Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Josh McDaniels not surprised Sean Payton, Saints stole plays from Patriots

Ryan Hannable
November 19, 2018 - 2:40 pm

On the Saints' first touchdown against the Vikings a few weeks ago -- a three-yard Drew Brees touchdown pass to Alvin Kamara -- if you thought the play looked familiar, it's because it was.

It was the same play the Patriots used against the Bears in late October to give James White a touchdown reception from Tom Brady.

“That was a play seen the week before, Patriots vs. Bears,” Saints coach Sean Payton told MMQB's Albert Breer at the time. “Great idea. It fit with what we were doing and had nothing to do with the Vikings. And yet, it applied to their defensive structure. And so, certainly, most of the week is spent watching your opponent’s tape, and yet there’s still going to be a part of the week devoted to the league.”

More recently, Payton told NBC Sports' Peter King the Saints used some of the Patriots' offensive plays from the Super Bowl against the Eagles on Sunday.

“I look at the league a lot,” Payton said. “I look at all the scoring plays every week. I look at [Bill] Belichick and New England. I look at Sean McVay. I found a good one last night. I hadn’t watched all of New England’s offensive plays in the Super Bowl against Philadelphia in a while, and so last night, I put the tape on and I found something. Gronk [tight end Rob Gronkowski] caught a ball inside the 10 and scored, but it’s how he caught it. It was like catching an inbounds pass, using your body to keep the defender off you. That’s perfect for us. I told Mike Thomas, ‘This is a touchdown.’ We practiced it today. I think we’ll use it.”

Taking plays from opponents seems to be a common occurrence across the league now, which Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels noted on a conference call Monday.

"I think that’s football," he said. "Certainly, if there’s something that we’ve done that somebody else takes, that’s great. We probably steal as much as anybody else and there’s a tremendous amount of great coaches in our league that do great things and there’s a lot of great players that make those plays go. I think you have to understand that there’s a lot that goes into something like that, and when we look at other teams and we look at other teams that are having some success, whether it be a team that’s doing well in the red zone or running the ball well, or third down, or big plays, or whatever the category might be, you see a lot of good things that these guys have designed, and most importantly, have been able to get their players to execute really well on game day. That’s the biggest factor in all those things is you’ve got to be able to transfer it to the field and get it done right, and sometimes you know the ins and outs of why they’re doing it and sometimes you don’t. That’s the great thing about our league is there’s so many very talented people that work in all these different roles and they come up with a lot of different ways to do things.

"There’s very many ways to skin a cat in our league, and you try to fit things that may work for you and your personnel that you see, you try to fit those in maybe when you can. Like I said, there’s so many good coaches and play-callers, and obviously the players are the thing that make it go. That’s a fun aspect of our job – you take a look at some things that are maybe trending in certain directions and see where it may fit for you and your team and what might be difficult to defend for the opponents that you’re getting ready to coach against."

Following their bye week, the Patriots will take on the Jets next Sunday.

Related: Bill Belichick scoffs at question surrounding Chris Hogan's recent production

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