Most quarterbacks dream of playing for coaches like Sean Payton, and every coach dreams of coaching a quarterback like Drew Brees. The pair are in their 13th season together and, with one Super Bowl victory already in hand, the 2018 edition of the New Orleans Saints may be their best yet.
New Orleans moved to 9-1 with a 48-7 drubbing of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon — the worst loss a defending Super Bowl champion has ever endured, and the Saints’ ninth straight win overall, a streak that includes a win over the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams.
The 48-7 win wasn’t born on Sunday, of course, and NBC’s Peter King got to go inside the final night of preparation for the NFL’s tightest head coach-quarterback game-planning duo. Like many teams, the night before the game is when the Payton and Brees pair down what plays they feel good about for the following day and which ones they don’t. Each half of the duo has veto power over plays they don’t like.
The following passage will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever participated in an offensive game-planning meeting with a starting quarterback, only in this instance the quarterback has thrown for more yards than any player in the history of professional football:
By 9:55, Brees and his coaches sit back in LaSalle, and now it’s Brees’ turn to weigh in on the game plan. Payton has approximately 18 sections of the game plan: play-action, screens, quarterback-movement plays, empty-backfield, two-minute, and more. All the men in the room have a copy of the play sheet. Payton asks Brees, for instance, “Red zone, 20 to the 11, what do you got?” In other words, “What do you want me to call?” To each section, Brees said between one and six plays. In this section, for instance, he said six plays. Payton, using a black Sharpie, placed a dot on each play Brees liked and wanted called.
The entire piece is a fascinating read, sparkling with King’s eye for detail. Read it here.