The Saints have announced that assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt is going to be the teams head coach while Sean Payton sits out a season for his one-year suspension for violating the league’s anti-bounty rule.
“It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season. Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed,” said Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. “But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach, and that is why I am announcing today that Joe Vitt will assume Sean’s duties.
“We considered a number of great options to handle Payton’s duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes. This is the same structure we used last season during Sean’s knee injury.”
Vitt, entering his seventh season with the Saints, served as acting head coach during Payton’s medical leave in 2011 due to a knee injury and subsequent surgery/rehabilitation.
Loomis added, “We will work through the offseason under this plan and when we get to training camp we will decide on a course of action for the first six weeks of the season, while Joe Vitt is unavailable. We are fortunate to have a great veteran coaching staff well equipped to handle this challenge. Joe and Sean have worked closely together to build our program, one of the most successful in the NFL in the past six years, and I have the fullest confidence that Joe will continue that success that Sean has brought us.”