Back in November, a Sports Illustrated article explained how Sean Payton (and Sean McVay) go about stealing offensive concepts from around the league:
With a full off-season to study opposing offenses, I put together a list of 5 concepts that I would love for the Saints to steal and use in 2019.
Fake Weakside Option Route
A beautiful compliment to any teams weak side option route out of the backfield, a play the Saints rely heavily on, is this “up” progression that I’ve seen a few teams use.
You create the 1v1 with your running back against their weak side linebacker by formation, trips, and then you work the running back out of the backfield on a pass route. The normal concept has 3 options: Slant, Out, Sit. All of them are underneath options.
Every team knows the Saints are going to run this a few times per game so you either play Cover 2 and squat the corner in the flat to semi-bracket Alvin Kamara or, if you’re playing man coverage, you tell your linebacker to sit hard on the running backs inside shoulder and force the out breaking route to occur.
Once the linebacker sits too hard on that inside shoulder like Anthony Barr does to Todd Gurley in the clip above, you stutter and go over his head.
I would be hurt if the Saints don’t run this in 2019. It fits perfectly into their offense.
The Pats Play Action to the Tight End
With the Saints addition of Jared Cook, this concept could make its way to New Orleans for next season. At this point in Tom Brady’s career, the only times the Patriots throw from under center is on play action concepts. It’s the same with Drew Brees.
Rob Gronkowski has caught so many balls from this concept alone. It’s so easy. The play action sucks the linebackers up and then Brady just drops the ball over their heads. In the above example, Brady waits until Gronk clears the backers wide but there are numerous examples of Brady firing that same route into different windows between the backers.
Jared Cook has a similar body type to Gronk and he’ll be able to use his size to shield off defenders if the defense plays man coverage on him. With Brees’ accuracy this could be stealing.
It seems like a lot of teams are running this play these days but you see it a lot from McVay and Shanahan because it fits their outside/wide zone + play action scheme to a tee. Get the defense flowing hard horizontally and then make it look like a regular play action play where you get some sort of post/corner/crosser combination before leaking the tight end out back to the side of the run
The Saints aren’t a super outside zone team so I don’t know how much this fits in with what they already do. Kamara will run the outside zone a little bit, his long touchdown run against the Rams in 2017 was on outside zone, but it’s not something the Saints major in like the Rams or 49ers.
Post Double Crosser
One of the concepts that stood out to me when watching Josh Allen’s first year in the NFL was how often this concept killed teams.
Whether it was on play action or just a regular dropback, this concept gave fits to 1 high defenses. You can see in the clip above that the safety attacks the first crossing route, not expecting a post to run by his head. The route that actually gets targeted is open because the corner to the bottom of the screen is trying to pass off his route to the corner on top of the screen but the corner on top is occupied by the post. Just dirty.
First, it works because the Saints have a receiver playing running back and secondly, I’d like to see more downfield routes by Kamara next year. You an see in the clip how devastating the concept could be. The corner has to play the post route, the flat defender has to match the flat route (just in case it becomes a wheel) and then the strong curl player is thinking he’ll have help with a vertical release by the running back so he comes down on the backside drag. Wide open RB.
The Saints offense has always been ahead of the curb but it would be nice to see some of these things incorporated into the 2019 offense. Relatively simple progressions off their regular stuff or just easy ways to get guys open.