The Saints' offseason conditioning program is set to begin on Monday, April 16, without the presence of their quarterback or head coach.
Drew Brees has yet to sign his franchise tag. Sean Payton's one-year suspension begins that day.
In Brees' place, third year backup Chase Daniel will be the representing quarterback. But the transition will be even more stunning for the team when assistant head coach Joe Vitt assumes Payton's duties as the interim head coach for the 2012 season.
Assistant head coach Vitt himself will serve a six-game suspension during the season, meaning that the head coaching duties then will fall to offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
Vitt has been interim before - serving as defacto head coach at times last season with Payton injured, and serving as interim head coach for the 2005 St. Louis Rams in place of Mike Martz. Vitt has been with the Saints since the beginning of Payton's tenure in 2006, and Saints GM Mickey Loomis said that continuity was an important part of the decision.
Kromer has been with the Saints since 2008, and knew Payton from their days coaching together at the University of Miami-Ohio in the late 90s. He is the "running game coordinator", working with Pete Carmichael, Jr. on the offense and coaches the offensive linemen. An offensive lineman himself at Miami-Ohio, he also coached the offensive line for the 2002 Oakland Raiders when they went to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The Saints will may also be without a host of defensive players at any point, as the commissioner is expected soon to levy player suspensions involving the bounty scandal and coverup.