Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Oct 2012

Patriots' No Huddle Relies on the Power of One

Greg Bedard explains how Oregon head coach Chip Kelly inspired the faster-than-ever New England Patriots no huddle juggernaut.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 08 Oct 2012

16 comments, Last at 11 Oct 2012, 11:25pm by Anonymous_1


by Riceloft :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 7:49am

It sounds like this is why Ochocinco couldn't learn the offense.

by Rich A (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:54am

I think he could know where to line up from the one word commands, though maybe he had memorization problems.

I think he was having more trouble reading the defense pre and post snap and adjusting his option routes accordingly. That would be completely different for a WR coming from a system where he never adjusted his route and was just told to beat his man on whatever route he was assigned

by MJK :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:17am

Really good read. Thanks for finding this article.

I'm very interested to see if the frenetic pace the Pats unleashed on the Broncos this week becomes a staple...

by akn :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:53am

Is there any rule preventing multiple defenders from yelling out single words in an attempt to confuse and slow down this type system?

I could see a defense designate one person (like the MLB) to make play calls and adjustments for the defense, while the rest of the front 7 yell out words they've previously heard Brady call out that game.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:57am

No rule I know of.

Though, it might be possible to get penalized for making the offense think the ball has been snapped if they caused an offensive player to jump.

by Purds :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 12:56pm

Although I was stunned that none of the Bronco defenders faked an injury to slow the Pats down. You know that had it been reversed, NE's defense would have developed players with cramps, etc., to slow down that offense.

Terrible coaching by Denver not to slow down NE with quasi-injuries. It happens all the time in the NFL, and I didn't see Denver try it once. That's just poor strategy right there.

by JonFrum :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 1:13pm

Thanks for keeping the quality of discussion on such a high level.

by Purds :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 1:44pm

Are you joking, or did you just get out of church school? Please tell me you have watched an actual NFL game.

Faking an injury to slow down the no huddle is no different than:

1. coaches attempting to "ice" kickers with time outs just before the ball is snapped
2. QB's quick calling a play to trap the defense into a 12-men-on-the-field penalty when changing personnel
3. coaches putting everyone or no one on the weekly injury report list
4. QB's running a quick play so the opponent doesn't have time to see a replay and challenge a questionable call
5. GM's stashing a development player on the IR list instead of exposing him to waivers

None of these are explicitly against the rules. None are punished. None are "morally" right. They all happen all the time.

You have to be a choir boy to think that more than 50% of coaches/defenses would not have had a guy go down with an "injury" to slow that offense.

by AB (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 2:43pm

That's not a completely fair comparison.

The fake injury is like 3 and 5 - deliberate dishonesty and against the rules.

1,2 and 4 are merely opportunistic. There is no deception and no breach of the rules.

by Purds :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 7:50pm

Point taken, though I'd argue that none are really in the spirit of fair play. And, in the Broncos/Pats game, the absence of a player faking was absurd in that at one point, there was a Denver LB limping around and the announcers pointed it out. That guy almost had a legit injury, and he still didn't go down. Bizarre.

by BSR :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 4:49pm

Actually it is against the rules. See the linked article. NFL is cracking down on it now since the Giants were taking it to such an absurd level.


by Purds :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 7:48pm

I'll believe it when they actually implement a suspension, but point taken.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 8:33am

You can get called for unsportsmanlike conduct for just shouting things to try to disrupt the offense. Doesn't get called very often but I have seen it a couple of times (in ten years or so, so really not very often).

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 1:00pm

"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."

That's staggering.

by Anonymous_1 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2012 - 11:25pm

what's really staggering is that the 64.3 per cent completion rate for 9.1 yards per attempt on the "other" pass plays would rank the Pats somewhere around the top third of the league for completion percentage, and tops for yards per attempt. And then the no huddle steps it up from that.

by Clemson Matt (not verified) :: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 6:51pm

Saban says stop it its not fair...I mean someone could get hurt.