What's up Who Dats! Welcome to another edition of Tee's Corner! Today we'll spend some time discussing the New Orleans Saints coaching staff and the changes that have taken place during this off-season. After a tumultuous 2014 season, which revealed problems on the roster, in the locker, and on the staff, change was a foregone conclusion. Head Coach Sean Payton made it very clear that the Saints football team we'd watched through much of the season was due for a full overhaul. After the win at Tampa Bay, many took Payton's words as 'coach speak' and focused their attention on the playoffs that our favorite team would be watching from home. Another hum-drum off-season, blizzy-blah-blah...a couple questionable releases...blah...a major free agent signing...blah...But then...
Some members of the coaching staff were not retained or just let go. Then Dennis Allen was brought in with a suspicious (in my opinion) job title of Senior Defensive Assistant, with a description that screamed 'don't screw up Rob, I have a guy to replace you'. Individually, some of the moves don't stand out, but together, a trend became very evident.
Though she is not a member of the coaching staff, Rita Benson-LeBlanc was the first to catch the axe and was removed from her post of Vice Chairman. This set the tone for a wild off-season because if family ain't safe, anybody can get the boot. Actual coaching staff members who were 'set free' to pursue other endeavors or shifted to new duties include:
- Running Backs – Dan Roushar
- Wide Receivers – Henry Ellard
- Assistant Wide Receivers – Carter Sheridan
- Tight Ends – Terry Malone
- Assistant Offensive Line – Frank Smith
- Assistant Secondary – Andre Curtis
- Assistant Linebackers – Brian Young
Sometimes coaches are let go and the position is not filled, but in general, when there is a vacancy, teams go out and get a new guy pretty quick. This is especially true when the head coach stays in place. Payton and Co. acquired new coaches, in addition to creating several positions for additional coaching staff members. Here are the replacements:
- Running Backs – Joel Thomas
- Wide Receivers – John Morton
- Assistant Wide Receivers – Greg Lewis
- Tight Ends – Dan Roushar
- Assistant Offensive Line – Kyle DeVan
- Offensive Assistant – Brendan Nugent
- Senior Defensive Assistant – Dennis Allen
- Assistant Linebackers – James Willis
- Outside Linebackers – Brian Young
The Saints removed 7 coaches from their 2014 duties while retaining two (Vitt not included) of them with different roles. Dan Roushar was shifted from running backs to tight ends and Brian Young is now responsible for the outside linebackers only. These moves look to be an attempt to place a different face with these position groups to mix things up a bit. Also, splitting the linebackers up into two separate groups should help the development of the outside linebackers in run defense and edge rushing and also help the inside linebackers gain more skill in coverage. The addition of Allen is expected to have a positive impact on defensive back play also. Changes were promised shortly after the final whistle and the team delivered. Over all, the focus seemed to be mainly on the defensive side, an area that appeared to need the most work in 2014. With all of this change, it is reasonable to expect an uptick in performance or at the least, a change in attitude from the coaches down to the players. The Saints have a plan and even without full knowledge of it, I can see indicators of positive changes throughout the organization.
Tell us what you think. Will the changes have a positive or negative impact on the team?
Thanks for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!