Option Routes Signal Change For Jackson, Eagles’ WRs

As soon as the whistle blows, Eagles wide receivers are asked to shift their attention to the next play.

That doesn’t mean jogging back behind the line of scrimmage and huddling up – not anymore, anyway. Instead, it means turning their attention to the sidelines, identifying the hand signals and hustling to the right spot in the formation.

However, that’s just the beginning of the process. It’s not only the quarterback’s job to make decisions based on the look of the defense. In Chip Kelly’s offense, wide receivers will have option routes – plays where they are asked to assess the coverage and adjust their path accordingly.

“For sure. I think that’s the freedom that we’re capable to have out there,” said DeSean Jackson. “Depending on the defense, if the defender’s way back, if we can beat ‘em on the go, then that’s the point. But if not, we’re able to still within the route have the option to stop if the cornerback is bailing for his life to not get beat deep. So it’s really a win for the receiver. Going out there, it’s like you have a double route. So if he’s playing on this route, then I can go to something else.”

Chris Brown of SmartFootball.com has written about the importance of option routes in the original single-back spread offense. He also discussed it in relation to the Giants and Victor Cruz.

Meanwhile, Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports wrote about option routes last year.

The philosophy goes hand in hand with Kelly’s desire to take advantage of every inch on the field. But it requires that the quarterback and wide receivers are on the same page. Mistakes can lead to sacks, turnovers and disaster.

“At times, there are four decisions that a receiver needs to make after the snap the way our offense is,” Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea told The Boston Globe last June. “That’s one of the advantages of our offense, that we give players a lot of flexibility within the system to take what the defense gives us. And that’s definitely something that’s unique about our offense.”

Jackson said that in the past, for the most part, he stuck with the route that was called and “never really had the flexibility” to make changes. Now, he’s being asked to learn all the different wide receiver positions because he doesn’t know where he might be lined up on any given play.

“It’s definitely tough, honestly, because I’ve never had to learn everybody’s position,” Jackson said. “I only really had to know one position which was the Z wide receiver. Now it’s like I’m learning the X, the A, the Y, and really just knowing the concepts of the offense. Right now, it’s at a very comfortable level where I’m able to go out there and see the signals and go out there and get my job done.”

The sixth-year wide receiver expects the new concepts to provide more opportunities for him to get the ball in his hands.

“A lot of times, they open up and try to not let me get back deep, but they’re going to have to play honest,” Jackson said. “I don’t mind taking underneath passes and trying to get 15, 20 yards a catch. As long as I’m able to move the chains and keep that going, I think we’ll be alright.”

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  • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

    Love the concept, but fear the execution…

    • Absecon

      My thoughts exactly!

    • cliff henny

      go 4 wide, each with 4 option routes…yeah, please play foles

      • Capt. Undapants

        I’m sorry, but where is this confidence in Foles coming from? I’ve posted this many times. I watched Foles throw at least two dropped interceptions per game. This guy was a third round pick for a reason. His decision making is not substantially better than Vick’s.

        And Barkley is a USC qb. Usually I don’t believe schools make a certain player. But let’s review USC QBs: Carson Palmer (one good season), Matt Leinhart (yeah…), John David Booty (never heard of him?), and, my personal favorite, Mark the butt fumble Sanchez. 3 of the 4 I named were first round picks as Barkley was slated to be. Once again. Fourth a reason.

        Am I cheering against these guys? No. I want a Super Bowl and will love whoever gives me one. I just want to know where this love is coming from. Am I just seeing something different? Being a pessimist?

        • That guy

          If you’re counting dropped ints, you’re not going to want Vick in there by any means.

          Foles has “football IQ” in spades. He was great in the hurry-up and called the game-winner in Tampa bay. It’s hard to teach a 33yr old QB who has always struggled reading defenses (with only one route to keep in mind) and relied on sheer talent. You can’t give a veteran a pass because of the crappy line and judge a rookie harshly.

          • aub32

            I don’t know what you’re using to determine someone’s “football IQ”. What about when Foles saw Mac late and then threw a errible pass. I get his hand was injured, but regardless he threw the ball late. Or when later in the same game, he took the sack on the final play of the game. I wouldn’t exactly say that was a football savy move. I am rooting for any one of them to emerge, but I just don’t see why some people think Foles has this enormous football intellect.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Tampa Bay…… the Worse Pass Defense in the League in 2012 is the barometer on which Foles is judged….. Nothing about the mauling and slow delivery or maligned footwork that characterized Nick Foles and the inability to not steer down receivers…… just looking at the Tampa Bay game

            There’s not a person that has ever played a down of organized Football and been good who would agree that Nick Foles is a ready NFL Quarterback

          • The Legend

            what about commenting “IQ” heyooooooo!!!

        • CJ

          I think the “confidence” isn’t that. More like optimism. But anyway, someone Pro-Foles might be able to state this better than I (I’m still neutral until I see more of what Kelly plans to do). It’s that we’ve seen what Vick can do with a full allotment of tools on offense in years past. Last year, we saw what Foles could do with one starting offensive lineman, and very few starters at WR, TE, and RB at his disposal.

          There was literally a game last year (vs. TB) where the team’s leading receiver was Jason Avant, the leading rusher was Foles (who says he can’t run the read option! /sarcasm). But you know what? He didn’t suck. He took a licking (6 sacks), but hung in there, showed some moxie, threw for nearly 400 yards. Oh, and they won the game and broke a losing streak that literally spanned half the season. Sure it’s one game, but for a rookie with all that was going around him and the dearth of talent at the time, that’s an accomplishment.

          I think part of what’s happening is that the Pro-Vick fans throw out last season due to injuries and put the ’11 Vick up against Foles, when Foles had the exact same injury issues Vick had in 12 (actually, you could argue more).

          No one’s saying Foles is the franchise, but they’d just like to see him get a fair shot. I think most reasonable fans can accept that Vick isn’t the franchise at this point. He’s at BEST, an inconsistent QB who depends far too much on his legs for his age, with limitless untapped potential and an obscene amount of physical tools. While some view that as a positive, others are concerned that at this stage of his career, whatever “untapped potential” he has at this point is going to remain untapped for the duration of his career.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            For the love of god, Tampa Bay had the worse defense in the NFL, and ranked 32nd of 32 teams in pass defense in 2012.

            Andy Reid did nothing to help Foles by throwing him to the wolves last year and may have in fact hampered his development. True Foles looked good in pre season, against future insurance salesmen and sporting goods clerks.

            In 235 passing attempts , Foles was sacked 20 times before being carted off the field, and amassed 6 interceptions and 8 fumbles, compared to 5 tds. What makes anyone believe he can hold up under the constant pounding of the NFL he didn’t do well in those 235 passing attempts.

            Thats not to mention his wrecked mechanics

        • theycallmerob

          The Foles confidence, if I had to guess, is coming more from his reputation and physical traits on display both in college and the NFL, with the caveat being that he was (1) thrown into the fire last year on a (2) bad team in the middle of a wasted season, with (3) lame duck coaches and a (4) backup o-line. I’m not saying he’s all-pro; but his play last year is not a valid indicator of his skill and potential.

          And that’s a terribly weak argument against Barkley if you’re holding him accountable for the fools who came before him. Starting to sound like the national media. That angle has been debunked numerous times, on this blog and others.

          • Capt. Undapants

            Yeah man, I don’t like the Barkley argument myself. I said that. But my main thing is not one, not a couple, ALL the USC QBs recruited by Pete Carroll (which I believe Barkley was) have failed on a pro level. All. It’s a weak argument, I agree. However, read those names again. They each have a common denominator.

            I’m not saying that Barkley won’t come in and wow. I’m just saying that, based on history, people should temper their expectations a bit.

        • cliff henny

          more of a joke, than confidence in foles. i’m rooting for foles, will cheer on vick, and be watching saturday football closely for our ’14 qb.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          The first thing you learn in Philly about Football is not to just blindly accept what the Eagles put out about personnel.

          Someone new or a draftee is never as good as Howie makes them out to be in the press. Who and what they are will be determined between the white lines.

        • PhillyALLDay

          Absolutely ridiculous argument. I agree with the Foles comment and he certainly is raw and needs a lot of work. the potential is there but we have not seen enough to declare him a savior NOT by any means. however i do disagree with the Barkley comment. the kid was drafted in the 4th rd! He was not a 1st rounder who has to live up to these great expectations. he will be a work in progress. Palmer was not a bad qb. they won a ton of games with him in his prime. the talent around him was fading and the whole getting out of Cincy thing killed him. he was def a top 10 qb when the bengals were winning games. As for barkley, he is the most ready out of all qbs coming out of USC. he’s a smart kid with very good decision making skills. he can make reads at the line (which is what was sorely needed in philly), makes quick throws, and has a high football IQ. not saying he is a savior either but def has potential to be a good starter and has all the mechanics and to label him as a bust based on past USC failures isn’t fair. Sanchez is a waste!!! please don’t ever compare those 2. i believe barkley will be a solid started for chip kelly because ppl dont realize that kelly has not always had a running qb, he just always adjusted to his qb’s strengths. we finally have a coach who plays to the qb’s strength and doesn’t turn a runner into a pocket passer

    • G

      This is exactly what i was thinking as I read the article lol…. Sounds fantastic on paper… But this team has had too many things that sound fantastic on paper in the past 2 years for me to get any excitement over it… Time to see how it goes in preseason

    • CJ

      same here. Can the undersized Vick see the same coverage in traffic that Jackson sees on the outside? Seems like with a shorter QB, this INCREASES the chances for turnovers, not decreases it.

      Read option aspect of offense: Advantage Vick
      Option Route aspect: advantage Foles/Barkley

      • aub32

        So are you telling me Drew Brees wouldn’t succeed in an option route offense?

        • CJ

          Did you seriously compare Vick and Brees? Why because they’re the same height and position? That’s about all they have in common.

          Brees sees things before they happen. Vick is what? 32? 33? And still hasn’t proven he can. Period, end of story.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Brees throws as many ints a year as Vick and Eli, Brees also has better receiving corps and an exceptional tight end that Vick doesn’t have.

            The talk of Vick throwing a lot of ints is not a reality compare Vick Ints to Eli, Brees, Phillips, Ryans and many other QBs in the league and he doesn’t come close to throwing as many as his peers in that one group mentioned.

            Fumbles are another story, if you don’t want your QB to fumble it’s best to protect him something which was shoddy with the Eagles last season.

            Vick was hit 180 times, Foles was sacked 20 times in 235 passing attempts. Foles fumbled 8 times in the mauling he was subject to behind the Eagles line, so the problem isn’t exclusive to Vick. However, the biased media in Philly characterizes Vick as the Tune over machine and ignores Foles turn overs by way of fumbles and interceptions.

            What motive could the Philly media have in giving Foles a pass on ball security?

          • CJ

            The stats you’re pulling are from Vick’s receivers running conventional routes. How do you expect that to change when those become option routes and Vick essentially as a shorter QB has to: 1) see past the line, not just downfield but for shorter, mid routes
            2) read coverages and essentially read receivers minds
            3) process all of this and get the ball out in the timeframe that Kelly expects

            Do you expect that to increase his INTs, decrease them, or will it really have no change at all?

            In fairness to Vick, I’ve seen him read the D at the line and make the proper call before the snap consistently, in one game as an eagle. Week 8 in 2011 v. Dallas, coming off a bye. It’s in there somewhere, but even that wasn’t his best game statistically. But Reid did give him the keys and he did a heck of a job with it. Not sure what came of that Vick since though.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Conventional Routes in philly means Slow Developing deep down field routes.

            There has never been much progressive or innovative about Andy Reid’s game plan or offensive schemes..

            He tried for many years to do something in the passing game he did not have the personnel to accomplish.

            DeSean and Maclin are not going to defeat stellar teams by themselves, neither has the moxie to exploit the underneath of a defense. It’s the No.1 Receiver who works the intermediate and neither has shown a sustained ability to mingle in the meat of a defense. It’s difficult to tell in Philly who exactly is the No.1 Receiver.

            Furthermore, your idea about the passing scheme in an Option offense is totally off base this isn’t a progression read attack offense.

            This isn’t Andy Reid’s passing scheme, the Option is totally different and simplified. It’s pretty much the basic passing attack built on the defense being out of position.

            irrespective to Vick, there’s not been a QB in Philly who has shown an sustained ability to connect with Receivers save TO and McNabb, on a consistent basis under Andy Reid. For many years Westbrook saved the Eagles underneath out of the backfield. You’ve not seen in Philly a Tight End or Receiver capable of earning a living making the tough catch or gaining 6 yards when the team needs 5 to move the chains.

          • CJ

            Everything you said in this post I totally agree with, not sure where you think I don’t (or don’t understand). Where we disagree is how it applies to Vick and whether he’s shown to date much capability and/or competence to pull it off.

            I gave him credit in one game about a year and a half ago where he made adjustments well on the fly, which wasn’t even a good game for him statistically, but they pounded the Cowboys at every turn and everything he called work. BUT, that’s coming off a bye, and never happened again from my observation.

            Show me more examples where he was able to make adjustments well, whether at the line or however you choose to define it. I’m all ears. It has little to do with height, it’s just that his height doesn’t help with things of this nature.

            I’ve you’ve played the position and/or have common sense, you’d know that it’s a lot easier to anticipate and react to what’s in front of you when the guys that are 6.5 feet tall in front of you are in their stance, as opposed to standing up, moving around, and trying to prevent people from killing you. If he hasn’t shown (to me at least) that he can read and react to what’s going on before the snap consistently, how can I trust he can do it after the snap?

            Time’s yours.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        That maybe because you’ve never seen Dan Mario, Brees, or Wilson play.

        • CJ

          Height isn’t the be all end all here, I never said it was. It’s a contributing factor that does not help. That is all.

          I’ve asked two very simple questions above:

          1) Assuming Vick’s the starter, do you expect that a change to option routes will increase his INTs, decrease them, or will it really have no change at all?

          2) If he hasn’t shown (to me at least) that he can read and react to what’s going on before the snap consistently, how can I trust he can do it after the snap?

          Just answer the questions.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            It’s just not Vick but all of the QBs who benefit. Once, in the Reid scheme where there were no options, now there’s an alternative target depending on what the defense gives an offense.

            No, I don’t think his Ints will go up, he doesn’t throw a lot of Ints compared to his peers in his Division and Conference. He avg 14 per year through is career. The idea he’s thrown more than the top 10 QBs in the league is pure myth. The stats are online for review.

            This option is a benefit over the roster, not exclusively for Vick, Foles stands to benefit just as much as Vick or Barkley, Foles took 20 Sacks, in 235 attempts before being injured and rendered useless for the season, and amassed 8 fumbles and 6 ints being punished in the pocket also.

            The point is the days of waiting in the pocket on slow down field routes has ended in Philly, for a more common sense approach.

    • Stephen Stempo

      It’s all going to hinge on how good of a teacher Kelly is. So far nothing has shown me he isn’t a fantastic teacher, but we’ll see. The players the coaches and the QB are going to have to be on the same page.

      Can’t find the quote but I remember chip saying somewhere that the players should know (well, have a good idea) what plays are going to be called before they’re called. I believe this is what makes the Pats offense so good, all the players KNOW what’s going on and why.

      • cliff henny

        that’s one of the main reason’s he was such a hot candidate, he is a great teacher, whether it’s on an individual or his scheme. look at his recruiting classes. his were graded worse than Penn States on average. also, look at draft, not alot were high picks. they have a couple players, but no where near the teams that amassed similar records. he is able to do more with less. why i really liked the hire.

        • xlGmanlx

          Agreed, you can tell just by the nature of his press conferences. He is literally coaching some of the press, which is among other things, based on teaching. He obviously gets the leadership portions as well.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        I reserved my opinion on Kelly, but something as simple as giving the receiver the option to change out of their routes demonstrates to me his forward thinking and the application of common sense.

        This is a major discussion on this board simply because people exclusively watch the Eagles and have had questionable decision on execution drilled into their head from watching Andy experiment over the years.

        Watching Andy Reid isn’t watching some of the best Football Coaching in the Phila area. Some of the colleges run pretty good programs and have exceptional coaching and innovative applications and scheme. Penn and Delaware are worth watching if you enjoy good football strategy.

  • Bdawk20

    Very telling of the predictability of Andy Reid’s offense – not only did he not adapt to the defense overall, he didn’t let his players adapt on the fly (which is being done elsewhere and has been for a while). This just continues to prove that the game has passed Andy by.

    • Septhinox

      I’m not a defender of Andy at all, but you make it seem like most of the NFL was doing this 20 years ago. News…very few do this even today.

      • Capt. Undapants

        Agreed. There was a huge wave of this around the 03-06 span. But head coaches claimed that execution proved very hard. This is also when many coaches dismissed option routes. They’ve always been around. They peak their heads then disappear again. Hopefully Chip has simplified it some. Seemed to work at Oregon…

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        That’s true, but it’s elementary and a old strategy for a receiver to recognize defensive stunts and exploit the weak areas on the fly to give his QB a quick target.

        Breaking off routes isn’t a new concept.

      • poetx99

        this is actually very par for the course in the NFL and college. you can go overboard with the number of options, but for a Z receiver not to be able to convert a fade to a shorter route (or convert a short route to a fade vs. press) is crazy.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          It’s as basic as hiking the ball. This is not some modern innovative scheme. It’s absolutely common sense.

          Kelly fore warned he employed a pretty simple approach to coaching.

          I’ll always respect Andy Reid for his work in Philly, but after a while he was a prove me wrong kind of coach.

      • Bdawk20

        Actually, you misinterpreted. Andy hasn’t been a head coach in this league for 20 years. Meaning, a game can’t pass Andy Reid by from the day he started coaching with the Eagles, so you are reading my comment incorrectly as, in order for a game to pass someone by, time has to elapse. The game started passing Andy by starting post-Super Bowl, but really post JJ (though things were not all great in between). So, teams have been doing this for the past 6-7 seasons (the Giants for instance) which is when this game really started beating Andy.

      • CJ

        Which is why someone like Reid of all people should have made the adjustment. This isn’t prevalent, but it’s not new either. An offensive minded coach, should be aware of these types of ideas in the past, and knowing that the NFL is cyclical, at least look into it. If you’re QB is getting mauled, give him options. Break off routes! Run the ball! Do something!

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          It’s not automatic, the recognition has to be taught to the receivers. If the receiver can’t identify roving defenders dropping into zones, or abandoning zone and why they are less likely to change their pattern to be a hot target.

          If a receiver comes from a program that teaches this at this level he’s going to change his pattern because it’s been a part of his success he’s been taught.

          However, the quick decisions involved in an Option aren’t exclusive to the passing attack, if you were able to go to the Eagles practices you’re going to see a lot of work surrounding the basic QB exchange to the running back. In the Option the decisions are made up to point the QB completes any exchange.

          An intended exchange to the Back could be changed at the last moment to resemble simple play action, in what we used to term as belly in before the QB tucks the ball and either runs or pitches to another option. The quick release and fast decisions aren’t exclusive to passing.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      No doubt. If you were attending games and watched plays developing you often saw receivers with their backs to the play running their routes as the QB is getting mauled in the pocket.

      On many occasions the Eagles could have had a 7 yard catch and moved the chains but receivers were disciplined to a fault and finished a 15 yard route to no avail.

  • thestan

    How long into the first game does Chip Kelly have to yell at Maclin and Djax to knock off the chatter with the dbacks and get back to the line.
    It seems like Maclin is close to getting a flag thrown on him after every single catch he makes…shoving and talking smack after picking on 7 yrds on 2nd and 23 – .

    • Septhinox

      That seems like it was a reflection of the lack of control Andy had. I don’t see that being a problem with Chip.

    • Brian

      If he does that, or Celek shows the ref the proper way to signal a first down, they’re going to look like fools because the rest of the offense will be lining up.

    • Stephen Stempo

      Yeah. This part of maclins game always drives my friends and I nuts. He could be alone, 15 yards down field, after a run play, to the opposite side of the field and he’s doing the “throw a flag” motion. I wonder if in Maclins head he’d have 2000 yards receiving if not for the refs.

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    Football is a simple sport if the fundamentals and common sense are strictly adhered. And breaking off a route to take advantage of any chance at positive yards the defense is wiling to surrender is as fundamental as it gets.

    This is a concept that seemed to skip the Eagles and Andy Reid who for many years relied on slow developing down field routes exposing their QB to mayhem and misfortune.

    • CJ

      I don’t agree with you all the time, but how can anyone thumb this down? Is it just that you said it? This is the most sense you’ve ever made on this board :)

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Not to anyone who’s actually played and, or coached a down of organized football and understand the concepts of the game.

    • xlGmanlx

      I think at some point you also have to place blame on 5 for being too cautious with his throws, probably his lack of self-confidence helped contribute to sloppy mechanics and a refusal to take free yardage when given instead to hold the ball/take sack. He was never one to be able to be consistent (didn’t take coaching)with his placement or able to “throw the receivers open” with his anticipation. His decision making and intelligence were his downfall and his reluctance to embrace the very tools that made him so explosive, so special. However I agree, Reid’s stubbornness and reluctance to mix it up are part of the reason he is no longer here.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        A number of the things you mentioned are taught and built by chemistry over time.

        DeSean and Maclin were drafted and should have by this point been coached up better. It’s easy to identify by watching them run routes and the inability out of their cuts to get separation.

        There hasn’t been a QB in Philly during the Reid era who has thrown to a receiver based on anticipation. So apparently it’s not taught here.

        Nobody presses DeSean so he’s not had to learn to plant and cut appropriately to get separation on his breaks. DeSean could have 5 yd completions every time he lines up.

  • aub32

    Nothing against big red but I am so glad for this change. I’ve been wanting Jackson to have the freedom to run the entire route tree for years. I envision how he caught that quick out vs the cowpies and then burned the entire team. He doesn’t need to strictly run go routes, and there are plenty of other routes that are effective without him going over the middle, such as outs, zigs, hitches, and comebacks that he could do some major damage.

    • cliff henny

      how about some motion, or a new formation once a year. get him 1 on 1 w/ a safety on lbr running short outs he can turn upfield. expecting big year from d-jax.

      • GEagle

        offensively, I think Chip is really going to put a dent in Reid’s Genius…
        As for Djax, it’s hard not to get excited, but I have a hard time trying to predict his role. We will be running the ball a lot, and have a ton of weapons in the passing game to spread the ball around…So while I don’t expect a drastic increase in catches, I think there is a chance to see that big play ability again…in so many ways, chip will make it very difficult to just key in on Desean and take him out of the game the Way Andy allowed…Chip will make a DC pay. ONce this offense reaches its flow, it’s going to be pick your poison

        • aub32

          I think that’s what makes DJax special and arrants all that money he makes. He will never be Megatron or Fitz, but he can make plays literally anywhere on the field. I don’t think he’ll have a ton of catches, but if he touches the ball 4-7 times a game averaging 80-110 yds I’m fine. Not to mention everything else that is opened up in the middle. With a CB a S dedicated to DJax, let’s see Ertz or Benn on a LB.

        • xlGmanlx

          He could catch a quick slant, with his quickness easily turn 2-3 into 5-7 yards on one play like money if they cheat towards the run. The possibilities are endless when you are running a high rate of plays and force the defense to tip their personnel or formations.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        There is not a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL willing to leave a Safety or Corner one on one with DJax, that’s a fantasy that will not prevail.

        That’s a quick ticket to the unemployment line and a decision only motivated by the coach’s ego.

        You can see when the Eagles broke the offensive huddle, the single focus of the defense was where is DJax, if he was out a play you see the safeties coming up, once he returns you see before snap the safeties floating back toward the goal line.

        • xlGmanlx

          But the way you take away them putting the top on the offense is to exploit him short to intermediate or with motion. That was Cliff’s point, there was a counter to that instead of hoping you could slip behind gargantuan cushions.

          • cliff henny

            dutch is white noise, i just ignore him. but yes, gman, that and you can always create formations that dictate coverages. when d-jax is lined up outside numbers it’s alot easier to get corner w/ safety help. put him in motion to trip behind 2 TEs near line, not going to have same coverage. sure kelly’s not going to let everyone in stadium know where jackson lining up every play. get ball in his hands in stride with room to run, he’s up there with the best.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Had you ever seen a defense attempt to play DeSean one on one, he’s often in motion that’s not new for him. You think lining him up in the slot with two Tight Ends is going to stop the 2 deep safety defense on D Jax? Celek still can’t beat the defense, with Ertz we can only hope he can exploit that advantage. But at no cost will a DC surrender and not play DJax with dedicated defenders, they never have.

            No DC in the league tries or attempts to disguise their defense to defend D Jax. I don’t think you know what you’re looking at, unless you just watch on television and then it’s difficult to see the reaction of a defense playing D Jax and or depth of the Safeties.

            When the huddle breaks, there’s but one focus of a defense playing Philly and that’s to locate and shift to DJax, nobody else can beat you in the route.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Andy stopped running D Jax on intermediate routes after he was knocked out in Atlanta.

            Sure it sounds reasonable, but DJax over the middle in front of the safeties and linebackers is not a common practice under Andy Reid, occasionally he ran a quick out but he was exclusive to stretching a defense.

            The Failure was the other receivers and wooden hand Tight End to consistently catch in the meat of the defense when DJax takes the safeties deep.

  • poetx99

    unreal. i always assumed that eagles had option routes, as they are a staple of the WCO, which is what andy’s offense was originally based upon.

    so you’re saying, we had ALL of the bad parts of the WCO (long, complex play verbiage, relative lack of audibling and blitz adjustments) and damn near none of the good parts (quick slants and other short routes, option routes)?

    no wonder the offense was so predictable. so if desean saw the corner playing 15 yds off, he couldn’t adjust it to a hitch or comeback or slant? damn.

    there’s going to be a considerable year to year improvement JUST due to things like being willing to run when the defense takes safeties way out of the box AND taking what the coverage gives us instead of forcing the deep ball when teams are actively taking it away.


    • Stephen Stempo

      Honestly after 2003 andy really wasn’t running the true WCO, he fell in love with the chunk play. I remember 2001 when they went to the NFCC game and it was screens and runs and screens and runs and crossing routes and Mcnabb taking off. As Mcnabb got better I think Andy started falling in love with his arm (McNabb had a cannon sadly even on short routes I don’t miss those 100MPH screen passes,).

      Granted Andy was good at designing these plays and the Eagles offense scored somewhere around the most point in the league over andy’s first 10 years.

      • xlGmanlx

        Especially when 36 was really turning into something special. It wasn’t rocket science, they had somebody that created mismatches and destroyed angles, they refused to let him get into a rhythm and feature him. Hopefully Kelly sees what he has in Shady and runs to setup the pass. Doesn’t have to be 70/30%, but 45/55 or 55/45% wouldn’t exactly be unwelcome and potentially fruitful for the whole line and shady.

  • Coach McGuirk

    This sounds terrifying if Vick is under center. I just can’t see him recognizing the D and anticipating these option routes or even get to the point where he’ll look at the second or even the third option (yes Vick, there are third options) before tucking and trying to run. This is where Foles skills outshines Vicks mobility.

    • nicksaenz1

      And Barkley

    • aub32

      I love how it’s assumed Foles will be so much better at this. Watch the tape and see how many times Foles locked in one receiver coming out of the huddle. He never made a run for it because he never would’ve gotten anywhere. Meanwhile, many fans overlook Vick’s ability to run a no huddle offense. If Foles wins the job, fine, but I am amazed how many people think he’s Peyton Manning when it comes to diagnosing defenses.

      • rluderitz

        Not for nothing, but we’re talking about a rookie quarterback thrown into a disaster not of his making. I have no idea if Foles will pan out (and neither do you) but to suggest that he can’t get the job done because locked onto receivers under those conditions is a bit bizarre. I would have been shocked if he HADN”T done that last year. You’re right that he shouldn’t be annointed as the next Joe Montana, but perspective is needed on all sides. Let’s hold off on making blanket statements about quarterbacks with less than a year of experience. (What am I thinking? look where I am.)

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          Why hold off, this isn’t your father’s NFL.

          Quarterback, and Coaches alike today are expected to compete at the highest lever despite the transition from College to the NFL.

          The Standard has been set. There aren’t many QB today who come to the NFL and struggle as Foles did under pressure of an NFL Rush and return in a later season to amount to much of anything.

          You either have it or you don’t there is no gray area.

          It’s not the best practice to expose all rookies to the punishment that can be a sunday afternoon in a NFL stadium, some are ruined and never compete.

          Kevin Kolb is one of them right here in Philly.

          • rluderitz

            Really? I suggest you go back to the tapes of either Manning in their rookie years. Take a breath. I’m not sold on Foles… yet, but you make it sound as if her were drowning out there, which was hardly the case.

          • GoBirds1

            Dont get so worked up over Douche’s, I mean Dutch’s comments, He is borderline retarded.

          • Wilbert M.

            That’s just wrong.

          • Stephen Stempo

            but true.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            How long ago was it that Manning came in the league and since how many have come in and not missed a beat or been a complete debacle under center from the transition?

          • Stephen Stempo

            er.. that was 1 year. I love how 1 class of QB’s come out and have decent success right away and all of the sudden that’s the rule not the exception.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Actually it’s been every class since 2000

            Christian Ponder
            Tim Tebow
            Josh Freeman
            JaMarcus Russell
            Jay Cutler
            Alex Smith
            Jason Campbell
            Aaron Rodgers
            J.P. Losman
            Rex Grossman
            Patrick Ramsey
            Brady Quinn
            this is the list of the QB drafted in the first round of every class back to 2000 who did not start at least 9 games as a rookie.

            Ponder, Smith, Rogers, Cutler, Phillips and Freeman are the only starters today for their teams and other wise known as the exceptions.

            The rest of the starting QBs who were drafted in the first round over that period were plugged into the starting lineups as rookies.

            The probability is greater that if a rookie QB doesn’t secure the starting position right out of college, he’s not going to and, there are exceptions and circumstances, for Rogers, Favre was the circumstance, for Phillips it was Brees.

            The days of transitioning a rookie QB a year or more is over and that trend has existed more than 12 years.

        • aub32

          I never said Foles wouldn’t pan out. Reread my post. I was just asking why so many fans regard him as having such a high football acumen. Sure, he called some audibles, but so did Vick, just not so much emphasis was put on it every single time he did.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      When and where have you actually seen an option team QB go through progressions in the pocket?

      • nicksaenz1

        Who said it’s an option team?

        • Stephen Stempo

          dutch did.

  • nicksaenz1

    I wouldn’t be shocked if by the third game of preseason that Vick is 2nd, even 3rd, on the depth chart. Not saying that’ll be the case, but given his struggles with reading D, it’s entirely plausible, given how Chip requires accuracy before mobility. Receivers having options just doesn’t seem to bode well for him…. Just gotta keep winning the day, Nick and Mark.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      How are you so sure it’s been Vick reading the defense and not the scheme which was changed in 2011 to box Vick into the pocket and wait on the routes to develop down field?

      It’s not like there were options for Vick or Foles to throw into the meat of a defense because the Eagle receivers since TO left had nto been effective between the hash marks.

      There’s not an Eagle, you’ve seen with a quicker release or as accurate than Vick. So who would you be comparing him?

      • nicksaenz1

        First, if we’re playing the “how do you know ____” game, how do you know the scheme change wasn’t because he can’t read a defense? The offense was about quick reads when it was supposed to be Kolb’s turn. When he got hurt and Vick took over, it didn’t change much but most of his awesome plays came on scrambles, not within the quick strike system. The system changed because they wanted to protect him from himself because he’s a walking injury waiting to happen, but since he couldn’t make the quick read, it had to be 7 step drops with a slower developing play.

        Second, the accuracy is an absolute joke. He’s 56.3% completion for HIS CAREER and has thrown over 60% completion for a season ONCE! Are you kidding? I’ll admit he’s got a nice release and throws a beautiful ball but to call him accurate is pure comedy. To answer your question, Foles, Kolb in his 11 starts, and McNabb have all been more accurate than Vick. Sooo you’re dumb.

      • Stephen Stempo

        How are you so sure it was the scheme that was changed in 2011 that boxed vick into the pocket and not the fact that he’s getting slower. Maybe not straightline speed but he’s not as quick. McNabb was more accurate than vick. so was peete, Garcia was more accurate than vick, Kolb was probably more accurate than vick.

        • Stephen Stempo

          also more accurate than vick, Doug pederson, A.j.Feeley, Randal cunningham, Ron Jaworski. Though i assume if you count the passes vick has completed to defenders it prbbaly bumps his accuracy up over 60%

          • nicksaenz1

            Hate to break it to ya, none of these 4 were more accurate, which is actually pathetic. However, in his Eagles days, Feeley was more accurate. McNabb, Peete, Garcia, and Kolb were, though.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          You stated a good point. There’s still something to be said for the drops that hampers a QB’s completion percentage, and there are more than enough drops by the Eagles current receiving corps to go around, not to mention those interception that bounce off receivers hands into the waiting hands of the Eagles opposition. That’s one of the major issues in the receivers not being effective in the heart of the defense.

          Again, this isn’t in defense of Vick, but this is a common ailment over all of the QBs on the roster.

          He doesn’t look slow to me but what he doesn’t look like is he’s using his instincts as he used to in Atlanta.

          People who say he’s slow have no idea of his abilities, and on television it may look like he’s slow but I can assure you it’s best not to blink when the Eagles have the ball and he’s under center.

          How do you quantify the probability of Kolb being more accurate, that’s interesting.

          Where the drops are concerned, the Kid, Sheil that authors his form keeps a pretty reliable matrix and shares the information during the season.

  • JofreyRice

    The whole team looking to the sidelines for the playcall? Sounds like college stuff.

    • xlGmanlx

      So 11 players can quickly see the play and getting get in their sets? Get over yourself.

    • Token

      Its a bit embarrassing . Is this going to be like in college when a QB gets his audibles from the sideline? If so thats a bit much.

      • JofreyRice

        Who knows? Maybe it will work, but looking to the sidelines is absolutely the Oregon/high speed college football model. I wonder if he’ll do the Image quadrant thing?


        It’s funny, quite a few folks on this website are completely in hero-worship mode for Kelly; a guy who has a 0-0 record in the pros. As if questioning anything about the process is the highest insult. All of the while imagining that Kelly’s going to be doing something utterly different than what he did at Oregon. I’m as excited as anyone else to see how it all comes together, but it’s hard for me to understand that mindset.

        • Stephen Stempo

          maybe it’s because Kelly didn’t always do the same thing everywhere he was in college. I don’t get mad when people are cautious, I;m cautious. I get mad when people are naive and say “Chip Kelly only runs one offense and his QB’s ALWAYS RUN and this and blah.” as if talking in absolutes makes them cooler.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      A lot of the things Chip does arent ordinary for the NFL…thats why hes so innovative and is going to change the league

  • JamesDDl

    The more I hear and learn about CK and what it seems he will be trying to do offensively, the more I have concerns about the ability of our receivers to get the job done. Sure would be nice to have a real top shelf all-around guy.

    • eaglepete

      players perform at different levels in different schemes to a large degree. If you mean a top notch possession guy, Avant could do well here if given more chances or a guy like Ertz at TE. Same with Benn. We shall see, and will be nice if djax can get some space to work with, could break some big plays which is his mo.

      • JamesDDl

        Good point on the TE – they might fit the bill. But I was talking about someone that would be considered in the same class as one of the Johnsons, Fitzgerald, Wayne, V Jackson, Marshall, Bowe etc. Larger, fast and can dependably pull in 6 – 10 balls a game. A Top 10 receiver. I like Avant, but he is not in that category. And yes I realize these guys are hard to come by.

        • aub32

          With the exception of IWayne, none of those guys have won anything. Those teams have to invest so much into one player that they rarely are able to put a good second option on the field next to them. NE, GB, NY, or BAL didn’t have one superstar WR when they won their championships. They all had good group of guys. I think that’s what we may be seeing here. Not saying we will win it all this year, but I like what we have over what the Texans, Colts, or Lions have collectively.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Are you kidding me? From top to bottom, without a doubt, Houston’s roster is better than ours. It’s not even close. JJ Watt alone is better than every single player on the Eagles roster by a long shot.

            The Colts? I would give up any combination of players on our roster for Andrew Luck. Arguably one of the best rookie QB’s to enter, completely rewrote the rookie record book. Indy is barely going to skip a beat from Peyton Manning, and they’ll go right back to winning.

            Matt Stafford passed for 10,000 yards in the last 2 years and he’s only 25. 41 freakin’ TD passes in 2011. Megatron is a once in a lifetime receiver, a complete freak of nature, and he’s only 27. 26 year old Suh on the other side of the ball. The Lions haven’t came close to their peak yet. They blew it last year but the year before they went 10-6 and were in a wildcard game.

            All 3 of those teams have better rosters than us. It’s not even really close. Having a franchise QB easily puts them ahead. Until we have a few more good draft classes, we need to hope Chip can get the best out of what we have.

          • JamesDDl

            Not sure I agree with your correlation. Those winners and the colts had a top QB. That may be the real correlation.

    • xlGmanlx

      Probably will see more of the “length” in the WR position over the next couple of years. Big physical players that aren’t intimidated and can deliver physical performances at the WR position is where it is headed.

  • Jack Waggoner

    Sounds like a variation of the old run and shoot offense.

    • JofreyRice

      “Chuck & Duck” as characterized by Buddy Ryan. Yeah, I think that’s accurate.

      • Jack Waggoner

        The way that was countered most effectively was by zone blitzes. But that was based on a different protection scheme, it sounds like.

  • Wilbert M.

    This should be very interesting as far as what receivers can adapt. Chad (Ohco Cinco) Johnson wasn’t smart enough to be a Patriot. This type of offense relies on intelligence as much as athleticism. Let the games begin!

  • Dr. Rick

    There are some good links at fishduck dot com that really support the articles Sheil and Tim are doing to educate and inform us. There are some good links to understanding the Read/Zone/Spread for those who want to know more.
    PS you might want to post a link back from there to this site.
    This is an awesome site.

  • G

    “I don’t mind taking underneath passes and trying to get 15,20 yards a catch.”
    Great, now we just need him to buy in and catch 5-7 yard balls and fight for every inch.

  • tekism

    I never really understood these option routes for WR, doesn’t this cause a more likely hood of miscalculation between the QB and WRs? The QB is expecting his WR to be on a comeback but he decides to run a slant. How do they prevent these timing issues?

    • Jack Waggoner

      They’re both making the same pre-snap read, probably on the deep safety. The WR in this case is moving one of two ways based on the read.

      If they both read it the same way, the QB will know where the WR is going.

      • tekism

        Makes sense! Thanks for explaining

  • Prowler

    If Chip could get 19-20 yr-old full-time students to grasp this in Eugene, then the 6-yr professionals he’s working with now can without any trouble,….Right?….

  • pevans1