Whether you want to call him Coach Vitt, Joe Cool or Cool Joe V, if we have learned one thing during the most-followed off season in Saints history, it is that Saints Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is in total control.
From his calm, business-like demeanor when he speaks to the media, to the way he tosses hypothetical questions aside like a would-be tackler, Joe Vitt is one cool dude and the players he coaches and the organization he works for have nothing but the utmost respect for him.
''This is about our program, and the continued success of our program. Joe has been part of building our success along with our Head Coach Sean Payton and our General Manager Mickey Loomis,” said owner Tom Benson back in April at the announcement of Vitt taking charge of the team. “We are looking forward to the start of the offseason program, the NFL Draft, our minicamps and training camp. We are looking forward to the start of our season, as I know that all of our fans are and we are looking forward to competing and winning a championship right here in our own city, in our own stadium this year.”
Coach Vitt pays attention to detail. From the stats his team puts up (or does not put up) to recognizing the job that everyone on his staff does, Joe Vitt is in charge and his actions and the way he handles things make it very easy to understand why Coach Sean Payton left Vitt in charge.
This new role for Coach Vitt is not all that new, as he has been in the role of interim head coach before. Coach Vitt was the interim head coach for the St. Louis Rams back in 2005. Vitt had to step in for then Rams Coach Mike Martz, who was out for eleven games dealing with heart problems. And of course, last season Coach Joe Vitt filled in for Coach Sean Payton for three regular season games while coach Payton was out with a broken Tibia. So Coach Vitt is no stranger to being in this role and he has experience.
But this is a new NFL, a kinder, gentler NFL. So how does that affect Coach Joe Vitt’s old-school, hard-nose style? Coach Vitt says he’s learning on the fly and wants to get better at everything he does.
“I have a long way to go. I guess right now I am undefeated. This will be the last time I am undefeated,” Vitt said. “I still have to do a better job of coaching the linebackers. I want to do a better job with the tempo of practice. I want to do a better job of the efficiency of our practice, with what we are doing in individual period and what we are doing in the fundamental period is something that I am going to continue to critique every day. Let my coaches critique me and what I can do better. Unless you are Tom Landry, Don Shula, or Bill Walsh, you haven’t arrived. This is an ongoing process and we will work every day to get better at it.”
Vitt is a guy that lets you know how he feels. He’s a man who speaks from the heart and he pulls no punches. Vitt has coached many places in the past and he has been in the NFL since 1979 as a coach. He’s coached in Baltimore (with the Colts, not Ravens.) Coach Vitt also made stops in Seattle, Los Angeles with the Rams, Philly, Green Bay, Kansas City, St. Louis and he has been with the Saints since 2006.
With over thirty years of coaching experience at the professional level, it just seems like a natural fit for Vitt to be in charge of one of the most successful franchises in pro sports. And it was an obvious choice for the team to make. Saints Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mickey Loomis made the announcement that Vitt would fill in for Coach Payton back on April 12th of this year.
“It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season. Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed,” said Loomis. “But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach, and that is why Joe Vitt will assume Sean’s duties.”
So as many of you have called, texted and emailed expressing their concern about the Black and Gold without Coach Payton being on board, to me the most important question is who will be in charge when Coach Vitt is out.
Because to me it obvious that the Saints are in good shape with Cool Joe V running the show!