Jim Henderson: A footnote on a foot soldier - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Jim Henderson: A footnote on a foot soldier

File/AP Photo File/AP Photo

It's hard to say if the Saints have turned their season around.  But it appears that they have at least found the U-turn lane.  And they found it in an unlikely place at an unlikely time.

It's not often you can point to a loss, and a fourth straight one at that, as the turning point of this season to date.  But in the 28 to 27 loss at Lambeau Field on the last day of September, the Saints found a confidence in defeat that would be reinforced by a pair of subsequent seven-point victories over the Chargers and Bucs.

The way the Saints bounced back from the worst defeat of the season the previous week to the Chiefs at home to lose a very winnable game against one of the best teams in the league -- in one of the league's toughest road venues -- kept Aaron Kromer's message resonating for his team and its fans when both groups could have been on the verge of tuning it out and chalking off the season to "just not our year."

Now Kromer fades into the background after six weeks in the most unprecedented spotlight any head coach in the National Football League has ever had to deal with.  It was a spotlight he never sought, never probably ever truly enjoyed, but one you would have to say in which he succeeded.

He never wavered from his "climbing the mountain" analogy.  And in that loss to the Packers he finally had some tangible proof that the Saints were getting some traction and gaining a foothold.  When he remained positive in his approach and steadfast in his message, his team responded.

But he would probably reject the notion that this is or ever was "his team."  While some in the organization might have wished he had been less reluctant to put his stamp on the team and be less deferential to his superiors, Kromer remained the good soldier.

This was, is, and will be again Sean Payton's team.  Sean Payton -- the man he worked for and in all likelihood will again.

There is no handbook of instructions for interim-interim coaches.  Now, as the only one in the history of the NFL, Aaron Kromer is the only man qualified to write one.  But that would require an ego Aaron Kromer doesn't possess.  If Gregg Williams were in a similar situation, his tome would probably rival "War and Peace."

Kromer now becomes a footnote in Saints history, a foot soldier who remained steadfastly loyal to his troops and his commander-in-chief.   A 2-and-4 career record won't earn him any medals. But it should earn him the acknowledgement of a job well done.  He deserves that. 

And for Aaron Kromer, that will probably be enough.

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