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Football Concepts

Sean Payton: Fitting his offense to his players since 2006

Is Matt Nagy taking notes on how Payton coaxed a competent start out of a “Tebow” type of QB?

The whole notion of a QB whisperer is a common fad. If you are near a either a great QB or coach, who was really doing the work? There are two opposing schools of thought on this one. Adam Gase rode Peyton Manning’s coat tails in Denver in the early 2010’s, and some how wormed that into TWO Head Coaching gigs, but we’re pretty sure that was Peyton Manning on that one. Andy Reid might be the closest to creating offense out of anything, but he moved some decent Eagles offenses into excellent territory, so he has always had a knack. Lots of times though, a highly regarded coach or player moves away from their partner in crime to a new regime with less playing or coaching talent, and sort of becomes exposed. Coach Nagy, you now have the floor…..

The Morphing West Coast

As we know, the traditional West Coast Offense mixes in high percentage horizontal passes that act as sort of an extended run game. You see that with how they deploy Kamara and some of their shorter quick receivers. The run and pass though are supposed to look the same, and Sean McVay of the Rams does a fantastic job with that. So, Payton is West Coast but MIXES in downfield throws a ton. So he’s like half and half. If you have Graham and Colston the whole 2010’s, you would have done that too. Basically his M.O. is that he wants to use the whole field and literally does, but also will use all five skill guys in any route at any time. Tailback running a seam down the middle out of the backfield? Big TE running a deep cross? Sure, why not!?

***Incoming rambling tangent about receiving running backs and Reggie Bush. Feel free to skip…..or don’t!

Payton is a West Coast guy, why do you think a guy like Kamara has flourished, besides the fact he was a top 50 recruit that transferred FROM Alabama and is insanely talented. West Coast offenses like those backs in space since the days of Roger Craig…..oh, and don’t forget Reggie Bush. Just got done watching ESPN 30for30 “Trojan Wars” for like the third time. As a nuclear weapon in college, why wasn’t Reggie Bush better in the NFL? Didn’t even crack a Pro Bowl. Had solid numbers, and I get that he couldn’t run between the tackles….but damn. #Sad!

“BuT dReW bReEs Is A sYsTeM qUaRtErBaCk!!”

Dude. If he is a “system QB”, he runs that son of a bitch with devastating precision. What is a system QB anyway? (JOHN!) Tom Brady has been under Weis, McDaniels, Billy O’Brien….that’s a lotta systems. IMO it’s more of the college level QB’s that make one read in the RPO game type of stuff. It is unfair to a small extent that guys that play under elite NFL offensive minds get pegged that, but they are the ones making all of the full field progressions. I think Jared Goff would like trash outside of McVay’s outside zone play action offense, but I bet a bunch of other QB’s would look better in it.

Payton’s system is setup and is fully adaptable based on his players, but you or I couldn’t run it the way Brees does. (Apparently, Jameis Winston can’t either, because the second coming of Kordell “Slash” Stewart plays in front of him.) You saw how Payton adapted when Brees’ arm fell off because he is, you read it correctly, 41. Nothing does down the seams like it did even 5 plus years ago, but apparently Bears DC Chuck Pagano will sit in a soft zone the whole time while Kamara feasts underneath. S.M.G.D.H.

Who the Heck is Taysom Hill?

I faintly recall Taysom Hill at BYU earlier in the mid decade. He’s been in the league for a couple years, but with that Mormon mission he broaching 25 years old coming into the League. Up till this past Sunday, Hill had thrown 13 total NFL passes which is not a big book to go on, because the Saints have used him primarily as a QB runner and a receiver (he caught 19 balls last year, which is solid for part time work.)

Hey, guess what he runs when he is at QB!?

However, when you see that guy line up at QB 90%, it’s QB power. Holy shit, is it ever. He’s usually in empty, and Payton will have those 5 skill guys in a myriad of spots as window dressing for…..get this…QB power. Like some 2010’s Cam Newton at Auburn shit.  If you are curious how Power works, it’s literally one of the most common plays in football. It’s very frequent in high school, used a good handful of times in college, and a little less, but still there a couple times a game in the NFL.

This is Power. If you see a guard pull, it’s power, counter, or trap.
Here I am breaking down yet another fancy way of running a basic concept.

That Sean Payton is Tricky

Most people thought with Payton’s surprise announcement that he would treat Hill like the Bill’s do with Josh Allen and the Cards do with Kyler Murray, and blatantly use them as a running threat. They did not. The team that uses play action the third LEAST in the NFL this season actually used it the most per snap on Sunday. There were the signature downfield intermediate 10-20 yard shots that have become almost Hallmarks of Payton’s tenure. Check out this package below, it’s only a 1:30, and look how many dang play actions are in there. I bet that threw the Falcons DC (Do they even HAVE a DC!? Lol…..jokes) for a massive loop.

The Chess Match

Hill had a surprisingly good game, but this isn’t the be all end all for him. There were some obvious warts like some underthrown deep balls, a fumble, taking a bad sack. One game is plenty of evidence to have on a guy that has been a gadget player, and the next DC, who also happens to be VIC freaking FANGIO, is gonna have his disguised zone coverages going full tilt. Hell, I’d lean towards those. You don’t want an athlete like Hill running amuck while all the DB’s backs are turned playing man. Payton probably thinks Fangio, a known zone user, will go strong with that, so what plays can Payton use that work well against zone, but will create easy reads for Hill…..But maybe….that’s what Payton WANTS Fangio to think! Hahahahaaaa! (And the chess match continues…..)

“So, my big tip for you young man, is too run really complicated plays, and just assume all your high school kids instantly know what you do.” Truer words we’re never spoken….. BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T!

Let’s wrap it up

Look, I used Hill and Payton as a Metaphor for Trubisky and Nagy. Similar QB’s with same limitations, except one coach adapts, and the other needs everyone to FIT THE SCHEME. Dude. The Saints are constantly rotating personnel. They go empty, they have a giant block TE (89), a FB here and there. However, when they do so, it works fluidly. One of the biggest complaints for Bears fans is that the Bears switch personnel too often. Bears fans are really griping that it’s done at the wrong time, not necessarily that its happening in general, and they just don’t realize it, and it’s all the same in the end. The Bears have a big game with ole Maserati Mitch at the helm on Sunday night. Will Nagy game plan around his QB!? Will the Bears try to run on a porous Packers run defense!? Find out next week on…..Run! My! Damn! SYSTEM! (before I get fired).

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