Nearly three weeks ago, Saints coach Sean Payton suffered a broken leg and torn MCL when tight end Jimmy Graham collided with his head coach along the sidelines. Payton has since been pulling a Paterno, monitoring the game from the coaching booth, high above the field. After last week’s debacle in the Edward Jones Dome, the absence of his influence during the games and at halftime became obvious. With the team facing adversity early, Payton wasn’t there to push buttons and/or kick butts.
Despite the fact that doctors said after his surgery that he could put partial weight on the leg in eight weeks, we’re told that he’s on track to return to the sidelines six weeks after the procedure. That would put him at field level for the Monday night game against the Giants.
Payton hinted at this possibility on Wednesday. “After today’s visit, I think a couple more weeks,’’ Payton said, via Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “We’ve got two more games and then a bye. I think for the last six weeks of the season I’ll have a chance to get down.’’
That means Payton will remain in the booth for a pair of key division games against the Bucs on Sunday and at Atlanta on November 13. The Saints lead the division at 5-3, and Tampa and the Falcons are each 4-3.