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'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

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Old 11-02-2018, 08:49 AM   #1
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:50 AM   #2
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

BY NICK UNDERHILL | nunderhill@theadvocate.com Nov 2, 2018 - 12:24 am

Teddy Bridgewater looks forward to Wednesday.

If everything goes right for the Saints, the backup quarterback won’t ever get a chance to execute any of the things laid out in the game plan for the next upcoming Sunday, but he still gets excited to thumb through whatever Sean Payton and the rest New Orleans coaches have laid out for that week’s opponent.

“You never know what to expect,” Bridgewater said. “It just shows why this offense has had so much success over the years. Coach does a great job of each week of finding different ways for us to win, whether it’s having two quarterbacks on the field or whatever it takes. You get a glimpse of the game plan, and it’s like, man, these guys really spend time and find unique ways to help this team win.”

Unique, definitely. Perhaps even unprecedented at times. The latter was indeed the case when the Saints decided to use a play that put three quarterbacks on the field against the Minnesota Vikings last week. There is a genuine possibility it was the first time that has ever happened in the NFL.

So, understandably, seeing the personnel grouping, which was called “Bridgewater 11,” take the field was staggering. It was the same feeling the players had when they first heard about the play last Wednesday. But Payton laid it all out, as he always does, and after the initial shock, it was easy to see his vision.

“Even if you might think it is crazy he’s detailed it in a way that I see it, I see how it could work, and he’ll show you on film, and he’s lining guys up, and we’re going to do this," offensive tackle Terron Armstead said. "That play could have worked, it didn’t, but it easily could have worked. We saw his vision with it. He’s an offensive genius.”

No, the play didn’t work. Offensive weapon Taysom Hill, who is listed as a quarterback, took the snap and was stopped trying to run up the middle while quarterbacks Drew Brees and Bridgewater split out wide as receivers.

Payton wanted the defense to think it had to defend against the double pass or a quick screen to one of the quarterbacks. The logic was sound.

While the play went off as it was intended, seeing three quarterbacks on the field makes the imagination wonder about possibilities. Brees said this week that he “hopes” to catch a pass at some point, though that could come in any number of situations when both he and Hill are on the field, which is often. As for Bridgewater, it sounds like he thinks the ball should figure out a way to find its way to him now and then.

“I got the best hands in the NFL,” he said.

It sounds like a joke, and it was, but there was also confidence behind Bridgewater's proclimation. “He really thinks he has the best hands on the team,” one of his teammates said.

New Orleans has set the standard for offense for the last dozen or so years, probably right from the very moment Brees and Payton landed in New Orleans together back in 2006. The offense still has its bread-and-butter plays and concepts it has used since the beginning of that era, but new things are introduced all the time.

But outside of all the packages with Hill, a lot of the new things introduced to the offense are what the people involved refer to as “wrinkles.". The goal is to make sure nothing ever feels too drastically different from the other things the offense does.

“I’m intrigued, you know, from week to week,” Brees said. “There are always some wrinkles in there that I get the call sheet, you know, and look at it prior to meetings and everything. It’s like, I can’t wait to ask him about this. Or maybe we even saw it on film or something like that and then all of the sudden we just create our own little variation to it.”

That’s the key for Payton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi. Everything is supposed to feel like a small tweak or variation to something that already exists, that way the language remains similiar, and it is easy to grasp.

It also helps the players understand why the Saints are doing something new when the coaches present it to them.

“A lot of times you have looks, you have video looks where you can show them, ‘See, take a peek at this,’” Payton said. “And you show them a picture, picture if we do (that). And so we try not to come up with a lot of new inventions. Might be formation, might be personnel grouping, but I think there’s a balance there of things that they know well.

“None of us want to be at a karaoke bar at 1 a.m. and having to sing the words to a song we’re clueless about.”

Those wrinkles and small differences add up over the years, making the playbook thicker than when it started. Even though some of the plays are created specifically for certain opponents, and are often named after those opponents, sometimes they work so well that they end up becoming permanent fixtures.

All these tweaks and wrinkles are part of the reason the Saints are often one of the teams that introduce new ideas to the rest of the league.

“I think we like to feel like over the last 13 years that we’ve kind of been at the forefront of the evolution of offensive football,” Brees said.

The Saints have six or seven teams they often study, one of which is this week's opponent, the Los Angeles Rams. It’s hard not to look at head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff and not think of Payton and Brees.

Only time will tell if they reach similar heights and stick together long enough to become one of the league's signature duos, but it looks like Goff and McVay could be at the beginning stages of one of those unique, mutually beneficial marriages between quarterback and coach that only come along so often.

McVay’s offense might very well be the one that leads the next evolution of offense. In his first year at the helm in Los Angeles, he revitalized Goff’s career trajectory after many questioned if he could be a viable NFL quarterback. In his second season, he has Goff on pace to pass for 4,800 yards.

But McVay also studies what Payton is doing, and says he takes things from the Saints all the time. Not only has he lifted an offensive concept or two, but he also has learned some things from the way Payton calls plays.

“I appreciate the aggressive nature that coach Payton comes after people,” McVay said. “You’re even looking at the first drive against Baltimore, that is a 20-play drive, a couple fourth-down conversions. I think that mindset of never being afraid to fail and always attacking success is something that we try to do here, and I have a lot of respect for that approach.”

That same mentality might lead a coach to put three quarterbacks on the field for the same play even though it has probably never been done before. Those are the things that make his players excited to pick up the plan each Wednesday and see what the coaching staff cooked up for that week’s opponent.

“Sean is an offensive genius,” Armstead said. “Seriously, his mind is different. It works in ways a lot of others don’t. Every week he’s got something that he’s probably had a daydream about or that he was just thinking about at four in the morning.”

The good thing is if whatever Payton sees if it’s worthy of the plan, he’ll make sure his players see his vision.

“Your best?!? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home (with) the prom queen.” - Sean Connery in The Rock
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:56 AM   #3
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

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Old 11-02-2018, 10:20 AM   #4
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

I’ll say Sean Paytons play calling this season has been some of the best in his Saints career.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:28 AM   #5
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

Almost like the Juicy Fruit days..
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

"McVay’s offense might very well be the one that leads the next evolution of offense. In his first year at the helm in Los Angeles, he revitalized Goff’s career trajectory after many questioned if he could be a viable NFL quarterback. In his second season, he has Goff on pace to pass for 4,800 yards".

The "other" Sean is quite the innovator as well.
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

Originally Posted by jeanpierre View Post
[B][I]BY NICK UNDERHILL | nunderhill@theadvocate.com
Unique, definitely. Perhaps even unprecedented at times. The latter was indeed the case when the Saints decided to use a play that put three quarterbacks on the field against the Minnesota Vikings last week. There is a genuine possibility it was the first time that has ever happened in the NFL.
Genius? Really?

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Old 11-02-2018, 01:11 PM   #8
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

Don't eat the cheese. That was too funny with Payton putting out the mouse traps!

Payton and Bill Walsh have been the most innovative minds in the history of the NFL. Belichic runs a better system and might be a better head coach because he fields both a good offense and defense but he's not nearly the strategist that Sean Payton is.
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:43 PM   #9
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

vintage Payton this year. Biggest stones since the fat Payton.

Still think Pete is a better play caller
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: 'His mind is different': Why Saints anticipate seeing weekly wrinkles, game plan Sean Payton comes up with

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Don't eat the cheese. That was too funny with Payton putting out the mouse traps!

Payton and Bill Walsh have been the most innovative minds in the history of the NFL. Belichic runs a better system and might be a better head coach because he fields both a good offense and defense but he's not nearly the strategist that Sean Payton is.
Put Belichek and the Patriots in a division that has some competition and lets see how they do!

The Patriots are the AFC East version of the 49ers when the Saints, Rams and failcowns were in the NFC West division together; everybody and their brother knew that the 49ers were going to win the division before the schedule even came out.
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