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SmashMouth 12-31-2012 05:09 PM

Roger Goodell needs to let Sean Payton return to New Orleans Saints now
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Sean Payton should be allowed back to work immediately. Because for the New Orleans Saints, the 2013 season begins now. And they have some big decisions to make about their future that can't wait until after the Super Bowl.

I'm not even going to suggest that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should offer an "olive branch" to the Saints by reinstating Payton early. In fact, I suspect that's probably the reason why Goodell won't do it - because he doesn't want to be seen as softening his stance on the bounty discipline in any way.

However, Goodell should swallow his pride and show some of the common sense and fairness that has eluded him throughout his handling of this bounty investigation.

Goodell has already made his point - louder and clearer than was necessary. He made the unprecedented decision to remove Payton from his team for an entire season.

But now that season is over. And the Saints need to move on to 2013.

To make Payton wait until after the Super Bowl is yet another arbitrary decision that doesn't seem to be based on any specific reasoning.

It's just another case of Goodell saying, "Because I said so" rather than displaying an open mind - which only fuels the growing criticism that he doesn't wield his power responsibly enough.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made his point and now it's time for him to reinstate Sean Payton. The Associated Press
Goodell made the same mistake by choosing arbitrary suspensions for selected Saints players, which were rejected by Paul Tagliabue during the appeals process because Tagliabue found no precedent for them.

When asked for an explanation why the Super Bowl was chosen as the end date for Payton's suspension instead of the Saints' final game, league spokesman Greg Aiello responded simply, "That was the decision that was made - for the 2012 NFL season."

And when asked if the league is considering an earlier reinstatement, Aiello said, "We are focused on the playoffs right now. We are not going to comment on Sean Payton's status. It will be addressed at the appropriate time."

Well, the appropriate time should be today.

Every decision the Saints make now will directly affect their ability to compete in 2013. And some of those decisions are bigger than others.

Should they consider replacing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after their defensive struggles this year? Or should they consider something even more drastic, like a switch to a 3-4 alignment that might suit their personnel better, especially if they plan to part ways with veteran end Will Smith in the offseason?

Both options have to be considered. Spagnuolo is an impressive guy with an impressive track record. He did a great job of keeping his players on board despite their early struggles, and his defense did show progress as the season went on. So he definitely deserves the opportunity to build on that progress.

However, Spagnuolo is a 4-3 guy. And maybe a 3-4 system is the answer. The Saints have been unable to generate a consistent pass rush under their past three defensive coordinators (Spagnuolo, Gregg Williams and Gary Gibbs). So maybe a radical change is needed.

Current pass rushers like Junior Galette and Martez Wilson might be better fits in a 3-4, and current end/tackle Cameron Jordan could also fit nicely in a 3-4. Plus it seems like more of the elite pass rushers coming out of college are better suited for 3-4 systems.

That wouldn't be an easy transition to make and it wouldn't be an easy decision for the Saints to make as an organization.

But it would be even harder to consider such a drastic change without Payton in the building.

And what happens if offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. winds up getting a head coaching job elsewhere? Or assistant head coach Joe Vitt? Payton should certainly be involved in choosing a replacement and important hires like that need to be made in January, before all the candidates have been picked over.

The same goes for any other assistant coach the Saints may want or need to replace.

Obviously, the Saints still have capable decision-makers in charge. Such decisions are ultimately up to General Manager Mickey Loomis and Owner Tom Benson. And they trust the opinions of Vitt and others on staff.

But as we saw on the field this season, it's not as easy to pull the trigger on bold decisions without everyone on board from the top down.

So it's time to let Payton come back to work and start sifting through the wreckage of the 2012 season. The rebuilding process has to begin now.

Even if Goodell still firmly believes that his severe bounty punishments were warranted, he has to agree that Payton and the Saints have served their time, and they've paid the price.

And now they should be allowed to move forward.

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iWho_Dat 12-31-2012 07:06 PM

Re: Roger Goodell needs to let Sean Payton return to New Orleans Saints now
U have the award for the worlds longest thread lol. I agree though. Goodell is stubborn and prideful he won't budge

st thomas 12-31-2012 07:49 PM

Re: Roger Goodell needs to let Sean Payton return to New Orleans Saints now
Uck goodell

dizzle88 12-31-2012 07:56 PM

Re: Roger Goodell needs to let Sean Payton return to New Orleans Saints now
Would love for us to change to a 3-4 D but if spags is a 4-3 guy would he really know how to coach a 3-4 Defense

In your best George bush voice, look at the sentence above "that's alot of math"

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