Saints fire five assistants in coaching shakeup

After missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, the New Orleans Saints are shaking up their coaching staff — though all of the assistants from the top-ranked offense will be retained.

Defensive line coach Bill Johnson, assistant special teams coach Stan Kwan, special teams coordinator Greg McMahon, assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt and defensive assistant/linebackers James Willis were all fired Friday.

“I would like to thank all of these coaches for the work they have done for this club,” head coach Sean Payton said in a statement. “Specifically, Bill, Greg and Joe played a key role on teams that helped create a very special time in franchise history. They played an instrumental role in the development of countless players both on and off the field. I appreciate the contributions that these men have made to this team and wish them continued success.”

Vitt also served as interim head coach in 2012, the year Payton was suspended as part of the Bountygate scandal.

“We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that each of these coaches have given to the New Orleans Saints,” said general manager Mickey Loomis. “With Greg and Joe joining Sean’s staff at the start in 2006 and Bill arriving in 2009, the three of them played an integral role in establishing a winning culture and identity within our team. We wish them well in their future endeavors.”

The Saints have gone 7-9 each of the past three seasons despite having the first- or second-ranked offense each year.

Despite speculation about his own future in New Orleans, Payton vowed earlier this week that he plans to be around for the duration of his contract, which runs through 2020.

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Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis


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