Trestman, Briggs agree NFL teams learn more from scouting, TV than departed players
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter October 3, 2013 9:06PM
Updated: November 5, 2013 6:31AM
Two days after being waived by the Dolphins in 2011, tight end Dante Rosario signed with the Broncos, who would play Miami a month later.
The NFL conspiracy theorist would paint the following picture: After Rosario landed in Denver, he was debriefed about every nugget of Dolphins information, from play preferences to signals to code words.
But Rosario said that wasn’t the case.
“Maybe, I don’t know,” he said with a smile. “I’m not in the personnel meetings. This is just my perception of it.
“Maybe it’s top secret — maybe beyond me.”
A year later, he went from the Broncos to a division rival, the Chargers.
Once again, he said he wasn’t squeezed for information: The Chargers knew enough about the Broncos from twice-annual games.
Players sharing information about their former teams happens all the time in the NFL, but it probably means less now than ever, he said.
“Especially in today’s game, there’s so much done on the scouting side of things,” said Rosario, whom the Bears acquired from Dallas before Week 1. “There’s not too much information that a player’s going to be able to give that these guys don’t already know about.
“Because they spend so much time watching tape, studying their personnel, that they know it inside out before we even have a chance to start practicing with them.”
Quietly, on Sunday afternoon, some Bears wondered if former teammate Israel Idonije had shared some of their defensive-line calls with his new team, the Lions.
Like with the Chargers and Broncos, though, it’s hard to tell where Detroit’s familiarity with a divisional rival ends and one player’s personal insights begin.
“What information could Izzy give them?” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “We play the Detroit Lions twice a year for as long as I’ve known.
“They have all the information that they need.”
Coach Marc Trestman said teams change signals and code words all the time.
One main challenge, he said, is TV technology.
Network microphones pick up everything from audibles to snap counts to defensive calls. On Sunday, Eagles defenders tried to disrupt Peyton Manning’s checks by screaming out the name of the pizza chain he sponsors, Papa John’s.
From their couches, fans heard it live on TV.
Trestman said there’s probably an overreaction to the “Spy vs. Spy” accusations.
“I don’t think anyone really has an advantage,” Trestman said. “Everybody is doing the same things to scout and to try to look at the tape and trying to find things. . . .
“And I don’t think it necessarily makes a difference in winning or losing.”
Players sharing information with their new teams isn’t treasonous, either.
“I’m on another team now,” said defensive tackle Landon Cohen, whom the Bears signed last week after he played for the Cowboys. “You do whatever your [new] team needs.”
Defensive end Corey Wootton said he didn’t think any of Idonije’s personal insights affected how the Lions played the Bears.
“They kinda knew from the past games,” Wootton said, “how much we stunted.”
Instead, he said, Bears linemen might have indicated where they were going before the snap.
“From certain times, I think we were doing a little bit of tipping it off, with our stances and where we’re looking,” Wootton said. “I think the biggest thing is, usually when the offensive line hears someone making a call on the D-line, they obviously anticipate a stunt.”
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who played for the Saints for six years, said “no one’s coming to me for any tips” about the Bears’ opponent on Sunday.
They don’t need to.
“They see what they’ve gotta see on tape,” he said.