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'a future star' in new receivers coach Kodi Burns


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Why the Saints see 'a future star' in new receivers coach Kodi Burns

LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
6-7 minutes

At the intersection of the time-honored way of doing things and the desire to be on the cutting edge was the New Orleans Saints’ decision to hire receivers coach Kodi Burns this offseason.

It was traditional word of mouth that initially put the Saints’ crosshairs on Burns, who’d spent the first seven years of his coaching career in the college ranks, most recently with Auburn and Tennessee. New head coach Dennis Allen enlisted his network of scouts and friends in the industry to whittle down his list of candidates.

“Dennis did as much research and explored as much as he could,” said offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, “and it just kept coming back to, ‘You gotta talk to (Burns).’”

There were plenty of conventional things to like about Burns: He is charismatic and he is knowledgeable and he is a clear communicator. Five-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry described him as “very smart, very detailed.” More than one of his peers on the Saints staff referred to him as “a future star” in the profession.

But Burns’ hiring, and the subsequent roster management at his position group, also represents a shift toward modernity for the Saints.

The Saints not only coveted Burns’ archetypal qualities, but the fresh perspective he can bring with him from the college game. They are entrusting one of the youngest position groups on the roster to a 33-year-old rookie NFL coach. And as this was happening, New Orleans joined the wave of NFL teams to invest more heavily in the receivers this offseason.

The dividing line between college- and pro-style offenses has gradually blurred in recent years, with NFL teams borrowing college concepts and adapting them to their own schemes. Receivers have been some of the main beneficiaries of this attitude shift, both in terms of production and in positional value.

Three years ago, the Saints made Michael Thomas the highest-paid receiver in NFL history. Now, Thomas doesn’t even crack the top-10 in average annual salary. This offseason alone, eight receivers signed deals that hand out more per year than Thomas’ record-setting 2019 extension.

The Saints were one of six teams to use a first-round pick on a receiver this season — their first time selecting a receiver in the first round since 2014 — when they traded up to select Ohio State’s Chris Olave 11th overall. They further added to the room by signing Landry to a one-year deal after the draft.

“I think the value of the player is changing,” Burns said. “You’ve seen what we’ve done in our room, and I think the value of the receiver position went up a little bit and that’s because people are starting to spread the ball out a little more and be sideline-to-sideline like a lot of people are in the college game.”

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The core principles of the Saints' offense have been in place for nearly two decades and likely aren’t heading for a drastic change, but with Burns on the staff the Saints see an opportunity for the offense to evolve in the post-Sean Payton era.

“Even when he was on his interview, he was talking about, ‘Here’s some things that we did on third down, or in the red zone,’ and you’re like, ‘Hey, that might be something that fits us,’” Carmichael said. “I think that you value hearing what his thoughts are.”

Burns said he was “shocked” when Allen reached out to speak about the open position on the Saints staff, and once the Saints offered the job he did not have to think about it too hard before accepting it.

He described himself as someone who likes a challenge, and while the Southeastern Conference gave him that on a weekly basis, he acknowledged the NFL is a different beast. The quality of the athletes, both those he’s coaching and those he’s coaching against, was a huge draw.

And, fittingly, he’s tasked with getting the most out of a group that has potential to be among the NFL’s best — if things go right.

Thomas has not been healthy for two years, but the last time he played a full season he was the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. Landry is coming off a down year of his own because of injury, but averaged better than 1,000 yards per year his first seven seasons. The early returns on Olave have been promising. Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harty (formerly Harris) slotting in some order as the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 receivers gives the Saints enviable depth.

That depth breeds competition, Burns said. Players know they are not going to find their way into the lineup if they don’t bring their best. And that’s where he comes in.

Part of why he was brought in was to help bring fresh ideas, but his main mission is to coach them up. It’s early in the process, but Carmichael has been pleased by what he’s seen so far, both with the way Burns has related to his players and with how hard he’s coached them.

“My job is to develop the player. I don’t care in what capacity,” Burns said. “I don’t care if you’re a Pro Bowler, I don’t care if you’re a Hall-of-Famer — all the great ones want to get better at something. … They all want to be coached. They all want to be great.”

 

i post this here because cody was pretty much dragged through the mud and i wanted him to get his due diligence. i have even had some serious doubts. this in a way should tell us sometimes we do not know all we think we do when it comes to sports. and for those that do not remember he was trashed along with gus or maybe just because gus hired him but look what our young man is doing now. this makes me super happy!

 

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Best of luck Kodi! Cheering for you always!!!

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I remember when we hired him and quite a few fans thought it was a bad hire. Now a few years later he’s coaching in the NFL

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11 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

I remember when we hired him and quite a few fans thought it was a bad hire. Now a few years later he’s coaching in the NFL

I was among those and I still am. 

Kodi should not have been hired at Auburn when he was. Potential aside, at that time he wasn't an SEC position coach and I believe that showed often through his time here. 

That being said, I've always been a Kodi fan and I hope he kills it in the league!

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1 hour ago, GunsmithAU said:

I was among those and I still am. 

Kodi should not have been hired at Auburn when he was. Potential aside, at that time he wasn't an SEC position coach and I believe that showed often through his time here. 

That being said, I've always been a Kodi fan and I hope he kills it in the league!

Even he wasn’t ready He still brought in the recruits. Which this current staff is struggling to do. Also it’s only so much Kodi could accomplish in an offense ran by Gus

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54 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

Even he wasn’t ready He still brought in the recruits. Which this current staff is struggling to do. Also it’s only so much Kodi could accomplish in an offense ran by Gus

A lot of blame does belong to Gus, but that doesn't change the fact he was wholly unqualified for the position.  

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28 minutes ago, GunsmithAU said:

A lot of blame does belong to Gus, but that doesn't change the fact he was wholly unqualified for the position.  

Looks like he’s more qualified than you think if he can make a jump to the NFL that fast

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2 hours ago, Sizzle said:

Even he wasn’t ready He still brought in the recruits. Which this current staff is struggling to do. Also it’s only so much Kodi could accomplish in an offense ran by Gus

That's true!

It makes me nauseous to think back on that old offensive scheme and still I think a lot of our issues bringing in top WR studs is lingering from the past.  When other programs utilize multiple WR's and develop them to 1st round draft picks in this conference, why can't we do the same?

Here's to better days ahead. WDE :cheers:

 

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Lol what a come up. Guess the need a real wr coach when he was here was off a wee bit👌🏿

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3 hours ago, Sizzle said:

Looks like he’s more qualified than you think if he can make a jump to the NFL that fast

You can't equate his current qualifications to then. That's a false equivalency and irrelevant to the discussion on his initial hiring. 

 

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54 minutes ago, GunsmithAU said:

You can't equate his current qualifications to then. That's a false equivalency and irrelevant to the discussion on his initial hiring. 

 

I would say in terms of what Gus needed to be done he was qualified. He played under him and had a grasp of what needed to be done. According to most reports the receiver route tree didn’t have much complexity. The biggest question for me was can he recruit and he answered those questions.

Took a quick look back and it does seem like he worked his way up. Salute Kodi on the major move.

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5 hours ago, Sizzle said:

Looks like he’s more qualified than you think if he can make a jump to the NFL that fast

Don't even go back and forth with this bro. If somebody want to think he went from a bad hire to NFL super star coach in a few years let them believe that....I try to tell people how insane it is to really think a wr dropping a ball is the fault of a coach......they won't listen though

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36 minutes ago, cole256 said:

Don't even go back and forth with this bro. If somebody want to think he went from a bad hire to NFL super star coach in a few years let them believe that....I try to tell people how insane it is to really think a wr dropping a ball is the fault of a coach......they won't listen though

Yep I’ve been saying the same thing. I just don’t understand how some fans can blame a coach for dropped balls. It’s like Saban said “it’s only so much you can do as a coach, the players is who actually go out and wins the games”

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23 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

Yep I’ve been saying the same thing. I just don’t understand how some fans can blame a coach for dropped balls. It’s like Saban said “it’s only so much you can do as a coach, the players is who actually go out and wins the games”

Unfortunately,  it don't work that way . If it did, no coach would ever get fired.

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8 hours ago, Sizzle said:

Even he wasn’t ready He still brought in the recruits. Which this current staff is struggling to do. Also it’s only so much Kodi could accomplish in an offense ran by Gus

This. A Gus offense just isn't gonna make a WR coach look good, even when it's clicking. Just HS route trees. I also think that Gus was super controlling, so a lot of the busts we had at WR were likely scouted by him. Super pumped for Kodi and hope he kills it. NO is a well run org and has talent at WR. He'll do very well

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1 hour ago, cole256 said:

Don't even go back and forth with this bro. If somebody want to think he went from a bad hire to NFL super star coach in a few years let them believe that....I try to tell people how insane it is to really think a wr dropping a ball is the fault of a coach......they won't listen though

I agree that at the end of the day players gotta execute, but isn't it on coaches to get guys that execute. Going on that premise should the QB coach be blamed when an INT occurs? Or should RB coach be blamed when RB coughs it up? Should WR coach not have to scout guys with good hands, not catching ball with body which can lead to drops, etc. Just doesn't seem like how the coaching world works 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, au302 said:

I agree that at the end of the day players gotta execute, but isn't it on coaches to get guys that execute. Going on that premise should the QB coach be blamed when an INT occurs? Or should RB coach be blamed when RB coughs it up? Should WR coach not have to scout guys with good hands, not catching ball with body which can lead to drops, etc. Just doesn't seem like how the coaching world works 

There's so much that goes into playing wr, but as far as catching a ball? You either can or you can't. You never hear a story about a guy couldn't catch but he met this coach that made his hands get so much better. You never heard tell of another coach leaving and when he did all the wr 's couldn't catch the same. 

As far as your examples, no a coach shouldn't be blamed if a guy can't throw or a hb fumbles, he should be blamed if he keeps playing the guy. 

Oh and the not catching with the body isn't a thing for real. Sometimes your QB prefer you use your body. The only thing people ask is keep practicing everyday. Just keep doing a bunch of repetitions and get timing down with your QB. 

Edited by cole256
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It may not have seemed like a good hire at the moment to some. But given the simplicity of the offense and the roster at the time, could a bona fide expert Xs and Os and technique coach really have made a big impact? What we needed was talent at a position. All Kodi had to do, was relate, recruit, and convince players to buy in. And he delivered in big way. The risk was not that big considering the circumstances. No one could ever question his leadership. Switching from QB to WR. That was one helluva of an example of sacrifice for the good of the team. And a sign of future good karma. Like catching Auburn's first TD pass ever in a National Championship game. And later moving into coaching.......

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully he learns a real route tree and how the big boys do it. Glad he got away from Gusmeister. Best of luck

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A lot of defending Kodi by blaming Gus here. About the only thing the WR group did under Kodi was block well. Even with the simplistic route tree and O, we never heard of a WR having polished fundamentals or technique. Things taught by and expected of the coach. 

Potential =/= being qualified. 

Kodi recruited his ass off. No one disputes that. 

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9 hours ago, NWALA Tiger said:

Unfortunately,  it don't work that way . If it did, no coach would ever get fired.

That’s exactly how it works. Saban didn’t build his dynasty on a bunch of 3 stars. Having the best talent every year leads to a lot of wins. Coaches get fired because they couldn’t get enough big time guys. X’s and O’s is important but talent will always be the #1 thing.

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32 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

That’s exactly how it works. Saban didn’t build his dynasty on a bunch of 3 stars. Having the best talent every year leads to a lot of wins. Coaches get fired because they couldn’t get enough big time guys. X’s and O’s is important but talent will always be the #1 thing.

My point was that players don't get fired. Coaches do

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Just now, NWALA Tiger said:

My point was that players don't get fired. Coaches do

Whether it's lack of recruiting or Wide receivers dropping passes, it all comes back and falls at the feet of coaches

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NFL hired him because he's an excellent recruiter......😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

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Isn't it funny how the wr's play better when you have a good QB? 

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