Aaron Kromer the Obvious Choice, but Was He Best Choice for Interim Head Coach?

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Aaron Kromer the Obvious Choice, but Was He Best Choice for Interim Head Coach?
Handout/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints made the obvious move we'd all been waiting for on Wednesday, with the Associated Press reporting they named offensive line coach/running game coordinator Aaron Kromer to be interim-interim head coach for the first six games of the 2012 NFL regular season (h/t ESPN).

In what has been a spectacularly crazy and challenging offseason for the New Orleans Saints, the move provides a modicum of stability. 

Kromer has been with the Saints since 2008 and also coached with Sean Payton when the two were at Miami (Ohio). As such he knows enough to simply try to mimic Payton, not put his own stamp on the team for six games. 

Kromer was quite humble in responding to his selection and made it clear that he is only going to try to maintain continuity as the Saints shuffle coaches over the next year. 

"We all have our own job to do as well. This is unprecedented. There is no right or wrong. But it's really a fill-in job to run the program the way Sean would run it...Everyone on the staff agrees that is the way it's going to happen." 

Though the national media wants the fans to think that this is an impossible and thankless spot to be in for Kromer and the rest of this Saints' franchise, it is not. 

Kromer has a wealth of coaching experience to call upon, and was interviewed in St. Louis this past offseason for their head coaching job. More importantly, Kromer knows his role. As he said, his job is just to fill in and do as Sean Payton would have done. 

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Not the picture posted in the Saints' practice facility, but this photo taken at the Hall of Fame in Canton was the last time the Saints saw Payton in person.

Of course, it helps that there is a massive photo facade of Payton's face inside the team's practice facility with the message, "Do your job" emblazoned on it. That will be a constant reminder to Kromer, Vitt, the rest of the coaching staff and the players to simply do their jobs. 

Those who know the Saints have wisely concluded the team is as prepared to take on a challenge of this magnitude as any team in the league. In large part, that is because Payton's best attribute was his ability to lay out a foundation of success that anyone could follow. 

It's the same reason any Patriots assistant could take over in New England—or any Steelers assistant in Pittsburgh—without missing a beat. 

It's called continuity. It's called conviction. Most of all, it's called winning. 

It's also called having a great quarterback. I would look good running the Saints with Drew Brees at quarterback. Heck, your grandma probably would, too. 

Was Aaron Kromer the right choice for interim-interim head coach of the Saints?

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So, yes, Kromer was the obvious choice. And he was the wise choice. His experience, his knowledge and his overall understanding of the situation all point to him as the best choice. 

As others have mentioned, Steve Spagnuolo and Pete Carmichael, Jr. could have been named interim-interim head coach, too. Both could have succeeded. 

But allowing them to focus on the defense and offense, respectively, best maintains that continuity and keeps things relatively static in a six-week period that promises to be hectic for even the most veteran-laden Saints team. 

The Saints will benefit in that sense from having Vitt around until after the final preseason game against Tennessee. He can help shape the final 53-man roster, working in collaboration with Kromer and the other assistants. 

But it really should be Vitt and Kromer who make the final decisions. They're the ones responsible for making something of this wacky season. The odds are good they will do just fine. 

After all, both know it is their job to "just do [their] job."

 

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