Saints camp “business as usual” without Sean Payton; How unusual will it be when the season starts?


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Reporting from Saturday night’s preseason game between the Saints and Texas, Peter King described training camp in post-Sean Payton New Orleans as “business as usual” under Payton’s successor, Dennis Allen.

The concussion underscores the fact, but for Payton’s departure, it’s all the same for the Saints. The players are remarkably unchanged from last year’s roster. The coaching staff is essentially the same, with Allen moving to the top spot — just as he did last season on Sunday night when Peyton tested positive for Covid-19 and the Bucks were held to zero points.

But here’s the real question for the 2022 Saints, whose return doesn’t even begin until the regular season begins.

That’s when one has to pay attention to Peyton’s frantic efforts to game plan for each opponent, scanning film from the next team on the schedule and making suggestions based on film around the league in his constant search for the perfect play. He was engaged at the right time to bring about the right change. It requires a huge time commitment. You are a rich man. You have to work hard and work smart. You have to give up sleep. You have to focus. You must be sorry.

Peyton has led by example over the years. Who would slip into this role? Allen is a defender, and will have a hand in running the entire side of the ball (which he has done incredibly well over the last several years). It will likely fall largely on offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to fix the offense and do what Peyton did in 17 regular-season games to navigate through traffic.

I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it’s something that needs to happen for the 2022 Saints to be as successful as they can be. Some have fallen into the trap of thinking Peyton’s absence won’t make much of a difference. It definitely makes a big difference behind the scenes. Someone has to do everything Payton has done, and they have to do it well. Otherwise, Python’s absence will make a big difference for the Saints.

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