When New Orleans Saints' executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 NFL regular season because of his alleged involvement in the team's bounty scandal (h/t Pro Football Talk), the impact it would have on the organization was unknown.
As the Saints head into Week 9 with a 2-5 record, the returning Loomis will be looked upon to kick start what has been an awful season for New Orleans so far.
The return of a face from the past, like Loomis—that knows how the organization is meant to be run—should be a calming force.
Loomis won’t have to do much with the team's passing attack led by Drew Brees (ranked first in the NFL with 316 yards per game), but everything else has been a complete wreck.
From injuries taking stars like Darren Sproles, to the worst statistical defense in the NFL—31st and 32nd against the pass and rush respectively—Loomis will immediately have to become the voice for interim head coach Joe Vitt.
Despite the fact that the Saints are floundering this season, Loomis’ biggest job will be off the field. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is reporting on the GM’s biggest task once he returns from his suspension:
As we reported last night, the Saints are adamant that [head coach Sean] Payton will be the team’s coach in 2013. Whether it happens by Payton’s current contract being tolled by a year due to his suspension or by the language the league rejected being removed (with Payton likely getting a raise in return for it) or by a new deal being done, the Saints fully intend to bring Payton back.
While there is no doubt that Loomis will do everything in his power to right the sinking Saints’ ship, there is only so much a general manager can do at this point in the season. With the trade deadline passed and the free agent pool thin, New Orleans will have to march on with its current roster.
The team must look to the future, and that starts with retaining head coach Sean Payton.
New Orleans needs to make wholesale changes on the defensive side of the ball and improve on offense as well, but that will take time. Loomis knows the kind of coach he has in Payton and he will make bringing back the Super Bowl winner his No. 1 priority.
There is no doubt that the whole organization needed a shot in the arm and a firm hand to fix the problems going on behind the scenes, and Loomis will offer that with his return.
Whether it makes a difference on the field this year or not is a different story, though.
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