With the tea leaves continuing to point toward former Giants, Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys coach Bill Parcells coming out of retirement for a one-shot opportunity to win a walk-off Super Bowl and cement his Hall of Fame legacy, not much has been said about the in-house candidates for the interim head coaching job.
A league source tells PFT that the current Saints assistants who had been mentioned as potential replacements for coach Sean Payton (offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) aren’t happy with the possibility of an outsider like Parcells swooping in and taking the job. Carmichael, 40, joined the Saints with Payton in 2006, and Carmichael ran the offense while Payton was relegated to the booth as he recovered from a broken leg. Kromer, 44, arrived in 2008 and also is in charge of the running game. Spagnuolo, 52, has three years experience as a head coach, and his Rams delivered one of the three regular-season losses endured last year by the Saints.
As the source explained it, the thinking is that Parcells would simply run the press conferences and decide whether to go for it on fourth down, with Carmichael in charge of the offense and Spagnuolo in charge of the defense. If that’s all Parcells would be doing, why do the Saints need him?
The prevailing theory in league circles continues to be that Payton wants an outsider like Parcells because Parcells wouldn’t want to stay beyond 2012, and Payton already has publicly declared that he’ll be back in 2013. If an in-house interim head coach enjoys a high level of success in 2012, owner Tom Benson may decide to make a change. If the Saints win the Super Bowl at the Superdome, Benson may have no other choice but to promote the interim coach into Payton’s job.
The other side of this particular coin, however, is that an outsider may be necessary in order to prevent any friction between the assistant who gets bumped up and the other two who don’t. Indeed, a cynic may say that the three names were leaked in order to set the stage for an outsider like Parcells to be the only viable solution.
Regardless, the process by all appearances will be moving toward a conclusion soon. Unless the Saints plan to have no head coach when offseason workouts begin on April 16, Parcells or someone else will be getting the job within the next two weeks.