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Friday, January 7, 2011

Football Defence: Attacking Tom Brady's New England Patriots

How do you attack one of the best quarterbacks in the league with minimal damage? How do you stop one of the league's best offences?
It seems, if you have been following the NFL, that a lot of teams have tried to do so only to be taken advantage by the masterful Brady as he coolly picks apart your defensive scheme. But given the task,for fun, how would you go after the New-England Patriots?

Certainly a hard assignment for any defensive co-ordinator on this planet! But to defend the Patriots the biggest key is to understand the Patriots. Understand that they will be prepared, and that their film crew will have in place all of your defensive tendencies. They will study film, and read scouting reports on your defensive tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. They will know who your best defenders are and what blitz's you like to bring, in key situations.

Let's face it we are creatures of habit and when we do something well we tend to do it a lot.

The difference between the great and mediocre teams is that a great team does good things well consistently all of the time. They seldom veer away from their proven package as they have been successful with it. They do it and do it well! This is the first key on defending the New England Patriots. They know that you do it well and where it comes from, and they also know how to take advantage of it by knowing your defensive scheme and players as well as you do. That's how they defeat you, by taking advantage of your strengths. So taking this into consideration you need to:

1. Prepare a game plan unlike you have run all season, something that they do not have on film and had time to break down. Come with a different look and scheme!

Sounds silly doesn't it?

Consider this formula: Time and space = success. If you give, Tom Brady both of these elements, time and space, chances are he will move the football down field. If you attempt to take away his time by blitzing he will pick you apart by taking advantage of the space that you vacate when you blitz and put the ball underneath into the hands of sure handed Wes Welker who runs underneath as well as anybody in the league, or catch you in a man lock situation and hit a receiver downfield for a score. He reads incredibly well so what do you do?
Consider the formula once again: Brady needs both time and space to be successful. Teams have unsuccessfully tried in vain to take away his time by blitzing only to be burned by the short passing "quick's" or "hot routes". So if the time factor is not an option then the only thing left to consider as part of the game plan is to:

2. Take away his space!

Take advantage of what his tendency is and that is he likes to remain in the pocket and throw the football downfield. So element two of the game plan would be to contain him in the pocket taking away his space, maintain good downfield coverage by not blitzing play after play, and collapse the pocket from the outside in thus squeezing in his space and forcing the play. So with this in mind it brings us to the third element:

3. Take away the big play.

By maintaining good downfield coverage and squeezing the pocket, force him into throwing short into coverage or even better hand the ball off. Taking the ball out of Brady's hands gives you a better chance to win!
Now as the game plan unfolds it brings us to the forth element:

4. Be disciplined in your assignment.

In other words do your job, don't overplay your assignment and try to do too much, keep your game simple and be where you're supposed to be, no blown assignments! Make it difficult for Brady downfield and test his discipline and patience. And finally:

5. Be Patient!

Let them grind out the yards, come hard and make good football plays that possibly create a turn-over. Be patient and force them into being impatient and make a mistake that you can take advantage of.

All in all, it is a difficult assignment to game plan for the New England Patriots. However, one needs to have a game plan in place in order to compete no matter what level you coach at!


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