The full force of the bounty-related suspensions kicked in for the Saints on Monday, with GM Mickey Loomis, interim coach Joe Vitt and DE Will Smith beginning their forced hiatus as New Orleans started preparations for Sunday's regular season opener against Washington.
Loomis will be gone for eight weeks. Vitt will sit out six weeks. Smith is suspended for four games, although he is seeking a temporary injunction in federal court. None of them are allowed any contact with coach Sean Payton, who is banished for the entire season.
Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer spent his first full day as the interim for the interim until Vitt returns.
“I'm following the formula so anytime you have a plan, you have a good sense that things are going to go well,” Kromer said. “We have a good plan here. I'm following the plan and the team is with us.”
Kromer said he spent just as much time with the offensive line as he normally would despite his new duties. He added that offensive assistant Frank Smith would fill in the gaps when necessary.
Offensive tackle Zach Strief said he noticed no difference in the amount of time Kromer spent with the line in Monday's practice than in previous workouts. The adjustment will come on Sundays with Kromer as acting head coach, but Strief played down that difference, too.
“Guys are holding each other accountable, so he doesn't need to be standing on the 50 making sure everyone's doing the right thing,” Strief said. “They give us enough leeway to police ourselves and trust that we are going to get guys in the right place. I don't think it's going to be a huge change.”
Vitt and Loomis spoke to the team Sunday night for the last time until their suspensions end. As he did when he was announced as the interim for Vitt, Kromer insisted strongly that nothing would change in their absence.
“It is going to be a difficult situation as we miss them but as Sean (Payton) said, we do our job,” Kromer said. Come back, do your job. Wake up in the morning, do your job. That is what we echoed in the team meeting this morning. As a group, we will get this thing done. There are no setbacks. As you look at the practice we had today, we are just as today as we were when those guys were here and when Sean was here.”
Toon likely headed for surgery: Rookie fourth-round draft pick WR Nick Toon caught two passes in his first preseason action last Thursday against Tennessee, but the Saints still put him on injure reserve Friday due to a lingering left foot injury.
A problem with the same foot forced Toon to have surgery last year that prevented him from participating in Wisconsin's spring practice. He also missed a game during the season and was unable to play in the Senior Bowl this past January.
Kromer said Monday Toon was not healthy enough to help the team. His exchange with reporters was a little testy on the issue.
Question: Did he suffer a worse injury during the game?
Kromer: No. Same thing. He's just hurt.
Q: He's not healthy enough.
Q: Will he need any surgery?
K: He probably will.
Captains selected: The Saints voted on team captains Sunday night. The offensive captains are QB Drew Brees and Strief. The defensive captains are safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. The specials teams captain is Courtney Roby.
Follow Saints reporter Guerry Smith on twitter@CBSSportsNFLNO