Texans defensive end Antonio Smith suggested that “spying” could be the reason the Patriots’ offense was able to make such effective adjustments in today’s win.
Or maybe it’s just that the Patriots scouted the Texans and found some tendencies they could exploit.
“Either teams are spying on us or scouting us . . . I don’t know what it is,” Smith said, via the Boston Globe. “We had some ways that we were going to play this week that just got put in this week, and it was just miraculous that they changed up some things that they did on offense and keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing. It was things that they had never done before out here. It just seems miraculous to me.”
There’s a pretty big difference between spying and scouting. Spying on an opposing team is a violation of NFL rules. Scouting is what every team does. Smith suggested, however, that the Patriots were ready for something the Texans hadn’t done before, which would be the product of spying, not scouting.
“It is a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, to how we would call the defense,” Smith said. “They changed it up in a way to where you were in in-decision in calling the defense that way. There’s no way . . . we have not done it ever before and they had never changed it ever before. So it was just kind of fishy how it got changed. It just let me know that something just ain’t right.”
Smith acknowledged, however, that the Patriots might have just been smart enough to pick up on what the Texans were doing and adjusted accordingly.
“I would say they’re pretty good,” Smith said. “I know Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are the best at their craft, because they put so much into their craft.”
So maybe the Texans’ problems were just a matter of facing a team with a good coach and a good quarterback, not a matter of spying.