METAIRIE, La. – The Saints have designated Aaron Kromer as their acting head coach for the first six games of the season, taking over for Joe Vitt who will be serving a six-game suspension.
Vitt is set to miss time for what the NFL said was a role in failing to stop a three-year bounty program run the league says the Saints employed from 2009-11.
Beginning Sept. 3, the move puts the 45-year-old Kromer as the face of the franchise for nearly the first half of the season while allowing offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to focus on their jobs.
“This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role,” Loomis said. “Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of chance with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years.”
Kromer, who is in his fifth year with the Saints, will remain the team’s offensive line coach and he has been New Orleans’ run game coordinator since 2009.
Since taking over as offensive line coach the season the Saints went to the Super Bowl, New Orleans has allowed the third-fewest sacks in the NFL.
“Coach (Sean) Payton has laid a successful foundation here and our jobs are to make sure we keep moving in that direction,” Kromer said.
Vitt has been acting as head coach since April, when Payton’s year-long suspension began.
Kromer interviewed this offseason for the St. Louis Rams head coaching position, which eventually went to Jeff Fisher. He is considered an up-and-coming coach.
He coached with Payton at Miami (Ohio) in 1994-95. Thirteen seasons later, Payton plucked Kromer off the Tampa Bay staff and brought him to New Orleans.
“Aaron knows Sean’s system very well and how he would be expected to operate this team,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “We have a very strong coaching staff and Aaron is a coach that is very well-respected in our locker room.”