Saints Announce Joe Vitt as Interim Head Coach

It's official: the Saints have announced that Joe Vitt will take over head coaching duties for Sean Payton during his year-long suspension.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis announced the move and explained the team's plans:


Related: Bill Parcells Won't Join Saints; Joe Vitt Reportedly Leading Internal Candidate

"It is important that we keep Sean Payton's philosophy front and center during this season. Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed," said Loomis. "But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach, and that is why I am announcing today that Joe Vitt will assume Sean's duties. We considered a number of great options to handle Payton's duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes. This is the same structure we used last season during Sean's knee injury."

"This is about our program, and the continued success of our program," said Saints Owner Tom Benson. "Joe has been part of building our success along with our Head Coach Sean Payton and our General Manager Mickey Loomis. We are looking forward to the start of the offseason program, the NFL Draft, our minicamps and training camp. We are looking forward to the start of our season, as I know that all of our fans are and we are looking forward to competing and winning a championship right here in our own city, in our own stadium this year."

"We will work through the offseason under this plan and when we get to training camp we will decide on a course of action for the first six weeks of the season, while Joe Vitt is unavailable. We are fortunate to have a great veteran coaching staff well equipped to handle this challenge. Joe and Sean have worked closely together to build our program, one of the most successful in the NFL in the past six years, and I have the fullest confidence that Joe will continue that success that Sean has brought us."

I certainly understand the reasoning behind the move. Vitt has always been Payton's right hand man, so no other coach is going to execute Payton's philosophy better or more accurately. But it still leaves the Saints without a head coach for the first six games of the 2012 season, which is where this plan stops making sense to me. It's a half solution really.

The good news is that we can finally put all those ridiculous Bill Parcells theories to bed, despite what Pat Kirwan might think.

Here is what Saints owner Tom Benson had to say of the move to make Joe Vitt interim head coach:

Joe has been part of building our success along with our Head Coach Sean Payton and our General Manager Mickey Loomis. We are looking forward to the start of the offseason program, the NFL Draft, our minicamps and training camp. We are looking forward to the start of our season, as I know that all of our fans are and we are looking forward to competing and winning a championship right here in our own city, in our own stadium this year.

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