Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Creating a Winning Offense
ESPN The Magazine has a rather lengthy article, tracing the New Orleans Saints offensive success through Drew Brees. They take a number of pages and give an example play for each of their offensive weapons and it is a good read, but it boils down to one thing that could be said in a simple sentence.
Deceive the other team just enough to get a player out of position and you will create openings for positive plays. This concept is simple and can be used at all levels of competition, but really becomes valuable when the teams competing are equal.
In little league, high school and college, there are great disparities between talent levels and one team can simply push another team around. This is why a team like Navy (with its triple-option attack can compete with Ohio State and beat Notre Dame) even though their talent is not at the same level. Deception makes the defense have to defend more area of the field, exposing holes if not perfectly sound on defense.
This is not the case, philosophically, at the NFL level because every team has the same salary cap to manage their team under. This is where talent evaluation and management come into play, but especially just a little bit of deception to get an advantage.
Coach Sean Payton is designing the mismatches and misdirection, while Drew Brees is executing the decision-making to perfection so far this season.
Faking the other team out is not new or novel, but some teams and coordinators do it much better than others.