The NFL regular season opener is just two days away with the Giants hosting the Cowboys on Wednesday night. This weekend the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be rocking when as the New Orleans Saints kick off their 2012 regular season against the Washington Redskins.
You can expect a healthy amount of questions pertaining to how Kromer and the remaining Saints coaching staff will be able to handle another coaching loss. “I’m following the formula so anytime you have a plan; you have a good sense that things are going to go well. We have a good plan here. I’m following the plan and the team is with us,” Kromer said.
Vitt was not only the acting head coach on the team but also coached the linebackers. So who’s coaching them? ”They are working it out on defense,” said Kromer. “There are a couple of guys that have coached linebackers in the past. They have taken care of it.”
Coaching aside the team heads into the regular season with some unknowns. Truth is no one can tell how things will go until they take place. The Saints feel that when things go off script they have shown in the past that they can handle it. “The only thing you can guarantee is change. Things are going to change but we have been around long enough to adapt,” Kromer points out. “We have always said here that we adapt better than anyone in the NFL. We adjust better than anyone. Things don’t distract us. We don’t let little things bother us. We only worry about the big things. We keep the main thing as the main thing."
Sunday night the team enjoyed a team dinner where team captains were selected. A total of five players carry the title of captain this season. Quarterback Drew Brees and right tackle Zach Strief are offensive captains. Safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins are your defensive captains. Courtney Roby is captain of the special teams for a second straight season.
Brees and Roby are repeat captain while it’s the first time for Strief, Harper, and Jenkins.
“It’s an honor man. I’m still a young player on this team so to have other guys here that have been longer than me and vote me as a captain is definitely humbling for me,” Jenkins said of his new title. “I recognize the responsibility that we have as captains especially this year and I’m looking forward to it. I think we’ve the guys to deal with a lot of things, we’ve already dealt with a lot and we’re moving on and doing it well. Really excited about the journey this year and what it brings.”
“It’s a blessing man. Definitely grateful and humble you know it means a lot and it’s not something I take for granted,” Roby said of his selection as captain. “You know just looking forward to the upcoming season and I’m just humbled by it so thankful.”
GOODBYE FOR NOW
Monday was the first day that general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt began serving their suspensions. Loomis is suspended for eight games while Vitt is suspended for six games. Loomis and Vitt attended the captain’s dinner Sunday night, “it was emotional for them really and it was emotional for our guys. We are going to miss those guys,” said Kromer of the farewell. Joe Vitt is an emotional leader for this team and Mickey Loomis is always around and always supportive and the guys have a genuine like for him. It is going to be a difficult situation as we miss them but as Sean (Payton) said we do our job. Come back, do your job. Wake up in the morning, do your job.”
Kromer reiterated that message Monday morning to the team. “As a group, we will get this thing done. There are no setbacks. As you look at the practice we had today, we are just as today as we were when those guys were here and when Sean (Payton) was here.”
Wednesday is the first day required by the league that team’s make an injury report available. Following the Sean Payton approach Kromer expressed his wish on Monday to talk about the health of the team on Wednesday. He was asked about wide receiver Nick Toon however who was placed on injured reserve on Friday. Toon missed four preseason games due to a foot injury, but finally saw action last Thursday against Tennessee where he caught two passes for six yards.
“He’s hurt,” was how Kromer responded when asked if a reason he was placed the list was due to the amount of time already missed. Toon did not reinjure himself during the Titans game but the team felt that was not healthy enough to start the season. Plus when asked if Toon would require surgery the answer was , “He probably will.”
The final 53-man roster was announced back on Friday and Sunday afternoon the practice squad members were announced. Still roster moves were being announced on Monday. Safety Jonathon Amaya was waived and replaced with safety Rafeal Bush who was claimed by the Saints. Bush spent training camp with the Denver Broncos. Corner Elbert Mack had his contract terminated and the team claimed cornerback Jerome Murphy.
The team is off Tuesday and return to work on Wednesday to bring installing their game plan for the Redskins. The Saints open up the regular season against Washington Sunday at noon.