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Simms and Banks on XLIV

Two former NY Giants greats give their take on the Saints upset of the Colts.  


This was a well played game of “strategy” won by “one of the best play callers in the business” per Carl Banks.  The key appears to have been in “holding Peyton Manning and the Colts to field goals” which kept them in the game until the 4th quarter.  Banks felt the onside kick was a “gutsy call” but “clearly a momentum changer.” 

But the really insightful comments came from #11 who did a great job calling the game.  Francesca posed the question on perhaps Payton learned a ton from working under Parcells in Dallas on being aggressive.  Last week Toomer commented on how ill prepared the Gmen were for the 2000 Super Bowl and Tiki criticized Fassel and Payton for poor 2nd half adjustments.   Payton’s game planning and adjustment were clearly the opposite of the prevent Fassel style offense.  Simms spoke of how “Parcells was a big time gambler in playoff games” giving the example of the fake punt call against the 49ers in the 1990 playoffs.   Payton’s mentality and approach is that win or lose you “can’t be afraid to go down in flames.”  Brian Burke on the Fifth Down yesterday gives some statistics on whether Payton’s decisions were reckless or well calculated.  The bottom line is that the “onside kicks are surprisingly successful when they are not expected.   Since 2000, slightly over 60% of unexpected onside kicks have been recovered by the kicking team.”  Payton was so decisive on the issue that heading into the 2nd half he approached the officials to discuss to ensure he had everything in order on the rules, formation etc.  He goes on to state “we felt real good, to the point where we actually talked about it with the officials,” Payton said. “They said, ‘If you do it, what’s it going to look like?’ I said, ‘It’s not if, we’re gonna.”

Simms also discusses Payton’s offensive schemes and how Payton “designs his offense to destroy zone defenses.”  So much that Simms was “surprised that they (the Colts) didn’t play more man to man.”  The Colts all season “haven’t seen a quarterback that can lead the defense to one side of the field” and throw to another area.  The Saints excel in this area given Brees is “very good at misdirection plays.”  In addition, “the 2nd half adjustments by Saints was a big difference” especially when they went to Shockey after the 1st and goal run by Thomas.  Payton also got Brees in high rhythm. 

The interception by Porter was a “play that in 1 season Manning and Harrison had an 87% success rate” and per Simms the Saints knew the play well.  Simms puts some blame on Wayne for poor body position and allowing Porter to make the interception.  In general, he believes that “the 2 weeks helps defenses” and prepares “the core of the defense as there weren’t any big plays down the middle of the field.”

Since the end of the NY Giant season there have been many comments about players “running through a wall for their coaches” and coaches getting the most out of their players.  All week leading up to game Simms observed how Payton had the Saints “compete in full pads and absolutely going after it.”  The Saints “feed off the aggressiveness of their coach” and “they play emotional.” 

Motown here, Payton certainly learned from his tutelage under Parcels but how much can he credit the bad experience he went through with Fassel in 2000?  Clearly, two areas stand out in his coaching feat: preparation leading up to the game and 2nd half adjustment.  Didn’t we hear how Coughlin was too tough on the players prior to 2006-2007 requiring them to play in full pads late in the season?   Apparently, Payton’s players are feeding off of it.

Russ made an interesting point to ponder yesterday on “a coaching revolution?  Will Payton’s success inspire NFL coaches to abandon their conservative tendencies and play more aggressively?”  Apparently the players for Payton “feed off the aggressiveness of their coach” and Brian Burke puts some statistics to back up his decisions.  Either way, expect teams to expect the unexpected from Payton from now on.