Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer said he is honored that Saints Owner/Chairman Tom Benson and Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis chose him to oversee Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt's duties during his absence for the first six games of the regular season.
Kromer says the transition should run smoothly and Vitt emphasized that Kromer is the right man for the job.
"Our players were really excited this morning when we announced to the team about Aaron (Kromer) taking over," said Vitt. "Aaron has been with us since (before) our championship season and has done a great job with our offensive line and our offense."
Kromer is a 22-year coaching veteran who has instructed mainly linemen and running backs throughout his career. Kromer's first position with the black-and-gold was tutoring the running backs in 2008 after a three-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he helped capture the NFC South division title twice. Kromer then took over with the offensive linemen, a role he has held for the past three seasons.
Kromer has coached seven Pro Bowlers on the line and coached a unit up front that has been named the Madden Most Valuable Protectors in two of the past three seasons.
"We will do the same things that Sean Payton has done over the years," Kromer said Thursday. "We will follow the same program."
While Kromer will be stepping into Vitt's shoes, he knows it will take a group effort for the changeover to succeed.
"For me, it's an opportunity but it is also a collaborative situation where we will all work together and solve this thing," said Kromer. "The coaches on this staff, with Pete Carmichael, with (Steve) Spagnuolo, with Greg McMahon, those three guys know how to run a program themselves."
QB Drew Brees said despite the team's unprecedented circumstances, Kromer leading the way to start the season is the best scenario the team could ask for.
"We are all for making things better," said Brees. "We are not saying we have all the answers or that the way we do things is exactly (the right way). We continue to evolve and adapt and maybe add and subtract as we go along to make things better but the core will remain the same."
With the supporting staff in place along with a talented roster, Vitt is not concerned about handing the reigns over to Kromer who will serve in the position of head coach for the first time in his career. Kromer will work with Vitt in the Saints' final two preseason games in order to gain experience as the lead man.
"Nobody could teach Sean (Payton) how to do it, nobody could teach Bill Parcells how to do it, nobody could teach Bill Walsh how to do it," said Vitt. "Your first time in there, you will get a feel for it and you'll quickly adjust. I don't think there is a manual on it. I think you have to jump in and do it."
Kromer feels that he is prepared to take over the leading role because of his experience with successful head coaches in the past. He says he has been able to see their routine and evaluation process. Most importantly, Kromer will rely on the system that is currently in place.