Saturday, October 13, 2012
Big Decision: Run the no-huddle in Seattle?
By Mike Rodak
The day before each game this season, this space will feature one big decision facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his staff, in terms of the game plan.
This week's decision: Should the Patriots try to run their no-huddle offense in Seattle?
Two topics have dominated the week of discussion leading up to Sunday's game against the Seahawks: the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field, and the Patriots' no-huddle offense that was the story of last week's win over Denver.
We know that one will be there, and that's the crowd noise. But will the Patriots try to keep a similar offensive pace this Sunday as they did last week?
If they choose to do so, the key will be nonverbal communication. The Patriots reportedly have implemented a no-huddle offense that uses one-word play calls. With the noise factor coming into play this week, perhaps the Patriots return to using a whiteboard on the sidelines with a numbering system. We haven't seen that yet this season, but it's one option.
The upside to continuing to use the no-huddle, of course, is that it keeps the defense from substituting, and could lead to defensive communication problems, as Seattle's defense will have to fight the crowd noise and rely on nonverbal signals of their own without a defensive huddle.
The other option is to scrap the blistering offensive pace this week, and try to run a clock-control, ball-control offense. This would keep things at a relatively calmer pace and likely prevent mistakes. But the Seahawks have the third-best rush defense in the NFL, so running the ball too much but failing to move the chains could incite the crowd further.
What do you think? What happens when an unstoppable force (the Patriots' top-ranked, no-huddle based offense) meets an immovable object (the Seahawks' top-ranked defense, backed by their home crowd)? Join the discussion in the comments section below.