Imagine being Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC) after Tom Brady’s Superbowl LI pick 6 that put the Falcons up 21-0 in the 2nd quarter. What do you say on the sidelines to arguably the greatest quarterback that has ever played the game? How do you quickly process his decision making and coach him through it in the biggest game in the world? These were the questions in my head as I replayed the interception over and over. I found myself in Brady’s helmet trying to see what led his decision making to throw the ball in that situation. Watching the live video of the play, it looked like Brady predetermines to go to Amendola on the angle route. He stares him down the entire duration of the play.
“What is “open” This was the question that was stuck in my head as I sat in an office listening to a respected D1 offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He had been mentored under some of the best passing game minds in football and was illustrating his methods for reading a Shallow concept. I built up enough courage to ask the question. “Coach, how do you teach your quarterback to know what is “open”? I will never forget the look on his face. I couldn’t tell if he was stumped or if he was offended that I asked such an elementary question. There was a 7 second pause that felt like 7 minutes. Then he said, “He just knows…” and continued drawing and talking progressions. “He just knows…” I was deflated by the answer. All I kept thinking was, “What if my quarterback just doesn’t know”.