Saints need Payton back on the sidelines

Getty Images

Some of you have wondered why we care about an injury situation that has no direct bearing on the action on the field.  After all, Saints coach Sean Payton isn’t a player, so the broken leg that relegates him to the coaching booth shouldn’t be a factor when the Saints play, right?

It’s far more complicated than that, as ESPN’s Ed Werder explained it earlier in the hour on Sunday NFL Countdown.  Quarterback Drew Brees spent roughly 20 minutes off camera explaining to Werder the “unique, symbiotic” relationship between Brees and Payton, and the manner in which the relationship has been disrupted by Payton’s absence from the sidelines.

When patrolling the sidelines, Payton assesses the feel and flow of the game.  As Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune recently told PFT Live, Payton’s presence has an impact on the players.

And even though Brees and Payton can talk by phone between drives, Brees isn’t hearing Payton in his head between plays.

“There’s a reason Sean Payton is Sean Payton,” Brees said.

Payton didn’t need to be Payton when the Saints steamrolled the Colts two weeks ago, because the Saints encountered no adversity.  But as the game against the Rams last weekend was slowly-but-surely falling apart, the Saints didn’t have Payton to scream out “what the hell’s going on out here,” or words to that effect.

That’s why one of the guys under the most pressure in the NFL this weekend is Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who’ll need to play the role of Payton as the Saints try to avoid being swept by the Buccaneers.  With Payton expected to return to the sidelines after the bye, Vitt will need to step up next weekend, too, when the Saints go to Atlanta.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

7 responses to “Saints need Payton back on the sidelines

  1. I’m happy to read that Brees is giving a shoutout to his HC & playcaller as a major reason for their success. Too many people love to say such and such coach would be NOTHING without their star QB and fail to realize that it’s always a mutually beneficial relationship.

  2. Sideline or in the booth, we need more emphasis on the run game. It keeps your defense off the field, controls the clock an keeps those untimely and frequent Drew Brees INT’s down. And I think Pierre is the best all around running back on the team. Give him more consistent touches.

  3. There’s a reason why coaches don’t stay up in the box during gamedays. It’s definitely less effective. Moreso for this team because Sean Payton is not just a HC but also the playcaller/offensive coordinator. It’ll be interesting to see where the Saints go on from here.

  4. schmitty2 says:
    Nov 6, 2011 12:43 PM
    A good team wins whether the head coach is on the sidelines or in the box. Just saying

    Dumbest post of the day so far. How many NFL teams have their head coaches in the booth every Sunday?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!