The Saints officially announced Wednesday that offensive line coach and running game coordinator Aaron Kromer will serve as acting head coach while Joe Vitt serves his six game suspension.
“This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role,” said Loomis. “Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of change with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years.”
It as been long speculated that Kromer would be the man for the job not only because of his experience but also because it allows the Saints main coordinators to focus on their sides of the ball. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael can concentrate on keeping the high powered offense going with Drew Brees. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is installing a new defense and while Spags has head coaching experience it is safe to say focusing on improving the defense should be the priority.
“I appreciate the confidence that Mr. Benson and Mickey have in me to handle this duty while Coach Vitt and Coach Payton are not with us,” said Kromer. “Coach Payton has laid a successful foundation here and our jobs are to make sure we keep moving in that direction.”
The team's press release listed a few of Kromer's accomplishments while on the staff. "After initially coaching the Saints running backs in 2008, Kromer has overseen the Saints offensive line the past three seasons. The former college offensive lineman has developed the skills of seven Pro Bowl blockers during his time in the NFL, including three in 2011. Known for his teaching skills and attention to detail, five Saints blockers have been selected to the Pro Bowl under Kromer’s direction. The line has allowed the third-lowest sack total in the past three seasons in the NFL. In both 2009 and 2011, the New Orleans offensive line has been honored with the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, awarded annually to the best offensive line in the NFL."
“The job our staff has done during Sean’s absence has been remarkable,” said Vitt. “We have great talent and depth on our coaching staff, but most importantly we have guys on this coaching staff that clearly understand the foundation of success that Sean has built and I feel great that Aaron and the rest of the staff will continue to build on that foundation.”
“Aaron knows Sean’s system very well and how he would be expected to operate this team,” said Saints QB Drew Brees. “We have a very strong coaching staff and Aaron is a coach that is very well respected in our locker room.”
SAINTS LOSE ANOTHER LINEBACKER
Do you laugh or just cry.
Saints fans have heard of bad luck but this is ridiculous. Ramon Humber was the latest Saints player to go down with an injury joining fellow linebackers Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, and Chris Chamberlain on the team's injury list from that position group.
Humber hurt his hamstring and is expected to miss about 10 days. Following practice on Wednesday Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt did his best to put a sense of humor of the situation. “I think he had a good breakfast. He has been in a good mood. I don’t know what music he listened to today, but I think he is having a pretty spirited day," Vitt answered when asked if he had an update on Humber's condition.
Humber was to start Saturday against the Texans at middle linebacker due to Lofton's high ankle sprain. Lofton on Tuesday said that if it the regular season he would be a go and assured fans that he will be ready to open the season on September 9.
The Saints traded for linebacker Barrett Ruud earlier this week to add depth to the position group but due to the fact that he had his first practice on Wednesday the chances aren't good he'll see action on Saturday. "We don't think so. We will see where he his tomorrow," Vitt said on the possibility of Ruud seeing action against the Texans. "We don't think so."
So who will see the most snaps come Saturday at middle linebacker? "Do you have a ticket? You will see," quipped Vitt when asked. It'll likely be Lawrence Wilson who made a game-saving interception in the end zone with under two minutes to play back in the Hall of Fame game against the Cardinals.
Look on the bright side. Curtis Lofton has said he'll be ready on September 9 so at the very least the Saints will have their starting middle linebacker in action. David Hawthorne's meniscus surgery could have him back around week two of the regular season. The team has not given a time table on him, but he was seen on crutches this week and typically a meniscus surgery is a three to five week recovery period. Jonathan Casillas who will likely start the season in Hawthorne's place started last season and has had a good preseason with 11 tackles good for second most on the team.
Ruud by the opener will have been in the building two and a half weeks and should know enough of the defense to provide some backup play. He will have to be a quick study though as Wilson must serve a single game suspension himself to start the season.
So, yes, the rash of injuries is a bit ridiculous but the key point to remember is that it's still preseason. The season opener isn't until 18 days from now. Hopefully that'll be plenty of time for the injury bug to get indigestion and move on.
Humber was the only new addition to the injury list.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle), linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), wide receiver Andy Tanner (ankle), wide receiver Adrian Arrington (knee), wide receiver Nick Toon (foot), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (ankle), cornerback Kamaal McIlwain (groin), cornerback Jabari Greer (groin) and cornerback Marquis Johnson (knee).