Joe Mazzulla praises Jerod Mayo, admits to stealing play designs from the Patriots

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is always looking for a competitive edge. Whether it’s learning from opposing teams or finding inspiration from his favorite movie, the Rhode Islander knows he needs to cast a wide net to give his team the right strategies to compete for a coveted 18th championship this spring.

In fact, as Mazzulla explained Wednesday before Boston’s win over the San Antonio Spurs, some of his play designs come not from the hardwood but the gridiron. In lending his support to incoming New England Patriots head coach Jerrod Mayo, Mazzulla told reporters he sometimes borrows plays from other sports directly.

“He’s been around a long time, he’s coached there, played there, I don’t need to give him any advice,” Mazzulla said of Mayo. “He does have my support and I can’t wait to go over there and sit with him, and just learn from him.”

Mazzulla was asked about his football fandom. He said he is indeed a fan, and that he uses football and other sports as inspiration for crafting new plays and strategies.

“You take a look at their defensive schemes, and their ability to pass guys off, that’s something that I pay attention to a lot.” Mazzulla said. “I think teams are getting really creative in their pre-snap motions, which is kind of a way of manipulating matchups.”

“Like what Miami does with their pre-snap motion to kind of gain a little bit of momentum before the ball is snapped,” Mazzulla added. “We want to find those small ways.”


Mazzulla explained that he thinks the ways offensive players in football gain advantages is particularly interesting to him. But he also told reporters that the defensive side of football is just as inspiring.

“The guys that play multiple positions and have the ability to guard different matchups.” Mazzulla identified as players of particular interest. “And how teams use their pre snap disguises. That’s kind of like what a zone defense is, right?”

“Take a look at soccer or American football,” Mazzulla continued. “Those two, they’re both essentially matchup zones, and require an ability to pass guys off, know who you’re guarding, or guard an area. It’s all the same.

“I love Jerod (Mayo),” Mazzulla said. “Love the times I got to go over and visit, I got to spend time with him in the linebacker room, in the defensive room with him and Steve (Belichick).”

Some of those visits may have provided tangible results for Mazzulla. In fact, he explained that some of the stuff he’s learned with the Patriots or watching football on television has shown up directly on the parquet.

“We use some of the wide receiver routes for our plays.” Mazzulla said.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire