UPDATE: The first (of hopefully many) videos for the Anatomy of a Play series will start tomorrow. I am working on it as you read this. I've encountered a ton of road bumps, but this will happen, so help me God. Also, I haven't actually recorded any video yet, and I can tell you that I'm going to have to watch this one 10 second play about 50 times to get every angle of it. That being said, I can't wait to see what you guys think! :)
Obviously, it doesn't, but that's not the point. There's a little bit of...how shall we say, roundabout thinking in here, but hopefully I'll be able to deliver the message I have in my head.
The play in question was that ~40 yard pass to Manningham where Belichick basically said the plan was, "Take away Cruz/Nicks. Make them throw it to Manningham/Pascoe."
Now, how does that apply to NO and GB? Well, it's simple. The game plan, as it should always be, is to take away their top targets and force throws to their other targets. Forcing throws to other targets means that the QB takes a little longer to make a decision (since he has to progress through his reads).
For most teams, this means throwing to their #3 or #4 target, which is oftentimes not on the same level as the first two.
But the real question is "What do you do when #3 and #4 (and in GB/NO's case, #5) are also really good?"
In most offenses (if not all of them) the TE is usually not the first read, unless the play calls for it specifically. If your TE (or 3rd option) is better than the defense's third option, then they'll be open most of the time, which is what makes them look so good at times.
What do you do as a defense if all 5 options are a bona fide receiving threat? It's sensible, but not practical (due to the sheer amount of money it would cost), to have 5 equally talented defensive backs covering the 5 options (or 4 DBs and 1 Spoon).
So what would you do in that situation? Are we just doomed forever? Should we try to force turnovers? What's your move?