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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Assistants find job satisfaction in New Orleans By LARRY HOLDER JACKSON -- Ken Whisenhunt left his offensive coordinator job in Pittsburgh to become the head coach in Arizona. Whisenhunt took Russ Grimm with him. Cam Cameron went from one sunny ...

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Old 08-08-2007, 12:00 AM   #1
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Assistants find job satisfaction in New Orleans
By LARRY HOLDER

JACKSON --Ken Whisenhunt left his offensive coordinator job in Pittsburgh to become the head coach in Arizona. Whisenhunt took Russ Grimm with him. Cam Cameron went from one sunny locale to another as he bolted to Miami after spending time as the offensive coordinator in San Diego.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knew his assistant coaches' phones would be ringing during the offseason after they guided the team to the greatest season in franchise history.

"Those are good problems to have," Payton said. "That means, chances are, you're hiring the right people."

Numerous coaches did take the call. But fortunately for Payton and the Saints, the vast majority of them remain with the reigning NFC South champions.

"When you come off a good season where you have some success and other people are interested in your coaches, that's part of our business and I want the best for those guys," Payton said. "We lost Johnny Morton to USC but outside of that I think it's a credit to our guys and the work they put in."

Defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs interviewed for the head coaching job in Dallas, but it was offered and taken by former Saints interim head coach Wade Phillips.

Quarterbacks coach Pete Carmichael Jr. understandably intrigued many teams considering the job he did mentoring Drew Brees. Cameron wanted Carmichael to become the Dolphins offensive coordinator, but Carmichael declined.

Offensive assistant John Morton was the only coach to leave New Orleans during the offseason as he became USC's wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

"We went through a process, which is pretty typical I think after you're successful, where we had a number of guys interview and to their credit," Payton said. "(Assistant special teams coach) Greg McMahon had an opportunity as a coordinator."

Linebackers/assistant head coach coach Joe Vitt has head coaching experience as he took over for Mike Martz in St. Louis when Martz left the Rams with a heart condition. The way he turned the Saints linebackers into a solid group last season made Vitt a viable candidate for a promotion somewhere else.

As he and the rest of the core staff remained in New Orleans, Vitt said coaching stability is a key for the success of a team.

"Continuity is only going to help if you take advantage of it," Vitt said. "We all know what our strengths are and we all know what our weaknesses are. We know what the coordinators are demanding of us. We know what they expect of us. We've got to take advantage of that. Players have been in our system for a second year so they know what is expected of them. Continuity doesn't mean anything if you don't take advantage of it."

The Saints head coach tends to agree with Vitt. It's no different in this philosophy either.

"I've said this before, I lean heavily on our staff and some of the most important decisions early on in starting with the ground floor with this program was putting the right staff in place and starting with teachers and I think I've been able to do that," Payton said.

Payton said he wouldn't be surprised if offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Doug Marrone makes another team's short list for a head coaching vacancy some time in the near future. Right tackle Jon Stinchcomb hopes Marrone's number is called way later rather than sooner.

"I hope no time soon because I hope he sticks around," Stinchcomb said. "You can see that for him. He's got that in his makeup. I'm sure one day that will be in his path."

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