A game plan is never the same week to week. And that's during the regular season.
Add in an extra week to prepare and the biggest game of your life, and a Super Bowl team had better not expect to roll out the same plays and think the other team won't know what hit 'em.
So for today's SCHEIN 9, we give you the 9 game-plan tweaks, wrinkles and adjustments both teams must make to score the Lombardi Trophy.
1. Reggie Wayne should be the featured receiver
It's pretty amazing when you think about it. Reggie Wayne is a top-3 receiver in the NFL and wasn't even talked about last week before the championship game. And rightly so, because you knew Wayne would be stranded on "Revis Island." Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon were predictably the go-to guys for Peyton Manning against the Jets.
Wayne will catch 10 passes and score at least one touchdown in the Super Bowl. Manning will put it up to him even when he isn't totally open. He will once again be the star receiver for the Colts. The Saints defensive backs are good and playmaking, but they don't employ a shut-down corner.
2. Memo to Gregg Williams: Don't blitz the entire game
Former Seattle coach Jim Mora had a great take when he joined us on the Sirius Blitz on Wednesday. Mora said, "the plan is to attack creatively but safely against a quarterback like Peyton Manning." You can't blitz Manning all game long. He's too smart. His internal clock is too good. Manning will kill you by finding the open man.
Williams was the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville and had a game where he held the Colts to 21 points. I'm sure he'll take something from that experience. Williams is aggressive by nature and you need to pressure Manning, but he has to be smart. No quarterback in pro football is better against the blitz.
3. Watch Sean Payton go "all in" again and again
Knowing Sean Payton, I am always surprised when he is somewhat conservative. In the Super Bowl, especially when you are playing Peyton Manning and need to score touchdowns, look for Payton to play this like you play "Madden." Payton will go for it on almost every occasion. He wants the ball in Drew Brees' hands. Brees was great against Minnesota, but has been more dominant. That comes back to play selection and going for the jugular. Which leads me to ...
4. Hey Saints: No need to pass in short-yardage situations
Brees will be a factor on 3rd-and-short situations. New Orleans had some issues in short yardage on championship Sunday. But I am not convinced that the self-scouting will equal more Pierre Thomas in these spots. History says that Payton will throw the rock with Drew Brees on 3rd-and-1 and 3rd-and-2 and the Saints will often be in four-down territory once they hit midfield.
5. Remember the running game, Peyton
Remember the last time the Colts were in the Super Bowl and the back-up running back was the star? I can see Donald Brown being a factor against the Saints run defense. Joe Addai had a surprisingly strong game against the Jets. I can see Tom Moore, Jim Caldwell, and Manning trying to establish some balance early in the game. If a safety has to come up to account for Addai, it might spell doom for the Saints. The New Orleans run defense was gashed by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings last week. But then you must consider ...
6. The Dallas Clark factor
He was the best tight end in the NFL this year. Now Darren Sharper is excellent in coverage. Roman Harper might be the most underrated Saint. You know that Manning is going to try to get Clark going; he serves as the QB's ultimate security blanket.
7. Colts MUST NOT kick to Reggie Bush
I know he had a muffed punt. I don't care. And while the Colts special teams have been very underrated this season, Bush is a difference maker, a lethal game changer. Don't chance it. Remember when Tony Dungy kicked to Devin Hester? How did that work out?
8. The Saints must control the line of scrimmage
My guys "Mookie" Johnson and Dan Muir have the beef the Colts have lacked for years up front. But the Saints offensive line should be able to handle it. I think Minnesota controlled the line last week. With defensive end Will Smith and an offensive line led by start guard Jahri Evans, I believe it can happen.
9. Larry Coyer needs to be aggressive
These are not your older brother's Colts. Indy defensive coordinator Coyer is aggressive and puts the opposing quarterback in tough situations with pressure. Buy Coyer is smart about it. But in the Super Bowl, you cannot let "the surgeon" Drew Brees get into a rhythm. The Colts have been the king of the comeback but Coyer can't let Brees and the Saints jump out to a 14-0 lead.
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