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Horton saw a “tell” in Pats’ offense

Ray Horton AP

Before Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald crowns Bill Belichick as the greatest coach in NFL history, Fitz may want to have a chat with Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Horton has shared with the Doug & Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 that the Pats and Belichick had a tell in Week Two.  Before tight end Aaron Hernandez was injured, the Patriots ran the ball whenever Hernandez lined up tight to the offensive line.  After Hernandez was injured, it became more simple — the Pats ran the ball whenever quarterback Tom Brady lined up under center, and they passed the ball whenever Brady lined up in shotgun formation.

The end result is that the Cardinals were able to confuse Brady.  “I heard through Jay Feely that he talked to Tom Brady after the game and Tom said, ‘I have no idea what you guys are doing,’ and so it did work,” Horton said.

So why was Horton being so candid?  Though that question didn’t come up during the interview, the reality is that the Pats will be playing the other three teams in Arizona’s division, and it’s in the Cardinals’ best interests for the Patriots to figure out that they have a tell — and to get rid of it before playing the Seahawks on October 14, the Rams on October 28, and the 49ers on December 16.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m. ET September 20:  As it turns out, Horton’s “tell” tale was a tall tale.  The tendencies about which he boasted didn’t apply a whopping 21 times.

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43 Responses to “Horton saw a “tell” in Pats’ offense”
  1. sj39 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:13 PM

    Brady is easily confused. See you in London pretty boy.

  2. joshm5683 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:14 PM

    Was the “tell” he speaking of “we knew they didn’t take us seriously so we took advantage but next time they’ll be ready and hit us like a bag of bricks to the face?”

  3. realnflmaster says: Sep 19, 2012 2:15 PM

    Anyone with a brain knew Arizona was going to be, at worst, a very solid football team. That defense is loaded and coached by a very bright defensive mind. They should it towards the end of last year, and this year, the defense has continued to shine and now Arizona is getting some offense.

    They will have really good games with the 49ers.

  4. yelix says: Sep 19, 2012 2:15 PM

    I am shocked that the Patriots would run an offense that predictable in a regular season game.

  5. majbobby says: Sep 19, 2012 2:16 PM

    Ok let me get this correct.

    When the 2nd TE was tight they ran the ball

    OK most teams do…..

    When the QB was in Shotgun they passed….

    OK Same as 99% of the league most of the time.

    When the QB lined up under Center they Ran.

    Also happens alot.

    The reason AZ won, and teams will beat the Pats has not changed over the years. YOU HIT BRADY. You HIT him early and often.

  6. brutus9448 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:19 PM

    they just figured this out now? When Brady is under center the chance of the pats running the ball are pretty high.

  7. patriotinvasion says: Sep 19, 2012 2:19 PM

    Non-story. Pats were down 11 in the 4th so I’m sure they were passing out of shotgun every time. Thanks for the insight, but I think Belichick has things under control. Pats played poorly all game and still could/should have won on a 42 yarder as time expired.

  8. sun602 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:21 PM

    If what you’re saying is true about Horton doing it to tip off the Pats and harm his division, that’s pretty smart.

    It also sucks that the Pats will adjust when they play my Jets.

  9. dbones750 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:21 PM

    Sucks for the 9ers, Seahawks, and Rams that Horton heard a who.

  10. madpunter88 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:21 PM

    That doesn’t seem like a tell so much as simple logic. It’s like saying, “We knew they were going to pass whenever they lined up in a four wide receiver set with an empty backfield.”

  11. bigdan7885 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:25 PM

    Horton heard a who.

  12. steelers4385 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:29 PM

    Fluke game. Gaurantee that wouldnt happen again. Its best time to beat pats is early season cause the chemistry is still little week. If cards played them say week 10…might of been border line blowout. And im not even a pats fan.

  13. zakcon says: Sep 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    Nicely done Arizona.

  14. crisper57 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:38 PM

    Horton > Josh McDaniels

  15. benh999 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    Pass more from shotgun, run more from under center. This guy is a real defensive mastermind.

  16. infectorman says: Sep 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    Cards won Ugly.
    Kolb was 15-27 (55%) for 140 yards, 1 TD: and AZ had 105 rushing yards with one TD.
    Funny that Kolb “figures it out” against us. Haven’t had that feeling in a LONG time where a floundering QB who’s treading water “figures it out” enough to actually win the game. Even though I’m not sure he figured out much…
    Ultimately, they blew it by running a toss and then fumbling away their win. Only to have Gostkowski pull a Cundiff.

    Cards earned that W, and it would have been a hollow win for NE had they pulled it out.
    The 3 major missed passes from Lloyd Welker and Gronk sealed our fate.

  17. eventhorizon04 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:41 PM

    I’ve heard a lot of people call Josh McDaniels a “genius” offensive coordinator. And I could respect that since the Patriots’ offense in the 2007 was very impressive.

    However, if this “tell” thing is true, and if rumors about him “sidelining” Wes Welker are true, then McDaniels’ reputation needs to take a serious hit.

  18. geniusfan says: Sep 19, 2012 2:49 PM

    “Brady is easily confused. See you in London pretty boy.”

    Yeah he’s also one of the best quarterbacks to ever play but if calling him a pretty boy makes you feel better about it go right ahead tough guy.

    The Cardinals deserve credit for this win obviously they outplayed the Patriots. That being said I still can’t help but wonder how this game would have went had Hernandez not gone down. He was most likely the focal point of the game-plan, losing him forced them to adjust on the fly which they didn’t do well enough.

    Even if Belichick hears about this he isn’t going to care. The Patriots focus is on the Ravens now they won’t be seeing the Cardinals again until 2016. A win against the Ravens is far more important than beating a non-conference opponent.

  19. gisellichek says: Sep 19, 2012 2:50 PM

    I love articles like this… reminds me of 2007… when everyone was looking for the blueprint to beat the Pats…

    This is a very “young” team… they have some learning to do… and will make mistakes… JMac is just figuring out how this offense will function going forward…

    I bet they win more than loose … any takers?

  20. patsfanforlife says: Sep 19, 2012 2:50 PM

    Horton doesn’t have a clue. Well, his defense did do a pretty good job against the Patriots. But his “tell” doesn’t hold up. As reported by Mike Reiss on ESPN Boston, Brady was in shotgun for 39 snaps and they ran 11 and passed 28 times. He was under center for 43 snaps and only 11 of those were run plays.

  21. psousa1 says: Sep 19, 2012 2:55 PM

    Wow! If you hit the QB early and often you have a chance to win?

    Revoloutionary!

  22. marcuswelby1 says: Sep 19, 2012 3:03 PM

    majbobby says:
    Sep 19, 2012 2:16 PM
    Ok let me get this correct.

    When the 2nd TE was tight they ran the ball

    OK most teams do…..

    When the QB was in Shotgun they passed….

    OK Same as 99% of the league most of the time.

    When the QB lined up under Center they Ran.

    Also happens alot.

    The reason AZ won, and teams will beat the Pats has not changed over the years. YOU HIT BRADY. You HIT him early and often.

    ———————————————

    Everything you said was spot on. However your last sentence is the same for every other QB in the NFL.

  23. smacklayer says: Sep 19, 2012 3:04 PM

    Everyone relax. This is a meaningless game for the Pats. They have bigger fish to fry in their division and AFC rivals, who will more determine their playoff outlook. Why give them their best pages from their playbook now? If anyone here thinks that Belichick and Brady don’t know what they are doing long term in the season, they are delusional.

    That said, congrats to AZ on the win.

  24. CKL says: Sep 19, 2012 3:06 PM

    Sigh..this gives me more ammo for my dislike of Josh McD.
    When they had Kevin Faulk it was not a given what they would do out of shotgun. He made a living on shotgun runs and he was a great pass receiver. BUT…when Josh was there before and Maroney was in the backfield, IIRC it was almost always a run. I know Dan Henning always said if you don’t have any tendencies you aren’t very good, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Maybe that was what was behind using Woodhead more later on. He can do both as well. Who knows? All I know is my hat is off to the Cards for a very very well executed defensive plan against my team.

  25. junglehawgs says: Sep 19, 2012 3:13 PM

    madpunter88 says:
    Sep 19, 2012 2:21 PM
    That doesn’t seem like a tell so much as simple logic. It’s like saying, “We knew they were going to pass whenever they lined up in a four wide receiver set with an empty backfield.”

    That gives them 10 on the field…hard to win.

  26. all4patriots says: Sep 19, 2012 3:16 PM

    What he’s saying is simply not true.

    Mike Reiss has ESPN Boston has broken it down with game tape:

    Brady was in the shotgun 39 times on Sunday (including penalties and two-point conversion). The Patriots ran it 11 times, and threw 28 times on those snaps. Thus that tendency is correct, but is not an absolute.

    Meanwhile, Brady was under center 43 times in the game (including penalties), and the Patriots ran it just 17 times on those plays. So they actually passed the ball more often than they ran it, when Brady was under center.

  27. ordinaryday6 says: Sep 19, 2012 3:19 PM

    That’s not on bb, that’s on mcdaniels, unless you want to fault bb for hiring him. After the first however many scripted plays, i’m sure it’s mcdaniels calling the plays. Good for the cards

  28. rajbais says: Sep 19, 2012 3:26 PM

    Fitzgerald made an inaccurate statement about Belichick. It’s not just that Bill Walsh was a better coach than Belichick is and never lost any Super Bowls; it’s also because he brought back Josh McDaniels.

    Who was likely a big part of the game plans for the Pats’ subpar offense?

    The Pats’ newly added idiot in their staff, McDaniels.

  29. atomicpunk says: Sep 19, 2012 3:44 PM

    Maybe NE was overlooking AZ since Kolb has been so bad? as for Horton this is his second year as a DC with no training camp the first year, this team is buying into his Steelers experience and they do have quite a few 1st round picks on defense. Ray Horton will be a head coach next year he interviewed last year and wowed a few teams with his football smarts.

  30. bullcharger says: Sep 19, 2012 3:55 PM

    sj39 says:Sep 19, 2012 2:13 PM

    Brady is easily confused. See you in London pretty boy.

    —————–

    Yep… 125-36 win-loss record…. very easily confused.

  31. bobhk says: Sep 19, 2012 3:58 PM

    dbones750 says:
    Sep 19, 2012 2:21 PM
    Sucks for the 9ers, Seahawks, and Rams that Horton heard a who.
    ——-
    Why would the niners be scared of Pats. They’ve beaten two similar teams.

  32. grogansheroes says: Sep 19, 2012 3:59 PM

    McD cost them the Super bowl in 2007 with his arrogance and failure to adjust to the Giants D. His arrogance cost him a head coaching job. I can’t believe the Pats brought him back. The guy thinks he is smarter than everyone. All that said, Arizona played a great game.

  33. bullcharger says: Sep 19, 2012 4:08 PM

    atomicpunk says:Sep 19, 2012 3:44 PM

    Maybe NE was overlooking AZ since Kolb has been so bad? as for Horton this is his second year as a DC with no training camp the first year, this team is buying into his Steelers experience and they do have quite a few 1st round picks on defense. Ray Horton will be a head coach next year he interviewed last year and wowed a few teams with his football smarts.

    ————–

    I agree that they overlooked AZ. Even just that it was a trap game with Baltimore coming up. I think they figured they could win it with a vanilla game plan so they didn’t give anything away to Baltimore and it went sideways.

  34. bullcharger says: Sep 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    The 4 NFC games on any AFC teams schedule are the 4 least important games of the year. They have no effect on division or conference tie breakers. All game plans in those games, expecially early in the season, would be as vanilla as possible.

  35. pantsfreezone says: Sep 19, 2012 4:17 PM

    Nobody comments about the hilarious comment by Brady “We hope the game doesn’t come down to a field goal to win the game.”? He won all of his Super Bowls via Vinateri’s leg.

    Well the field goals and cheating.

  36. mazblast says: Sep 19, 2012 5:06 PM

    “JMac is just figuring out how this offense will function going forward”

    Why must everyone have a faux cool nickname? What has Josh McDaniels ever won? What has he accomplished, other than pissing off everyone in Denver from waterboy to owner to fans? He strikes me as a classic “I’m young and have attitude, who needs performance?” guy.

    pantsfreezone–Well said. People tend to forget (and God forbid ESPN, in its worship of all things Patriots, should remind anyone) how close all those Patriot wins in the Super Bowl were. Had those been blowouts, there wouldn’t have been nearly as much stink about Spygate.

  37. mazblast says: Sep 19, 2012 5:09 PM

    Has anyone considered the idea that perhaps Horton is playing his own mindgames on the rest of his division? His remarks could have been designed to send the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks up a blind alley, looking for tells that may not be there.

    Oh, that’s right, only Belichick can possibly be that devious.

  38. mazblast says: Sep 19, 2012 5:12 PM

    bullcharger says:

    The 4 NFC games on any AFC teams schedule are the 4 least important games of the year. They have no effect on division or conference tie breakers. All game plans in those games, expecially early in the season, would be as vanilla as possible.
    ———————————

    Wrong. It’s a LOSS. If they lose the division (unlikely) or a seed (quite possible) because of this LOSS, it matters. The last time I checked the rules, a loss works against you when it comes to comparative records. A loss is September winds up counting just as much or little as one in November or December.

  39. patsfiend says: Sep 19, 2012 6:30 PM

    sj39 says:
    Sep 19, 2012 2:13 PM
    Brady is easily confused. See you in London pretty boy.
    ————-
    You just made me laugh out loud at work. All your hating on Pats post goes back to that Rams Super Bowl, eh?

    2012 version of your team is just a little less scary than the 1999-2001 versions, I think, but keep yapping.

  40. stevegrogan says: Sep 19, 2012 7:14 PM

    Mike, don’t you ever do any checking before posting something like this? Mike Reiss has already debunked this by looking at the play calling and formations. The Cardinals beat the Pats, but what Horton said was just false.

  41. patriots87 says: Sep 19, 2012 7:26 PM

    What has Josh McDaniels ever won? What has he accomplished, other than pissing off everyone in Denver from waterboy to owner to fans?

    ———————————————

    He was only the OC for the only team in NFL history to win 18 straight games. ya ya he lost the big one. I’m aware. he still did something no one else did tho, no matter how you to try to spin it.

  42. mazblast says: Sep 19, 2012 7:36 PM

    He was only the OC for the only team in NFL history to win 18 straight games. ya ya he lost the big one. I’m aware. he still did something no one else did tho, no matter how you to try to spin it.
    ——————————
    Outside of football fanatics and its own fans, few people remember who lost the Super Bowl. Precisely what has the much-lauded and seemingly very self-impressed McDaniels WON? We saw how well he handled the Denver job.

  43. crisper57 says: Sep 19, 2012 7:54 PM

    stevegrogan says:
    Sep 19, 2012 7:14 PM
    Mike, don’t you ever do any checking before posting something like this? Mike Reiss has already debunked this by looking at the play calling and formations. The Cardinals beat the Pats, but what Horton said was just false.

    ———

    He is posting what an NFL coach said. He’s quoting the direct source. That doesn’t require fact-checking.

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