Sean Payton was part of a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, where he spoke about how the Saints use analytics.
The most interesting thing Payton talked about is how his team uses GPS tracking in practices to prevent injuries and better understand what’s happening in those sessions.
Here is a look at some other things Payton said:
How analytics helps the Saints:
Our own tendencies, being mindful of what our opponents are seeing when they break our film down. That information is coming quicker than ever before. What used to be two or three young assistant coaches in a room breaking down film, we’re gathering this information on Monday. We have it available immediately.
Background on how he uses analytics:
I think just as important for us, in week when we prepare to play an opponent, is the information we’re taking with down and distance, predictability, red zone, what we can expect in the passing game and running game, special teams. It really gets us started with our initial game plan. How we feel like this team is going to play, how they’re going to play us, and what the data tells us they do.
On how film has become more available:
My first year in coaching in 1988 I was in charge of splicing 16mm film. Anymore it’s, the film itself is much like our music. If we want to punch in New England Patriots third down and 2, we can get a season, we can get the last four games, we can get the last eight weeks, sorted by pass, sorted by field position. It’s just a matter of what you’re asking.
On how analytics help:
Every year I think there’s more data available to myself and our staff and we look closely at it. It could be we’ll have the exact percentages of the two-point plays, run or pass. Historically in our league, running the ball on a two-point play has been a little bit more efficient or effective than passing the football. When to go for it on fourth down — what are the numbers that suggest you should? Trying to have a bead on that and still trying to pay attention to what’s taking place in the game. For instance, these variables that your left guard is really having a problem with their defensive tackle. That’s not accounted for in what the percentages are giving you.
More on how analytics help:
In regards to player speed and burst when he’s bumped or when he’s off, it may dictate how you decide to defend someone. … I’m interested to see how we can use it to develop quarterbacks, because the hardest thing we have is giving them repetitions, yet how do we develop a young quarterback?
More on how he uses analytics:
But the idea of our call sheets, 12 or 10 guys on the field is a nightmare for us. It’s not enough or it’s too many. Both of which can result in costing your team a game. The idea that your tablet was red until blue meant you were with 11. Anytime it was red — because it happens. You want to have your personnel correct on the field, and you want to have the right personnel. Offenses are changing very quickly. There are very simple applications that I can think of on game day that would very much apply.
On how he uses analytics:
The affirmation as to this is what we’re seeing and not only is this receiver playing in the nickel, he’s aligned here 95 percent of the time, and the fact that’s what we thought going into the game. There’s something to be said for data that confirms or validates what you think. You become a more confident play caller.
On when he goes with his gut:
I think based on the game, you have to pay attention to your gut. I think there are certain things that are more important to me based on percentages. The percentages of recovering an onside kick are one thing, without it being an obvious situation. I think you have to rely on your gut but I think during the week that data can shape ultimately the way you feel and what your gut is.