Say what you will about Aaron Kromer’s job as interim interim head coach for the New Orleans Saints but the fact that the Chicago Bears’ new coach Marc Trestman hired him as offensive coordinator says all you need to know.
The 2-4 start won’t and hasn’t been held against him.
It shouldn’t be.
Kromer is a good coach, one who helped guide right guard Jahri Evans to four straight All-Pro honors, Carl Nicks to one All-Pro honor and a total of nine Pro Bowl berths amongst the line since 2009.
Kromer gets “it.” That much was obvious when talking with him. What we witnessed during his news conferences while serving as interim was not the real Kromer.
He was hamstrung, holding a position in the short-term that didn’t allow him to fully make any decisions on his own. What he was and wasn’t able to say was unclear so he took the safest path, not a bad idea when you’re not fully in control.
But there is a problem with Kromer leaving.
It’s the timing.
Coach Sean Payton is not allowed to talk with candidates to replace Kromer until he returns from suspension. While the NFL has not commented on when that will be, it’s believed that Payton will be eligible when the Super Bowl finishes.
In Kromer, Payton had an offensive line coach who knew the process, who knew what made the program work. Kromer is the man who drew up the blocking schemes for the run game, which he was in charge of developing each week.
Kromer will be entering his 23rd season a coach, including his 12th in the NFL. He has coached under Jon Gruden and now Payton. There’s vast knowledge that will be hard to replace, especially after the hiring period finishes up prior to the Super Bowl.
Look at this at the final salvo in the bounty case, the final punishment that will leak into the 2013 season.
Certainly losing an offensive line coach isn’t necessarily as devastating as losing an offensive or defensive coordinator. But losing a coach like Kromer can be. He had the ears – and respect - of the linemen.
And that’s what should make him successful in Chicago and hard to replace in New Orleans.