Saints practice begins Thursday. How many games he wins remains to be seen, but interim head coach Joe Vitt has already won the press conferences. Unlike his boss, Vitt has some colorful answers, and his players say he is always candid.
Vitt has been an interim head coach before, with theSt. Louis Rams, but this is different. He will coach the Saints thru camp and the preseason, then depart for a six game suspension to start the regular season.
Vitt said a decision on his interim replacement is still a week or two away: "Mickey's got a couple of coaches he will talk to, he has a couple of people in mind. But, again I think this is critical. We are going to see the personality of this football team and what it takes on. Every year is different. And, the coach who can serve the needs of this team is the guy Mr. Benson will pick."
Vitt said he will testify on behalf of suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma Thursday in federal court. That is also the first day of practice in summer camp.
Vilma is asking a federal judge for a restraining order that allows him to get back on the field. Vitt has backed Vilma in writing, and will in word.
"We did not have a bounty program," Vitt told reporters Tuesday. "We had a pay for performance program, as do a lot of teams."
As challenging as the 2012 season could be, Vitt said that a mentality of 'us against the world' will not work.
"We certainly could play that up," he said, "But when the ball is kicked off and the players walk outside the lines you are talking about technique, alignment, assignment. I think this us against the world mentality is out the door."
Vitt said he misses Sean Payton every day, and again stressed that he is nothing but a 'spoke on a big wheel.'
"This man has hall of fame credentials," Vitt told WGNO Sports "This man was on course to win 100 games faster than anyone in the history of our game."
As outstanding a football coach as Payton is, his press conferences could often be mundane. Not so with Vitt. Safety Roman Harper admitted that he's an avid watcher of Joe Vitt press conferences: "I am just excited every time Joe gets up in front of you guys and doesn't saythe f-word."