The New Orleans Saints have undoubtedly experienced the worst offseason in recent memory of any team in the NFL.
Due to the scandal now widely known as Bountygate, the Saints have lost much of its coaching staff for the foreseeable future.
Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the duration of the season. Assistant coach Joe Vitt was also handed a six-game suspension by Roger Goodell for his involvement, which resulted in finding an interim coach to take over as the current interim coach serves his suspension.
The instability that comes with a head coaching carousel can take away the focus from on-field performance.
But despite missing head coach Sean Payton for the entire season, the Saints will continue to be favorites in the NFC.
Negotiations seemed shaky at first, but the New Orleans Saints finally agreed to terms on a long-term deal with quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees and Payton have both assumed the leadership role in New Orleans in the past. But with Payton barred from participating in any team activities this season, Brees must take over the role himself.
Considering how productive Brees is with the wide range of talent around him, it is no surprise that he is the unquestioned leader in the locker room.
Brees has shown that he is capable of being the leader they need, as he held offseason team workouts during last season's labor negotiations, according to The Times-Picayune.
Although the absence of Sean Payton may be difficult at first, Brees will find a way to integrate Payton’s message and project it onto every player on the Saints’ roster.
Sean Payton and his coaching staff weren’t the only Saints that were handed suspensions this offseason.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also suspended Saints players Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, as well as Ex-Saints Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.
The suspended players, led by an outspoken Jonathan Vilma, eventually appealed their suspensions.
According to ESPN, the players recently won their appeal and are now eligible to play in the 2012 NFL season.
A moral victory such as this invigorates not only the Saints' defense, but the entire team. As we all know, the Saints band together during trying times.
The New Orleans Saints are definitely in a compromising position—and they wouldn’t want it any other way.
This, of course, is the same franchise that won the Super Bowl while the entire city of New Orleans was facing the horrid aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Fighting through adversity has been a New Orleans Saints staple since then.
Their togetherness remains intact, which is a testament to Drew Brees.
The team already went through some adversity in Week 1, as they lost to rookie Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in a shootout.
A high-scoring affair of that magnitude will most likely not happen again this season, but the experience of losing can benefit the team, especially now.
The Saints have been able to prove others wrong before, and they will definitely do it again this season.
While finding an interim coach for another interim head coach would be difficult for any franchise, the situation may toughen the Saints up in the long run.
During interim coach Joe Vitt’s six-game suspension, the coaching duties will be handled by offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, according to CBSsports.com.
This means that the Saints will be hit hardest by the coaching instability during the first few games of the season.
So as the season progresses, it will only get better. After Week 7, Vitt will be allowed to resume his interim duties.
To some extent, head coach Sean Payton will always be there throughout the 2012 season.
Tom Benson has even decided to put up a poster in the Saints' practice facility, depicting a stern-faced Sean Payton above the words “Do your job.”
In an interview with The Times Picayune, Payton has said he appreciates all the support he has received from Saints owner Tom Benson.
"I had a chance to visit with him shortly after [the poster went up], and I made him promise that as soon as I come back, it comes down. But we've always looked for ways to motivate and get our message across. And I appreciate his support more than anything in the world."
His pictorial presence in the practice facility could lessen the woes of losing a head coach for the season, since the team will constantly be reminded of his support.
Of course, time will only tell if the Saints can truly survive without head coach Sean Payton.