Posted December 02, 2013

Houston’s Antonio Smith seems to think the Patriots are still spying on opponents

AFC East, AFC South, Houston Texans, New England Patriots
Antonio Smith, a/k/a "Tonestradamus." makes himself visible before Sunday's game against the Patriots.

Antonio Smith, a.k.a. “Tonestradamus,” makes himself visible before Sunday’s game against the Patriots. (David J. Phillip/AP)

You may remember that in 2007, the New England Patriots were heavily penalized by the NFL after it was determined that the team had illegally videotaped its opponents over a number of years. Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 (the most a coach has ever been fined in league history), and the Pats were fined $250,000 separately and docked their first-round pick in 2008. The “Spygate” scandal cast a shadow over New England’s undefeated regular season that year and put the franchise’s three Super Bowl wins in the early 2000s under serious doubt in the minds of some. That the Pats continue to be successful without such nefarious tactics is a tribute to Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the building, but one opponent isn’t quite convinced that New England has put the cameras back in the box.

On Sunday, the 2-9 Houston Texans rolled out to a 10-0 lead over the 8-3 New England Patriots, but managed to throw that away with a 34-31 loss that gave Gary Kubiak’s team its 10th loss of the season. It’s a sharp and steep decline for a team that racked up 22 wins in its last two seasons, and defensive lineman Antonio Smith seemed to think that there was more than meets the eye to New England’s comeback.

“You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half,” Smith said after the game, per the Houston Chronicle. “It’s miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We [had never done] it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right.”

Well, it could be that Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels found it relatively easy to adjust to a defense that came into this game ranked 19th in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted defensive metrics. Whether defensive coordinator Wade Phillips put in new wrinkles or not, it’s pretty clear that the wrinkles aren’t working — the Texans have lost 10 straight games.

Actually, Smith started to wonder if other teams weren’t getting the scoop on what the Texans want to do. Could this team be the victim of a league-wide conspiracy?

“Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they work so hard at their craft. But you have to be a descendent of ‘Tonestradamus’ to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast. I got the only crystal ball in existence. I don’t know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something’s going on.”

“Tonestradamus,” by the way, is one of the loquacious Smith’s aliases. It’s one he likes to use when he predicts success for his teammates, such as when he foretold that linebacker Connor Barwin would put up a two-sack performance in late September 2012.  Of course, that prediction was not accurate — Barwin had three sacks all last season, and he didn’t pick up his first one until Oct. 21.

We suspect that “Tonestradamus” newest statement is just as inaccurate, but the mind reels at the thought of what the league would do to the Patriots if they ever tried a Spygate sequel.

In a more serious moment, Smith gave credit to New England’s offense for adjusting to whatever it was the Texans were doing.

“It seemed like they made some changes. They made some calls that freed the tight end [Rob Gronkowski] up a little bit, doing a lot to the tight end in the second half. They were just making plays in the second half. Without seeing the film I can’t tell you how it happened or why, but that was the target in the second half and they found ways that they didn’t find in the first half to get him open.”

And more humbling to Smith is what has happened to his team.

“It’s hard for me to fathom. It still isn’t reality to me. It might be to y’all, but it still ain’t reality to me. I think I’m in a dream. I might wake up and change or something man. I don’t know, but you couldn’t have told me this at the beginning of the season. A nightmare.”

Like it or not, that’s the reality of the situation, folks.

31 comments
DennyCrane
DennyCrane

In order for any con to be believable it must be credible. As Houston is a lock for the #1 pick in the draft, their own star players want out, and nearly the entire team plays like crap, no one will believe that Belichick would resort to cheating to beat that team.

Why risk another $500k fine on a team that a) no one fears and b) everyone can beat?

jbc123
jbc123

This clown wants to outlaw halftime adjustments. No wonder the team has two wins.

KevinDoucette
KevinDoucette

Actually Smith is pretty smart. He knows that everyone hates the Patriots and just bringing it up get everyone going. Now it's a pretty stupid thing to say coming from a 2-10 team but it gets the heat off the Texans for a few hours anyway.

I'd like to know his reason for loosing the other 9 games but I'm sure we'll hear about those later in the week.

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

LOL there you have it folks!  The difference between a team who is 9-3 vs a team who is 2-10.  One team made halftime adjustments and the other simply did not.  So let me get this straight, the Pats have the ability to come back from 24 down on Denver but need a camera to do so down 10 vs the 2 win Texans?!!!! 

To add to this, the Texans had a chance to win on the final drive and failed like they have failed all year.  Stop crying man and move on!

bserious
bserious

He says that the Pats adjusted too quickly, but if that Pats

Boodah
Boodah

This man is a clown.

Robert27
Robert27

Smith's quote "We [had never done] it before" was actually stated "we'd not ever did it before." 

In my estimation, that speaks volumes about exactly how seriously I should take this moron's comments.

coach@yunke.com
coach@yunke.com

Smith talks like a functional illiterate.  Hearing him on the radio I thought it was some mentally challenged person.  I don't expect everyone to be eloquent,  but at least speak better than a first grader.

KcH744
KcH744

It's called making adjustments at halftime. Just take the loss like a man and accept the situation for what it is.

GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

Doug Farrar: 

Way to be an unbiased journalist. Begin the article with a reading of past transgressions.

"The witness is a prostitute and thus her eye witness testimony cannot be trusted!"

Antonio Smith should be fined and the Texans should be docked a 6th round pick. End of discussion.

msandberg0202
msandberg0202

The Texans have been up 4 of the last 5 games at halftime and blown all those leads. I don't think the patriots did anything shady other than beat a team that finds ways to loose every week. Remember the Patriots came back from 25 against a much team the week before? 

Median2
Median2

People need to remember this, Pats haven't won a superbowl since they stopped spying on other teams. Brady's super bowl wins seriously need to be taken with a grain of salt.

jfrost1300
jfrost1300

This is a 2-10 team that has lost the same way the last 5 games, blowing halftime leads...and the Patriots are the ones that spied on them? The other 9 teams that beat them were just good, right? 

margiemarie
margiemarie

Um, ok Smith. Here's what happened. They "spied" on you the whole first half and easily made adjustments to beat you in the second. It's what good teams DO.

MarkATaylor
MarkATaylor

let's not forget McDaniel's spying when he was Broncos coach


Ray1950
Ray1950

If Smith focused more on tackling (he had 2 against the Patriots) instead of shooting his mouth off, the Texans would be better served. But maybe Smith thinks accusing New England of something illegal with not a single ounce of proof takes the pressure off his lousy performance.

bserious
bserious

@KevinDoucette he gave his reason, "teams", as in not just the Pats, are spying on the Texans.  Or, as he mentioned, teams are scouting them, which he may think is also kind of illegal.  Oh, and opponents are making changes based on what the Texans are doing, perhaps that's kind of illegal too, in his mind.  I am rather confused by his shock that a team would react to something the defense put in just this week, something they've never done before?  I'm no NFL expert, but isn't making changes to your game plan each week not exactly a strange thing, isn't it something that all teams do every week, and that all teams watch for in their opponents?

bserious
bserious

(oops, anyway) I get the impression that Smith is just mystified that this super secret and incredibly complicated (to him at least) scheme or whatever was picked up on so quickly.  But if the Pats had "spied", and knew about it already, why would they have had to adjust in the first place, wouldn't they have started out that way?  I wonder if it took a while for Smith to understand this new wrinkle, and just can't imagine that others, who've been in the NFL for years if not decades, were able to figure it out so much faster than he could have.  

I know everybody wants to jump on the Pats due to their history, but Smith started out his statement by saying "teams", as in it's not just the Pats who are spying like this.  I guess all of their opponents are strangely able to pick up on the things the Texans are doing, so the only explanation that works in his mind is they must all be spying.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@msandberg0202 That was because Denver's 2 best players in the secondary were injured at half and they had to go to a zone defense. Brady couldn't do squat against Denver's man defense. Would have been 50-0 Denver had DRC and Ihenacho not been out...

eire966
eire966

@Median2 and the broncos haven't won since Elway...what's your point?

Boodah
Boodah

@Median2 You are a clown. How are those big shoes feeling?

Robert27
Robert27

@Median2 While you're handing out asterisks and grains of salt,  just remember the Broncos were fined a third round pick and hundreds of thousands of dollars for circumventing the salary cap in order to pay Elway and Terrell Davis THE YEAR THEY WON THEIR LAST SUPER BOWL. The Patriots didn't even win in all in '07. 

And while we're at it, Parcell's two SB wins in New York don't count because Belichick was the Giants' Defensive Coordinator.


GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

@Median2 

The Ravens haven't won a Superbowl since Ray Lewis stopped murdering people. Oh wait, yes they have...

John64
John64

@Median2   WHat point do you even think you're making there?  The Pats are the NFL's winningest team since week two of 2007, and Brady's numbers since then dwarf his 2001-2006 stats.  Oh... but they lost two games by 3 and 4 points....  Damn cheaters!! lol... smh...

Hey Median2, I think you need a new tin foil hat.  The one you have on now is looking a little worn out...

jfrost1300
jfrost1300

@MarkATaylor They can spy on defensive signals coming in through the helmet now? C'mon guy...


eire966
eire966

@Joebuckster @msandberg0202   Homer Donk...what about the Patriots loss Jerod Mayo and defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly?  That thin air must be getting to you Bronco's fans.

Robert27
Robert27

17 points simply handed to Denver to start the game. And apparently, the Patriots D is perfectly healthy.

Better win it all this season, skippy. The pressure is on Denver big time because that Manning window of opportunity is closing and closing fast. No more excuses; win it all this season or be gone.

pvs
pvs

@Joebuckster @msandberg0202 Get over it! Take away the points Denver made by the Pats turnovers and reality shows the Broncos scored 7 points in the first half and 7 points in the second half......way far short from scoring 50 points. Pats have six rookies playing on defense because of injuries......good teams survive with good depth.