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Looking at a Payton Saint

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Apologies for the length of this article. The link had many other articles that made it somewhat difficult to find. Interesting info..... Looking At A Payton Saint Mickey Spagnola 1-18-06 DallasCowboys.com Columnist IRVING, Texas - Sean Payton made an extremely ...

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Old 01-18-2006, 01:35 PM   #1
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Looking at a Payton Saint

Apologies for the length of this article. The link had many other articles that made it somewhat difficult to find. Interesting info.....

Looking At A Payton Saint

Mickey Spagnola 1-18-06
DallasCowboys.com Columnist

IRVING, Texas - Sean Payton made an extremely good decision about this time two years ago. He said no to Al Davis.

There were those at the time in the Bay Area insisting Payton had committed professional suicide, that no matter where the job was, even Oakland, you don't ever turn down a head coaching job in the NFL. Not if you are merely Sean Payton, just turned 40, and don't even have the title of offensive coordinator before your name.

Yeah, well, Payton didn't like the situation he would have inherited with the Raiders. Probably was worried about how much personnel say-so he'd have with Davis perpetually hovering over his shoulder. Plus, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled his pay to $1 million a year to stay put.

Had he said yes, that might have been Payton driving over the Bay Bridge Tuesday morning to become the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator instead of Norv Turner, who bravely took the Raiders job two seasons ago and predictably failed. Davis is a hard guy to work for these days.

Had he said yes, Payton would not be heading to New Orleans to be named the Saints head coach in a Wednesday news conference. Evidently the Saints had pared their extensive list of candidates down to two - Payton and Cleveland offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, the former Cowboys offensive coordinator for two seasons (2003-04).

Big difference, though, between the two? Carthon was coordinator in name only, until he ran the show in Cleveland this year. Payton actually assisted Bill Parcells in the play calling, and was given that responsibility this year, although under Bill's watchful eye.

And if the Saints had needed someone else's two cents on the merits of Payton running a team - running an offense - then I would have certainly obliged them since I do have some family roots there in Louisiana.

Has anyone bothered to list what Payton's had to work with here in Dallas? The quarterbacks? That would be still raw Quincy Carter, a 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde on last-second's notice the second year and the 33-year-old Drew Bledsoe sent packing from Buffalo the third year.

He milked these guys for all they were worth.

My goodness, he got a 3,302-yard passing season out of Carter. He got a 3,532-yard season out of Testaverde, and remember, he didn't know Vinny would be his starting quarterback until a week into training camp in 2004. Then this year, 3,639 passing yards out of Bledsoe, who had thrown for more only once in the previous five seasons. In fact, that's the second most single-season passing yards by a Cowboys quarterback, Danny White setting the record at 3,980 in 1983. That's right, more than any single season by Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach, and come Feb. 4, those two guys will be (there I go again with the "slam dunk") in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What's more, and especially for those deeming this Parcells' era of offense conservative, this is only the third time in club history Cowboys starting quarterbacks have thrown for more than 3,000 yards in at least three consecutive seasons, the last being Aikman (1995-97) and the first being Staubach-White (1978-81).

And the Cowboys, with Payton around, accomplished that this time with three different quarterbacks. Not bad, eh?

Well, I got another one for you, er, the Saints, had they bothered to ask. Do you realize Bledsoe had more passing yards than the San Francisco 49ers had total yards this season? Yep, the Niners totaled 3,587 yards this season - 52 fewer yards and it was their lowest total since 1963 when the NFL was playing a 14-game season - and their coordinator, Mike McCarthy, parlayed that into the head coaching job in Green Bay, where Payton also interviewed.

And when it comes to total offense, the Cowboys finished with 5,202 yards, their single-season most since 1998 (5,450). Know what? The Cowboys managed more than 5,100 yards of offense the previous two seasons, too, operating with a marginal quarterback and a 40-year-old quarterback. They totaled 5,161 in 2003 and then 5,197 in 2004.

That means three consecutive years with at least 5,100 yards of offense, and to match that, you have to go back to 1991-95, the high being 5,824 in 1995 - fifth most in club history since the record is 5,968 set in 1979, nine more yards than the Cowboys gained in both 1979 (Staubach) and 1983 (White). And to think Staubach retired after the 1979 season and Tom Landry decided to start Gary Hogeboom instead of White in 1984.

So if this history means anything, Payton has done something right here during his three years helping to oversee the offense. And he has done something right with quarterbacks, if you figure he also revived the career of Kerry Collins while with the New York Giants.

This had to mean something to the Saints, who soured on starter Aaron Brooks this season, and more importantly, who have the second pick in the 2006 draft. Can you say Matt Leinart or possibly Vince Young?

Plus, Payton, who also had drawn some late interest from Buffalo, is a high-energy guy. Lord knows the head coach of the New Orleans Saints is going to need high energy, and not just because the team went 3-13 this season. The entire city has so much to overcome, and knowing how much those people down there love their Saints, a turnaround would sure aid their everyday morale.

This job is a big one, and will take someone who knows more than just football. Charisma is needed, and Payton has that, although most of you would be hard-pressed to agree with me since Parcells keeps his assistant coaches off-limits to the public, er, media, sorry. He also has the necessary confidence in himself.

"Sean has what I call the "it" factor," Carolina head coach John Fox told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Fox knows a little something about Payton. The two crossed paths three seasons with the Giants (1999-2001), including the Giants' Super Bowl season in 2000 when Fox was the defensive coordinator and Payton was the offensive coordinator.

Sort of that same "it" factor former Cowboys linebacker Jack Del Rio seduced Jacksonville with during his interview for the head coaching job back in 2003.

The Cowboys now will wish him luck, but then probably not too much since they must face the Saints at Texas Stadium come the 2006 season. And then go about looking for another assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/passing-game coordinator - whatever title Parcells decides to give the guy.

Bill has his little list by his side.

Norv is out, so forget about that. There are offensive head coaches still out of work, guys such as Mike Sherman and Mike Martz, but they don't seem to fit Parcells' taste in offense. There are some coordinators likely out of work, too, guys such as Tom Clements, Mike Heimerdinger, Al Saunders and Ted Tollner, all of whom are on staffs with head coaching turnover. And Parcells always could promote Tony Sparano, his running-game coordinator/offensive line coach.

But here is a name to tuck away: Chris Palmer, the offensive coordinator who was fired in Houston early this season. Remember, he's got two years of head coaching experience (Cleveland, 1999-2000). And Parcells himself hired Palmer in 1993 with New England, first as his receivers coach and then promoted him to quarterbacks coach in 1996, the year the Patriots went to the Super Bowl. That means he's worked closely with, uh, Bledsoe.

Parcells likely first bumped into Palmer in 1984, when he began a two-year stay with the USFL's New Jersey Generals, who were using Giants Stadium. And when he left there, get this, he spent two seasons as the head coach of New Haven, where Tony Sparano was his offensive line coach, and then brought Sparano with him to Boston University when he became the head coach there.

In fact, Palmer was responsible for breaking Sparano into the NFL, hiring him in Cleveland as first his quality control coach in 1999 and then promoting him to offensive line coach in 2000.

So talk about some ties.

But first things first. Payton is expected to be announced as the Saints new head coach at a noon press conference. He's got a mammoth job on his hands. But remember, the Saints went through an exhaustive list of candidates before deciding on Payton. Evidently he had the "it" the Saints were looking for.

So much for professional suicide.


Payton's next move will be to put together a staff, but as these things go, he's probably already had put together some possibilities for his interview. As for Cowboys assistants following him to New Orleans, only three are not under contract for 2006, and as for the rest, the Cowboys would have to be willing to let them make a lateral move.

While the Saints finished 3-13 this year, let's remember, over the previous four seasons they were 10-6, 7-9, 9-7 and 8-8. So it's not as if the cupboard is bare. They were just in a no-win situation this year, what with Katrina and all. He just needs to get that quarterback situation in order.


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Old 01-18-2006, 01:38 PM   #2
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Old 01-18-2006, 02:04 PM   #3
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Good read. Actually kinda pumped about this guy. Hopefully Loomis did his homework, and Payton is the guy who has more promise than the other candidates
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Old 01-18-2006, 02:12 PM   #4
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Wow! Wasn't he "Whitey" on Leave It To Beaver?

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Old 01-18-2006, 02:13 PM   #5
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That's a mighty fine write up. Wellwritten and respectful of our Saints. Most people talk likewe haven't seen a 6 win season in 10 years. I like those numbers...this guy has gotten alot out of alot of different QBs.

And of course...I love the McCarthy jab
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:49 PM   #6
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I guess he'll take some time to evaluate the staff (and players, as well). Seems he has interest in a few Cowboys coaches. It'll be interesting to see if he makes away with a couple, if any. I really don't much about them, but it would probably be good to have a few guys already on the same page....

Time will tell.

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