NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator Greg McMahon, linebackers coach Joe Vitt and three other assistants won't be retained, a person familiar with the decision said Thursday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because none of the coaching moves, first reported by The Sporting News, have been announced.
Defensive line coach Bill Johnson, assistant linebackers coach James Willis and special teams assistant Stan Kwan also are not being retained.
New Orleans finished 7-9 for a third straight season. And for a third straight season, the defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL, while the offense was among the NFL's most productive, finishing first in net yards gained this season, with Drew Brees leading the league in yards passing. New Orleans' field goal unit also struggled at times, allowing three pivotal blocked kicks in a trio of close losses.
Vitt, who also held the title of assistant head coach, went 5-5 as interim head coach for 10 games during the 2012 season, when Sean Payton was suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty probe. Vitt also suspended six games that season because of his role in the Saints' off-the-books, cash-for-hits incentive program. He has spent 11 seasons with the Saints since joining Payton's original staff in 2006.
McMahon also joined the Saints in 2006 as a special teams assistant and was promoted to coordinator in 2008. But this was not a banner year for New Orleans' special teams.
The Saints had a field goal against the New York Giants and an extra point against Denver blocked and returned for points in close losses, and another blocked field goal at Carolina set up a touchdown pass in yet another narrow defeat.
Kevin O'Dea, who joined the special teams' staff as an additional assistant during the season, remains on staff for now. He worked closely with the field goal team and rookie kicker Will Lutz, who finished the season with 13 straight made field goals and 20 straight made point-after kicks.
Dennis Allen, a secondary coach on the Saints' 2009 championship squad before serving as a defensive coordinator in Denver and head coach in Oakland, was in his first full season as defensive coordinator in New Orleans, and nearly all of his staff was inherited from previous seasons.
The Saints' defense improved during the season, particularly in terms of creating turnovers, and keeping opponent point totals down by forcing field goals, but still finished ranked 27th in yards allowed and last in yards passing allowed. New Orleans also struggled to consistently generate pressure on quarterbacks. The Saints' 30 sacks ranked 27th in the NFL.
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Posted on Fri, January 6, 2017
by By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer