Payton's Place

Last season Head Coach Jim Fassel handed Sean Payton the play calling duties. In the wake of poor offensive production for the final part of the 2002 season, he took them back. Does offensive coordinator Sean Payton have a future with Big Blue?

Does offensive coordinator Sean Payton have a future with the Giants? Maybe... he could return to his original role in preparing the offense and allowing head coach Jim Fassel to call the plays, just as he did from November throughout the remainder of the season.

During the 2001 season, when head coach Jim Fassels' mother passed away, he was distracted, and handed playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Sean Payton. Clearly, this was an increase in Payton's responsibilities.

The offensive production had been horrific in the early part of this season. Ironically Payton was dealing with the death of his mother in the early part of this season.

Following the first meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles, Fassel took the play calling duties back from Payton, and the Giants offensive production took off.

Fassel focused on fewer plays and more repetition of those plays, giving the players more confidence in their ability to execute a more simplied offense. He also elimiated much of the alignment motion prior to the snap, which Payton introduced to create defensive confusion and mismatches.

In his post season press conference, the media asked Fassel if he expected Payton to be back in 2003.

Fassel said he was going to sit down and talk with Payton and see what he has to say, as he does all of the coaches at the end of the season.

He fell short of giving Payton a vote of confidence by saying "There is no question in my mind what I did [in taking back the play calling] I had to do and it was the right thing. Now, we got through the season and it helped us...our numbers were better, our winning percentage was better. Now I will look at how we move forward from here."

He acknowledged that he took Payton's primary responsibility away but also acknowledged that he had originally handed the chores off to him in 2001.

While it's possible that Payton will remain with the Giants by retaining his original limited duties, it seems unlikely. In the NFL, it's rare that one takes fewer job responsibilities and stays with the same club.

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