Reacting to Saints' bounty punishment
I'm not surprised by the loss of draft picks, but I am surprised by the extent of the individual sanctions. I expected them to be less. But everybody knew the commissioner was going to come down hard on this case because of all the repercussions of the bounty program that the Saints operated. I think this will be the last time we will ever see any bounty program institutionalized to the degree that it was in New Orleans. In fact, after these sanctions, I'm not sure we'll continue to see dollars handed out in meeting rooms for individual achievements either.
Tom has already said he stands behind head coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis. I'm sure he's going to stick by those guys. I would expect that the team will have to have an interim coach for whatever period the suspension is. Whether that's someone like new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who has been a head coach before, remains to be seen.
I expect Gregg to be back as the Rams defensive coordinator in 2013, when I think he'll be reinstated by the NFL. I think Jeff has some interim options on the current staff with Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil, who both have been defensive coordinators before. I'm sure it will be difficult for Jeff because he and Gregg are so close, and that was the guy he wanted to immediately hire.
That will depend on what he's allowed to do in terms of his duties. A lot of the free agency stuff has already taken place, so now it's draft and prep for training camps and the season. They will miss him because he's an excellent GM. I'm sure he has assistants who can step in. But he'll be missed during that period.
It remains to be seen what happens with the players implicated in this bounty program. I expect that to be more of a financial hit. If so, I think the team will still be strong because they have the nucleus in place. I think they will be a playoff team. This will be one of those deals where they rally around the cause. They were a 13-3 team last year, and I would certainly expect them to win 10 games or so.