ESPN reports that Sean Payton has floated the idea that Bill Parcells could be the Saints' placeholder coach while Payton serves his one-year suspension. Parcells is something of a mentor to Payton, so the two have been talking a lot recently, with Payton needing a big Tuna-y shoulder to cry on. But football makes for more pressing matters, and according to Mort, Payton's asked Parcells if he'd be interested holding down the fort. This is insane and makes all the sense in the world.
Payton has long called the offensive plays for New Orleans, and that presents problems for the two internal candidates for the interim coaching job. Steve Spagnuolo has head coaching experience, but he's a defensive whiz and completely new to the Saints' system. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael called the plays last year after Payton broke his leg, but the team likes having him focus solely on the offense. So Parcells is the best of both worlds—a guy who sort of knows the system, who'll leave the coordinators to their areas of expertise.
Payton spent three years as QB coach under Parcells in Dallas, where they were able to coax 3,000-yard seasons out of Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, and Drew Bledsoe. Payton's schemes borrow a good deal from Parcells's, so the learning curve would be shallower in New Orleans if Parcells were to get back into the coaching game after six years away. And if Parcells, who'll be 70 years old in August, wants to see if he's still got the coaching itch, a one-year, no pressure situation is ideal. No one would blame him if the Saints struggle in the wake of the bounty penalties, and there's every reason to expect the Brees-led offense to be just as explosive as recent years.
Though it's far from a done deal, there are two easily foreseeable downsides to Parcells taking the reins of the Saints. First, he's Bill Parcells: if the Saints wished to suffer in silence and downplay the historic penalties, there's no worse way than to put a volatile celebrity of a coach on the sidelines. Second, he's Bill Parcells: what happens if he coaches, wins, and doesn't want to give the job back?
Sean Payton, Bill Parcells talk role [ESPN.com]