In one week, Saints coach Sean Payton will be banished from the team’s facility until the day after Super Bowl XLVII. At some point, the Saints will need to replace Payton for the 2012 season.
Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune explains that the Saints have three potential candidates: offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. (pictured), defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
Duncan identifies Kromer as the dark-horse candidate for the job, and for good reason. Elevating him would allow Carmichael to focus on the offense and Spagnuolo to focus on the defense.
Of course, that would require the Saints to hire a new offensive line coach. Currently, Frank Smith serves as assistant offensive line coach, so he possibly would be promoted.
Meanwhile, Brian Billick of NFL Network seems to agree with our recent assessment that a high degree of success from the interim head coach could prompt owner Tom Benson to make the interim head coach the permanent head coach. As of right now, it seems unthinkable. After a full season of football that would culminate in something like, say, a Super Bowl title, it possibly would seem unthinkable to remove the interim head coach from the job.