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Sean Payton: New Orleans Saints' play-caller not set

So, who's calling plays for the New Orleans Saints this season?

That's a question the team is still pondering after Sean Payton's return from a season-long suspension. The Saints head coach told reporters Wednesday that he hasn't decided if coordinator Pete Carmichael will retain play-calling duties after holding down the fort in 2012.

"We haven't worked through all that yet," Payton said, per Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune. "But Pete's invaluable. His role will be significant."

Carmichael initially took over the play-calling two seasons ago, when Payton tore the medial collateral ligament and fractured the tibia in his left leg in October 2011. The Saints' offense tore it up with Carmichael at the controls, and Payton allowed his aide to stick with the job through the end of the 2011 campaign.

Last season, with Payton watching from home, Carmichael's offense put up 28.8 points per game, third best in the NFL. Carmichael turned down head-coaching interviews this offseason to stay in New Orleans, but we expect Payton to dig in deep on both sides of the ball.

Either way, Saints fans can't go wrong here: Carmichael has grown into a skilled play-caller and Payton is already among the game's best. Bottom line: This isn't Dallas.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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