What a difference one fiery, seasoned coach makes, huh, Who Dat Nation?
Joe Vitt's presence could not be duplicated during the Saints' first six games, and that was one of the big problems. They needed that man who would hold people accountable. That man who would pick up the slack for Sean Payton and facilitate coaches' and players' responsibilities efficiently.
Vitt is that man, and, after he has gotten back into the swing of things, you can start to see what kind of direction this team is going to go.
That direction has, smartly, included a renewed focus on the running game. Vitt has also decided to use a healthy Chris Ivory the past two weeks, who has seemed to ignite the other running backs around him.
Darren Sproles' hand injury might have been a blessing in disguise, because it freed up an opportunity for the Saints to actually use Ivory, and use him effectively. His presence on the field has, in turn, lit somewhat of a fire under Mark Ingram, who is finally looking like the player New Orleans thought they were drafting 21 months ago.
There must be some other reason that the Saints' ground game has taken off. Hmm.
Could it be the fact that Vitt's return has allowed Aaron Kromer to solely focus on his offensive line/running game, where he excels the most?
Kromer was probably the happiest man to see Vitt return to the team. He wasn't the disciplinarian that Joe is. His best asset is developing offensive lineman and producing a concise but effective rushing attack.
Kromer couldn't do that when he was the interim head man. The play of his offensive line unit started off the year a mess. They were constantly getting Drew Brees knocked around or off of his mark, and that made the entire offense suffer, especially the nonexistent ground attack.
Vitt is used to pulling double duty as a position coach and assistant head coach, so he can find the balance between the two, and neither would suffer. His linebacking unit on Sunday versus Atlanta is a prime example of that.
But Kromer has flourished since returning to his old role. Just ask the doubters (me included) who never thought Charles Brown would develop into nothing more than another second-round bust. His performance on Sunday was a revelation. That could no doubt be attributed to the extra time Kromer had getting Brown ready to start instead of balancing multiple responsibilities.
All of these aspects of the game matter most to a coach like Joe Vitt. He's a defensive-minded one who knows the importance of having a good ground game to keep the defense fresh and give the other offense fewer opportunities.
Isn't it funny how just one person returning could have an impact on so many things?
I guess he really isn't your average "Joe."