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Saturday, December 19, 2009
Payton's growth has boosted Saints

By Pat Yasinskas

NEW ORLEANS -- Mike Triplett has a very good story about how Sean Payton has matured as a coach and I’d like to elaborate on this a bit because this is one topic that hasn’t been talked about enough in this magical season for the Saints.
Payton
Payton

If you followed the Saints closely last year and have done the same this year, you’ve seen very visible growth by Payton. He certainly wasn’t a bad coach before, but the maturity we’ve seen from Payton this year has helped him emerge as a top-notch coach.

The thing that’s impressed me most about Payton this year has been his willingness to adapt -- that’s been a fatal flaw for a lot of other coaches. Payton had to make some very tough decisions after last year’s disappointing 8-8 season.

He knew he had to do something about a defense that was bad last year. He fired coordinator Gary Gibbs and brought in Gregg Williams. The results there speak for themselves.

Payton didn’t stop there. He didn’t let pride or ego get in the way as he realized there had to be adjustments to an offense that had only a passing game last year. Payton added a new emphasis on the running game and the Saints no longer are a one-dimensional offense.

On top of that, I think Payton has a better sense and feel of his team than he did last year. He kept training camp at home this year and made the schedule a bit lighter. That helped cut down on injuries and it also might be a reason why the Saints still look fresh late in the season.

Again, I thought Payton was a good coach already. But, this season, he’s become a better one.