CHANDLER, Ariz. — Lost in the shuffle of DeflateGate was former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy making some false remarks about the New England Patriots’ creative ineligible offensive sets.
Dungy said the Patriots are declaring players ineligible too quickly and not allowing the opposing team to get set on defense. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels defended the sets and downplayed their effectiveness Wednesday.
“We were very open, I believe, with the officials and all that before the game and telling them,” McDaniels said at the team hotel. “You know, they always ask you if you have anything that’s unique or different or whatever. I think everybody was — I wasn’t at the meeting — but I’m sure it was communicated to them.
“When we did that, I think we’ve only done it five times all year, we’ve huddled every time. We’ve reported every time, ineligible. And once we did that we broke the huddle, we lined up and we ran the play. We didn’t try to hurry. We didn’t try to do anything that was deceptive in that manner.
“I think it was unique for a few plays. What most people probably don’t know is we ran it a couple times last week against Indianapolis and got nothing out of it. Everybody talks about those couple Baltimore plays, but Indianapolis defended it very well. It’s just something we tried the one week and it gave us a little spark.”
McDaniels is correct. The Patriots ran the ineligible set twice in the AFC Championship Game, and quarterback Tom Brady threw an incompletion and was sacked.
The Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX. Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is ready to defend the Patriots’ complex alignments.
“I think different teams have different challenges as you go through,” Quinn said. “For them, that was another package that they do, so I think they’re able to attack in a number of different ways. You have to go through all the process whether they want to play empty, whether they want to play ineligible positions at receiver spots. All those are ones that we practice, so it’s a great challenge but one that we’re definitely looking forward to.”
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