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Marcus Robertson left holding pattern to become New Orleans Saints secondary coach

'I believe that guys can appreciate the fact that I've actually played the game, played at a high level'

The New Orleans Saints hire Marcus Robertson as secondary coach for the 2023 season.
The New Orleans Saints hire Marcus Robertson as secondary coach for the 2023 season.

Marcus Robertson wasn't aggressively looking for a new job, because he had one that he was hoping to keep.

But the one he had, as defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals, was in limbo after the franchise fired coach Kliff Kingsbury following last season. And though the team considered defensive coordinator (and Marrero native) Vance Joseph for the vacancy, there was no assurance that Joseph would be hired (and ultimately, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was hired as coach).

"I was in a holding pattern, with everything that was going on in Arizona," said Robertson, who spent four seasons with the Cardinals. "The situation was, I was hopeful that Vance Joseph would be taken into consideration for the Arizona opportunity, primarily because we work extremely well together, we had a lot invested in Arizona and personally, I felt like it could be fixed.

"With that and just being in a holding pattern, D.A. (New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen) reached out to me and we started having conversations, things started to heat up a little bit. Me and D.A. go way, way back, so I was excited about the potential and the opportunity that presented as we started talking.

"Each day, everything started becoming a little bit more reality, started feeling like there was more and more of a chance that I would have the opportunity to be in New Orleans."

Reality officially manifested Feb. 15 when Robertson was announced as the Saints' new secondary coach. He was an assistant defensive backs coach on Allen's staff in Oakland in 2014.

Robertson, who has coached defensive backs for the past 15 seasons, had a 12-year NFL playing career as a safety for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. He was named All-Pro in 1993 and finished with 24 interceptions and 72 passes defensed in 162 regular-season games (144 starts).

"I think my experience playing on the field is invaluable," he said. "Because one of the things that I'll never do to a player, is put a player in a position where he's uncomfortable. Because I know what it's like to be on the field and be uncomfortable to a certain degree. I know what that speed feels like, I know what that stress feels like, I know when the gap looks like a freeway. So I know all those little things that make big differences.

"And everywhere I've been, I believe that guys can appreciate the fact that I've actually played the game, played at a high level. The No. 1 thing I want to do, I want to put those guys in position to make plays. I want to help them reach their full potential, and I'm going to give them everything they need in order to do that."

And Robertson said he expects no less from his position group.

"The first thing we've got to do is, we've got to do it right," he said. "The bottom line is, execution is worship, so in order for us to achieve some of the things that I believe we want to achieve, execution is at a premium.

"We've got to go out there, we've got to put in the work – obviously, have fun doing it – but I think it's very important to not have any weak links, especially not in the back end. You make any mistakes back there, obviously, you get exposed. If we make a mistake up front, we've got a chance to correct it. So there are some things that I specifically like to emphasize when we're in the back end, and I'm hoping we can do it at a higher level this year."

Robertson said he already has been meeting with Saints defensive backs and is eager to get on the field.

"When I sit back and look at it, I'm really excited about it," he said. "I had an opportunity to meet four or five of the guys, I've coached (cornerback Bradley) Roby in the past and when you look at some of the young guys, (cornerbacks) Alontae (Taylor) and (Paulson) Adebo from Stanford, I've been to the pro days and evaluated those guys and sat down with those guys.

"I'm a big film study guy, so I've been watching this defense at least for the last three years pretty consistently in the offseason, just trying to identify everything they're doing here."

The New Orleans Saints hired five new coaches for the 2023 season. The new hires are Joe Woods (defensive coordinator), Clancy Barone (tight ends coach), Marcus Robertson (secondary coach), Todd Grantham (defensive line coach), and Kevin Carberry (assistant offensive line coach).

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