- The New Orleans Saints will host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
- Saints head coach Sean Payton said he hopes the crowd will not only be loud but that they will start to be loud before the play clock reaches 15 seconds on each play.
- Payton is hoping the crowd noise will make it more difficult for Rams head coach Sean McVay to communicate with quarterback Jared Goff on the line, something they often do to relay information about the defence to each other.
The New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship this Sunday, with the winner going on to represent the conference in Super Bowl LIII.
On Thursday, Saints head coach Sean Payton revealed one interesting part of his game plan – asking the home crowd for a little bit of extra help.
“What’s important for our fan base is understanding when that crowd noise needs to begin – differently this week than normal weeks,” Payton told reporters. “That crowd noise needs to begin prior to 15 seconds left [on the play clock] … Just as that last play finished.”
bring the noise earlier ????
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 17, 2019
Asking for a loud home crowd is far from a rarity, but there’s a specific strategy to Payton’s request for the New Orleans’ faithful this week.
Rams head coach Sean McVay’s offence made a splash last year for their fast pace, often rushing to line up while there was still plenty of time on the play clock.
This pace allows McVay to take advantage of an oddly specific NFL rule.
In the NFL, coaches can communicate with their quarterbacks through their helmets until 15 seconds are left on the play clock. For most teams, this means getting a play call into the huddle, but with the Rams tendency to rush to the line, McVay is often able to read the defence along with his quarterback, Jared Goff, and work with him through audibles.
By encouraging Saints fans to get louder earlier, Payton is attempting to cut the Rams’ edge a bit, hopefully making it more difficult for the Rams offence to communicate smoothly.
We won’t know if his play will work until the teams meet on Sunday, but it’s clear that Payton believes the Saints fans could make a big difference in the game.
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