Roger Goodell suspended Payton for the entire 2012 season, as a result of the firestorm that resulted from the Saint's bounty scandal.
This means that New Orleans will be without its most successful coach in franchise history and the mastermind on the best offensive in football.
However, Payton is just one coach.
No matter how good he is running schemes and systems, he doesn't make any plays on the field.
That task still remains with the players, and since almost every key offensive piece is back on the field for the Saints this season, they'll be just fine.
New Orleans had far-and-away the most productive offensive in the NFL last year. They finished first in points scored a game, yards gained and total points.
That kind of explosiveness just doesn't just go away, even if the genius behind the system is gone.
After all, the Saints still have arguably the best QB in football, Drew Brees.
He commands the field better than almost any quarterback in history. Plus, Brees always makes the right read and is perfectly capable of calling his own plays on the fly.
Not only that, but he’s got the confidence from coming off arguably the best season by a signal-caller ever after he broke Dan Marino's single-season yardage record.
The Saints aren’t without skill around Brees either.
Marques Colston will still be lined up on the outside, Darren Sproles remains a spark in the backfield and Jimmy Graham persists as one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
With that kind of talent on the offensive side of the ball the Saints will still be potent, even without Payton.
They will start to show that on Sunday in the Hall of Fame game.
The contest kicks off the NFL season, and the eyes of the football world will be watching, including Goodell.
Expect the Saints to come out and make a statement.
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