METAIRIE, La. — Aaron Kromer sat down in front of a New Orleans Saints banner Monday, a gaggle of reporters in front of him, watching his every move.
Calling on his first news conference a little more than a week earlier, Kromer went with what worked, making a joke about his lack of power in getting a taller table to sit.
And once again, the joke culled a laugh out of those at the Airline Drive facility.
Days ahead of the Saints’ season-opener against the Washington Redskins (Sunday, noon), Kromer is already winning, in other words.
Saints fans hope Kromer’s insistence on hitting the high points of the past translates into on-field success for the first six games this season.
“I’m following the formula so anytime you have a plan; you have a good sense that things are going to go well,” Kromer said Monday, his first official day on the job as interim head coach. “We have a good plan here. I’m following the plan and the team is with us.”
The Saints plan was born in 2006 under Sean Payton’s leadership. That year, he took the franchise to its first-ever NFC championship game. Three seasons later, in 2009, he matched the effort and went two steps further, winning New Orleans’ first-ever Super Bowl.
But Kromer is in his current position because Payton isn’t around this season. The NFL suspended him for the entire season for not stopping what the league determined was a three-year bounty program run by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Joe Vitt, the man the Saints brass chose to be the acting head coach in Payton’s absence, also was suspended for the bounty program. He’s out the first six games, or seven weeks including the bye, of the season.
Monday, however, it was hard to tell that much had changed. Kromer spent the bulk of the first half of practice working with the offensive linemen, his normal duty during non-suspended times.
After practice, Kromer reiterated his stance that he won’t be alone in running the club for the next stretch of this already strange 2012.
“It is going to be a collective effort in this situation,” Kromer said. “I feel good about that. You can feel comfort when you have leaders and people around you like we have in this office.”
That, above all else, is what’s giving Kromer confidence in the Saints’ system and future.
Between the constant changes in regard to dealing with hurricanes and injuries, he feels New Orleans is more capable than any other franchise.
“We have always said here that we adapt better than anyone in the NFL,” Kromer said. “We adjust better than anyone. Things don’t distract us. We don’t let little things bother us. We only worry about the big things.”