Kelly’s overall message to the Patriots: Don’t put a limit on your players’ minds; they will learn whatever you teach them.
“I was interested to hear how he did it,” Belichick said. “I would say he expanded it to a different level and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing. Certainly I’ve learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that.”
Welcome to Gillette Stadium, can I take your play call?
Changing on the fly
It is believed the Patriots started to implement the one-word no-huddle for the 2011 season under O’Brien, but it didn’t always go smoothly because of the verbiage.
“We have smart guys and everything,” Brady said. “The correlation with what you say, maybe it’s a call in your offense that means something, and then there’s something that means similar in no-huddle.
“I think there are universal terms in football that defenses may use from team to team or we have certain words like ‘tinn’ and you have to know the depths. That’s a very universal term that a defense may even use that we use as an offense. So when you go to no-huddle, you don’t want to say tinn because everyone else has a pretty good idea of what you’re talking about.”
And the Patriots have to change their words because it doesn’t take long for other teams, especially those within the division, to catch on.
“We’ve changed them three times,” Brady said. “[The coaches said], ‘Well, we’re not going to use that, we’re going to use this particular word.’ And I’m like, ‘Man, can’t we go back to one we’ve already used before, back to the original one?’ ”
The beauty of the Patriots’ no-huddle is it can take many forms and speeds because of Brady.
It’s not technically one word, because a play call such as “Bama” would include an alignment call. Brady would bark out the call like, “Bama left.”
But the bottom line is the same: Brady uses one of the six game-planned calls when he wants to go fast, and that tells everyone on the field what they are supposed to do.
From there, Brady can choose to just run the play as called for speed — like he did against the Broncos — or he can make changes depending on the defense.
The unquestioned goal of the Patriots’ offense is not to run plays into a defense alignment where the play has little chance at success.
So even in the no-huddle, Brady has the ultimate power. He can simply change the direction of a run, or since many plays have run/pass options (some at the snap), Brady can go as far as changing a run into a shotgun pass.
If a team is overloaded against a pass, Brady can switch to a run even if there’s no running backs on the field. They have, when healthy, Aaron Hernandez, the NFL’s Swiss Army Knife.
“I think one of the biggest differences [between old-school no-huddle and what the Patriots are running today] is just the versatility of the players,” Brady said. “How teams try to defend no-huddle is that you have big safeties that are like linebackers. And linebackers are like small safeties that can cover.
“Then you have big tight ends that can run routes but also run block. And then you have fullbacks that can make a bunch of plays down the field, so it’s not like back then, it was like these two guys only do this. This guy, your fullback, only isolates on the middle linebackers and runs diagonals to the flat.
“So a lot of what you ask the different players to do within the scheme is to be versatile so that you can go in and out of certain concepts rather than feel really reliant that this is the only thing that you do as a player.”
The more time on the play clock, the more opportunity for Brady to decipher the defense and work his magic.
The Patriots’ one-word no-huddle really took hold down the stretch of the ’11 season, and rolled into the playoffs. With a postseason bye week, it hummed to perfection in the 45-10 AFC divisional playoff victory against the Broncos, when Brady tied a league playoff record with six touchdown passes.
The Patriots were most lethal in the 33 no-huddle snaps, rushing for 7.3 yards per attempt with 21 first downs and four touchdowns from Brady, who completed 85 percent of his passes with an amazing 11.8 yards per attempt.
In the other 31 snaps, the Patriots had averaged 3 yards on the ground, had seven first downs, two touchdowns, and Brady completed 64.3 percent of his passes at 9.1 yards per attempt.
Although the Patriots did not show it in the training camp practices open to the public, players remarked how the pace of practice quickened once sessions were closed to reporters. It’s not quite an Oregon practice, but for the NFL, the Patriots are practicing at break-neck speed to prepare for games.Continued...