaneers for the college ranks, had a tremendous season. The Bucs had huge problems everywhere, except on special teams, where they were very good. This roster wasn’t loaded with talent and there were issues with the kickers and the punters. But Bisaccia got the most out of what he had to work with.
General Manager of the Year: Mickey Loomis, Saints. Just like with Payton, there really can’t be any other choice because the results on the field speak for themselves. Loomis deserves tons of credit for the gutsy move to trade up and draft punter Thomas Morstead. It didn’t go over well with fans at the time, but it worked out brilliantly. Loomis also signed free agents like Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper and had the foresight not to get desperate and sign Edgerrin James or give up too much to draft Beanie Wells.