No. 1: HC Sean Payton (N/A, 1st year)
Credit: (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
In a break from tradition, Sean Payton is our most indispensable Saint this year. Not really sure how you can quibble with it.
Payton learned from his 2007 and 2008 campaigns and put forth that knowledge in each of 2009, 2010 and 2011. In those seasons, he knew what buttons to push, what plays to call and what tricks to pull when and the Saints went 41-13 and won a Super Bowl.
So, yes, he was missed in 2012. The Saints appeared to be wandering through the forest lost in the first month of the season. New Orleans wouldn’t necessarily have been better than 7-9 with Payton on the sideline, but chances are pretty good that they would have been.
The Kansas City and second Atlanta game, at the very least, come to mind as games that Payton could very well have influenced the outcome of had he been around.
The good news for the Saints fans and the franchise is that he’s back in the fold and already making big decisions, including firing Steve Spagnuolo fairly quickly.
Payton is in the mood to win and he’s doing what he thinks he needs to to make that happen. And he can do that because he holds the power.
That, more than anything, is why he is the most indispensable Saints member for 2013.