The New Orleans Saints open the new season on September 9, 2012 against the Washington Redskins. When they step out onto the field, they’ll be doing so without a number of key players from last year, thanks to suspensions and free agency. One other big absence from the sidelines will be that of head coach Sean Payton, who is gone for the year due to his role in the bounty scandal.

It will indeed be different for the Saints and their fans as the leader of their team won’t be able to see whatever failures and accomplishments come during the 2012 season. The brilliant mind and play-caller will have to watch his team try and succeed without him anywhere near them.

The big question is: what if the Saints do succeed without Sean Payton?

Believe it or not, that is a question in the back of the minds of 32 NFL coaches, whether they’ll admit it or not.

A team moving forward without a coach, into a winning season, the playoffs, or possibly even a Super Bowl could cause NFL owners to rethink their staff. There will always be cause for leadership and organization, but a team winning without a head coach might spell disaster for a number of jobs.

Now, the New Orleans Saints have a very talented team with veteran assistant coaches––including new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo––leading them for the 2012 season, so they aren’t going in blind. Quarterback Drew Brees has often said that he and Payton “are of the same mind” when in games and even in practice. Payton’s organization, game plans, and even his presence will still be somewhat felt throughout the season for the Saints, but his physical absence will be an issue the team will have to deal with.

New Orleans also has a team with an extremely talented offense and a defense that is nothing to laugh at. It would not be a total surprise for them to come out and win 10, 11, or even 12 games and finish atop the NFC South with an appearance in the playoffs. How far they go from there though will actually say a lot about this team’s moxie and who they are as a unit.

Should the Saints do well this season, that is not to say that Sean Payton’s job will be at jeopardy once he his suspension is over. Owner Tom Benson and general manager Mickey Loomis have a great relationship with Payton, and he will likely be around for a long time to come. As a matter of fact, head coaches will be around for a long time to come, whether the Saints do well in 2012 or not.

Rest assured though, if New Orleans ends up with a very good season and even a possible championship, then there will be a few NFL owners scratching their heads and wondering just what is necessary and what isn’t.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest NFL news, see CBS Sports Las Vegas.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on

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