Posted October 11, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Sean Payton and Drew Brees for years have referred to the Patriots as a model NFL franchise, and one worth emulating.
During the buildup to New Orleans' visit to New England on Sunday, both clubs have showered one another with expressions of mutual respect. The praise appears genuine - there are similarities between the teams that don't seem all that coincidental - and Payton says that Bill Belichick ''has been someone certainly that I look up to.''
It starts with two of the game's most successful coaches, the philosophies they share, and the close relationship each has forged with elite quarterbacks who are the faces of their franchises and unquestioned leaders in the locker room.
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich has seen it firsthand, having played for both coaches.
''You can kind of see the similarities and how they want their teams to be mentally tough teams that are smart,'' Ninkovich said. ''In the NFL, more teams lose games than go out and win them, so playing smart football'' is paramount.
Ninkovich was drafted by New Orleans, but injuries made it tough for him to gain traction there. He later emerged as a defensive leader in New England. He saw firsthand the trust Payton placed in Brees, and sees that same thing now with Belichick and Tom Brady.
''Obviously with Bill and Tom, they've been doing it for a long time now, same with Drew and Sean,'' Ninkovich said. ''There's a great amount of respect on both sides, respect and trust to know that they are going to go out there and really do everything they can to help their team win.''
Belichick and Payton are part of the Bill Parcells coaching tree.
Payton joined Parcells in Dallas a few years after Belichick's last stint with Parcells (with the New York Jets) had ended, so it wasn't until the 2007 Pro Bowl that Payton and Belichick got to know one another.
''We've shared the opportunity to work for a Hall of Fame head coach,'' Payton added. ''So there are probably some things that are similar.''
As Payton recalled, Parcells often spoke of how he benefited as a young coach from friendships with more experienced peers such as Tom Landry and Chuck Noll, and the Saints coach explained that he views Belichick in much the same way.
Payton, who led the Saints to their only Super Bowl appearance, and title, in the 2009 season, also is quick to point out that how much greater Belichick's record of accomplishment is than his own.
''When we started in 2006, we tried to look closely at the franchises that were having a lot of success and study closely what they were doing,'' Payton said. ''New England was one of the main ones that we looked at. Of course we were fortunate to sign Drew and then build on that and get the right players in place, but (the Patriots in the Belichick-Brady era) have been to five Super Bowls and won three. That is pretty amazing.''
Belichick and Payton hit it off in Hawaii, and in subsequent training camps have held joint practices together.
''We have a similar general overall outlook to the game as how we try to coach, of what things are important,'' Belichick said. ''When we practiced with the Saints, they are very easy to work with. I think the things that we want to emphasize in practice, they want to emphasize. The ability to do things and work together because of common philosophies, not schematically, but in terms of approach to the game, practicing, preparing, working against each other, those things were very easy with the Saints.''
They have only met one time in a regular season game. It was a Monday night in New Orleans, when Brees threw for five TDs in 38-17 Saints victory that Brees looks back on as a landmark moment for his franchise.
''Anytime you can get on the field against a team like that and play like we did in `09, it's a huge confidence boost,'' Brees said.
Brady was closing in on Brees' NFL record of 54 straight games with a TD pass but the Patriots couldn't get into the end zone just last week in a loss at Cincinnati.
Now, it seems, New England is the team looking for a confidence boost.
''They challenge you in all areas. They've been one of the best teams in the league for a while,'' Brady said of the Saints. ''Hopefully we can go out and beat these guys, but it will be tough.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Drew Brees is one of the best players in the NFL currently, but that doesn't mean he thinks his line of work is for everyone, including his three sons, at least while they are young according to the Saints' quarterback.
"At a certain age, I think it's appropriate. I think you can be too young to go out there and strap on a helmet," Brees told USA TODAY on Wednesday...
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has made a fantastic living playing football. But that doesn't mean he is willing to let his three sons follow in his footsteps. In fact, Brees and his wife have already decided that they won't allow any of their sons to play football before they are teenagers. If they want to pick up pigskin by the time they are teenagers, they...
New England's defense is in for its toughest test of the season Sunday, when quarterback Drew Brees leads the high-powered New Orleans Saints (5-0) into a highly anticipated clash with the Patriots (4-1).
Brees has thrown for 1,722 yards, second only to Denver's Peyton Manning.
''He'll never stare down a receiver and throw it straight to him,'' New England...
Concussion experts have advocated for years that kids shouldn’t play tackle football until high school, when their bodies are more developed and they can better absorb the hits the game hands out.
That advice has gotten a lot of pushback from folks who think kids have to learn how to hit when they’re young to play well, though. They made their voices heard again this week after...
When Drew Brees has handed off to Pierre Thomas or Darren Sproles, it hasn't amounted to much lately.
Yet when Brees has targeted either running back with short passes, it has produced first downs, touchdowns, sustained drives and victories for the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.
Through five games, Thomas and Sproles have combined for nearly double the yards and three times more...
Welcome to the latest edition of the “NFL Fab Five,” our look at the top five teams in pro football prior to the start of Week Six. As usual, the regular season is flying by and the playoffs will be here before we know it, leaving us wondering where the past few months have gone by mid-February. After last week’s action, only the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, and Kansas...
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
There are some teams that some players just excel against, Drew Brees and the Patriots fall into that category. Brees has never lost in a match-up against the Patriots and in fact in their last meeting, he had a perfect 158.3 passer rating. While he has only beaten the Patriots once in a Saints uniform, Brees is no stranger to Tom Brady...
New Orleans Saints running backs are becoming more involved in the passing game from Drew Brees.
Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and the New Orleans Saints travel to Foxborough on Sunday to take on Tom Brady, a finally healthy Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots. Sean Payton's Saints go into this matchup as a one point underdog against Bill Belichick's Patriots. These coaches are two of the best in the game and with their excellent play calling abilities, this...
The Patriots are still reeling from a rough loss in Cincinnati, but there’s no cure for a loser’s hangover quite like winning.
It won’t be an easy task this week with the undefeated Saints coming to town for a visit. The Patriots have now faced two legitimate offenses, and the defenses seems capable of withstanding tough assignments. This week might be the toughest of all,...
The New Orleans Saints (5-0) travel to Foxboro to play the New England Patriots (4-1) at 4:25 ET. The most obvious headline is the battle between two of the best quarterback-coach combinations for the decade or so in Sean Payton and Drew Brees and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Brady vs Brees matchup has been pretty one sided as Brees has won every matchup he has had with Brady...
Two of the most high-profile and talked about teams in the NFL are the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. Whether they’re doing good or bad, people gravitate toward these two teams because of who their quarterbacks are, their coaches are, and that each team provides people with a mix of excellence on the field and something, anything, off the field for people to sink...
AFC East : New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Week 6 Pre-Game
Sitting atop of the AFC East as expected the 4-1 New England Patriots look to bounce back in week 6 against the stout 5-0 Saints of New Orleans. Tom Brady and the Patriots look to forget last weeks terrible performance in which they were only able to master a total of 6 points ,the fewest points the...
BY SEAN DONOVANThe division-leading New England Patriots return home after splitting a two-game road trip, first winning in Atlanta before dropping a sloppy contest in Cincinnati last week.They'll need to tighten up their game before they face the undefeated New Orleans Saints, who are coming off a thorough road win over the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears. Saints quarterback...
I do believe the Saints will face their toughest opponent to date this season, on the road no less, as they take on the Patriots in Foxboro. If the Saints want to go 6-0 they are definitely going to have to earn it today. There is no question they have the talent and ability to take this one, though. But it will likely take close to a perfect game from the Saints to pull off. Here...