When an NFL team finds continued success with an elite quarterback, the question inevitably is: how much of this success was from the quarterback, and how much was from the head coach? Similarly, when a team plays well generally, the credit is hard to split between the head coach and the general manager.
For the first time since 2005, the New Orleans Saints will not have the duo of general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton leading the franchise. While Payton was undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the NFL, Mickey Loomis rarely received all of the credit he deserved. Now, outside of Sean Payton’s shadow (so to speak), Loomis can truly shine.
So when NBC recently ranked all 32 NFL general managers, it was pleasantly surprising to see Mickey Loomis make the Top 10:
7. Mickey Loomis, Saints
January 26 was the first day of the rest of Mickey Loomis’ executive life. It marked the first time since 2005 that he was operating without Sean Payton. Loomis predated Payton in New Orleans by four years, producing a trio of .500 seasons before one 3-13 bottom out. Payton and Drew Brees quickly picked up the pieces and turned them into an NFC Championship Game appearance. The turnaround might not be quite so rapid this time around, though neither is the hole that deep. Jameis Winston is back. So, too, is Michael Thomas. For what the Saints are losing on offense in Payton, they are keeping on defense in new head coach Dennis Allen. This remains a star-laden group in a soft division. How long that will remain the case as Brees and Payton recede farther into the distance is the question. We know where Payton ended. It is time to find out where Loomis begins.
Elsewhere in the NFC South, Jason Licht of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came one spot ahead of Loomis and the Saints at 6th overall. Former Saints assistant general manager Terry Fontenot, the current general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, found himself 24th overall in NBC’s rankings. Scott Fitterer of the Panthers came one spot after that, 25th overall.
Licht gets a ton of credit for helping facilitate Tom Brady joining the Buccaneers a couple of seasons ago, but it’s nice to finally see Loomis start to consistently get the credit he deserves for constructing a very talented Saints roster.