The good news for the Saints is that coach Sean Payton has been reinstated. The bad news for the Saints is that the timing of the decision delayed by more than three weeks the decision to part ways with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and to hire a coordinator and a staff to run the 3-4.
The carousal spun for 22 days without Payton being able to hire available coordinators or assistant coaches. He could have, for example, hired Ray Horton, if Payton had been reinstated a week ago.
Given the rule that prevents position coaches to be promoted to coordinator positions elsewhere, Payton won’t be able to pluck a coordinator from another NFL staff. His ties to Bill Parcells could lead Payton toward the Belichick branch of the Tuna Tree, with Romeo Crennel or Eric Mangini possibly being considered for the job.
And what about Rob Ryan? His five minutes expired several weeks ago. Could Payton bring the brash fraternal twin of Rex Ryan to the big easy?
Regardless, it’s an important hire for Payton. Above all else, he needs to trust his defense to someone he can trust.
For Spagnuolo, he’ll instantly be linked to the Eagles, where he served as linebackers coach before becoming defensive coordinator of the Giants.
UPDATE 7:34 p.m. ET: Take Rob Ryan off the list.