CineSport—New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees reported to training camp and said he's optimistic, despite Sean Payton's season-long suspension as a result of the NFL's Bountygate scandal.
Coaches across the NFL have an even greater reason than usual to keep an eye on New Orleans this year. With the Saints’ talented and experienced head coach suspended for the entirety of this season, the importance of an NFL coach’s position may become more measurable this year.
After a strong season for New Orleans in 2011 in which the Saints won the NFC South Division and finished with a record of 13-3, we will see if they can repeat their success. If New Orleans does manage to accomplish similar feats without the guidance of Payton, it would imply that having an established expert in the head coach’s position is not all that important in achieving a successful season in the NFL.
If Drew Brees’ optimistic vision in training camp turns into a prosperous season for the Saints, it would be hard to argue that the success of a team is dependent on anything more than the athletes that take the field. The value of employing an experienced coach could decrease drastically if the Saints can match last season’s results in the absence of Payton.
If, however, the Saints fall short of what they accomplished last year, the value of the head coach’s position in the NFL would increase. New Orleans having a weaker year would prove that having a strong coach lead a franchise makes all the difference in achieving a successful season.
Regardless of the outcome at the end of the Saints’ season, opinions regarding the importance of the head coach’s role in the NFL will be affected. The Saints’ success (or lack their of) will either deflate the value of the position or provide evidence that coaches in the NFL play a crucial role in leading teams to success.