Does Sean Payton still script first several offensive plays, and if so, could teams use that against us? (1 Viewer)

djshag

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I know Sean Payton has been known to script the first x number of plays to identify tendencies of the opposing defenses (I recall it being 14-15 plays but may be wrong).

With this tidbit in mind, I have always attributed slow offensive starts to this, and throughout the years, you can definitely see a moment where the offense seems to kick into a different gear, and typically starts producing at the level we've all come to expect-- to me, that signals that Payton has ascertained the tendencies he was looking for, and then starts calling the plays to take advantage of them-- simple.

This year, the offense, as has been pointed out frequently, has seemed a bit more sluggish. Obviously, no pre-season/reduced training camp, no OTA's, etc... definitely contributed significantly to this- Drew never got the reps with the receivers he's used to getting, and the coaches weren't in the same position to evaluate the chemistry/strengths either-- and the Saints are far more technical and timing based than pretty much other Offense, so it really does impact them more than most teams. There is every reason to believe that much of this will improve over the season, as they get that timing down (the last 2 games really seemed to show this is starting to occur, as reflected in Emmanuel Sanders last 2 performances).

My question, though, assuming Payton still scripts the first several plays, wouldn't it be possible for a good defensive coordinator to use those scripted plays against the Saints? In other words, create 2 basic game plans for the defense--- 1 designed to show "fake" tendencies to Payton to help guide the playcalling for the remainder of the game, and the other designed to take advantage of an offense trying to take advantage of those tendencies?

As a really simple example of what I'm talking about--- let's say that during the first several plays, the defense shows a tendency to be playing zone coverage. The pattern is established well enough that the Saints start calling plays that explicitly seem targeted at beating that zone coverage--- makes sense. Couldn't a defense then switch to man coverage, disguising it, pre-snap, as zone, to keep the ruse going?

Obviously, adjustments are a big part of coaching generally, and figuring out how the opposing team is going to call a game against you is always a chess match, but I'm wondering if being known for having scripted plays to start games over all these years could actually be allowing better defensive coordinators the opportunity to take advantage of Sean's tendencies, instead.

Thoughts?
 

Usmfan84

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I highly doubt SP is the only HC to do this. I would think every team has a scripted first 14 plays or so. You want the beginning of the game to be mistake free. Scripted plays are supposed to help your team avoid getting in a hole.
 

saintsmarchin

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-_- most offenses script the first drive.. and the one after halftime...

Our offense use to be more potent because most of brees throws happened soon as the defender turned his back to brees.. but cornerbacks and safeties started baiting this. Hence the INTs for his beyond 20 yards went up.
 

SAINT BIGAL

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Yea, pretty sure most (if not all) teams go into games with scripted plays to get started. The plays are probably based off film study and hopefully expose tendencies, personnel and coverages by the defense. Basically becomes the proverbial chess match going forward.
 

Domeination

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Payton is definitely still scripting the first 15 plays, and they are designed to take advantage of the defense's weaknesses and probe how it can be exploited later in the game. Production of those first 15 plays this season is way down compared to previous seasons (especially 2017 and 2018), but it has more to do with the loss of Michael Thomas and lack of execution than the play calls themselves. I don't think a defense can completely disguise what they do just to try to fool the offense. A defensive coordinator can always come up with wrinkles to attack a specific offense and try to disguise certain coverages, but the D can't morph to a different base that won't suit the players and start playing something they did not install during the preseason. Variations on a theme, but the the theme is already set.
 

Super44

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I know Sean Payton has been known to script the first x number of plays to identify tendencies of the opposing defenses (I recall it being 14-15 plays but may be wrong).

With this tidbit in mind, I have always attributed slow offensive starts to this, and throughout the years, you can definitely see a moment where the offense seems to kick into a different gear, and typically starts producing at the level we've all come to expect-- to me, that signals that Payton has ascertained the tendencies he was looking for, and then starts calling the plays to take advantage of them-- simple.

This year, the offense, as has been pointed out frequently, has seemed a bit more sluggish. Obviously, no pre-season/reduced training camp, no OTA's, etc... definitely contributed significantly to this- Drew never got the reps with the receivers he's used to getting, and the coaches weren't in the same position to evaluate the chemistry/strengths either-- and the Saints are far more technical and timing based than pretty much other Offense, so it really does impact them more than most teams. There is every reason to believe that much of this will improve over the season, as they get that timing down (the last 2 games really seemed to show this is starting to occur, as reflected in Emmanuel Sanders last 2 performances).

My question, though, assuming Payton still scripts the first several plays, wouldn't it be possible for a good defensive coordinator to use those scripted plays against the Saints? In other words, create 2 basic game plans for the defense--- 1 designed to show "fake" tendencies to Payton to help guide the playcalling for the remainder of the game, and the other designed to take advantage of an offense trying to take advantage of those tendencies?

As a really simple example of what I'm talking about--- let's say that during the first several plays, the defense shows a tendency to be playing zone coverage. The pattern is established well enough that the Saints start calling plays that explicitly seem targeted at beating that zone coverage--- makes sense. Couldn't a defense then switch to man coverage, disguising it, pre-snap, as zone, to keep the ruse going?

Obviously, adjustments are a big part of coaching generally, and figuring out how the opposing team is going to call a game against you is always a chess match, but I'm wondering if being known for having scripted plays to start games over all these years could actually be allowing better defensive coordinators the opportunity to take advantage of Sean's tendencies, instead.

Thoughts?
He still runs the scripted plays; yes!
 

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