No-22: The Eagles’ New-School Triple Option

Earlier this week, we looked at how the Eagles packaged the zone read with the bubble screen on several occasions against the Panthers.

The basic premise was simple: If the quarterback saw favorable numbers in the box, he went with the zone read. If he thought he had an advantage on the perimeter, he threw the screen. It was an either/or proposition.

But Chip Kelly and the Eagles ran a different play that actually combines the two. In other words, it’s a zone read and a bubble screen. Or essentially, a new-school triple option.

Take a look at this play from the Eagles’ first drive last week. It looks like a normal zone read. The Eagles leave the right defensive end unblocked. If he stays at home, Nick Foles hands the ball off. If the DE crashes inside, Foles takes off and runs.

avant1a_0821

But as you can see, there’s a little more to it. On the back side, the Eagles have a bubble screen set up to Jason Avant. Foles has two decisions to make on this play. First, he has to choose whether to hand the ball off or keep it. On this particular play, the DE crashes, so Foles keeps it.

Decision two comes after he takes off. Foles can go ahead and run. But he can also sling it to Avant if the slot corner comes up to tackle him.

“Each play is something different,” said QB Dennis Dixon, who is very familiar with the options available in Kelly’s offense. “We’re reading somebody totally different each play. I can’t tell you the specifics of it, but we’re reading somebody in particular, yeah.”

avant1b_0821

The slot corner comes up, and the outside corner is 10 yards away from Avant. So Foles passes the ball to the perimeter, creating an advantage for the offense.

The more common triple option allows the QB to hand the ball off, run it himself or pitch it to a second back. The first two options in this version are similar. But instead of a normal pitch, it’s a bubble screen to the perimeter for the third option.

There’s only one defender outside the numbers, and Riley Cooper’s blocking him.

avant1c_0821

How hard is it for a defense to defend against so many options on one play?

“Hopefully it’s hard. It’s even harder on Riley trying to hold that block that long,” Avant said with a laugh. “The MVP of that play is Riley Cooper. Otherwise my head is rolled off somewhere. That’s what we’re trying to do, put as much pressure on the defense as we can.”

The truth is, if Cooper had been able to sustain a better block on the cornerback, and if the ball had gone to say DeSean Jackson instead of Avant, the Eagles would have had a chance to score on this play. Instead, it was a 6-yard gain.

Another factor to consider is where the QB is when he releases the ball. Is it meant to be a forward pass or a lateral?

“It can be both,” Foles said, not willing to offer up any more details.

Isn’t it a dangerous play if it’s a lateral? An off-target pass or a drop could result in a costly turnover.

“It’s something you’ve got to really work on in practice,” he added.

Dixon insinuated that the pass-option should only be taken if the outside cornerback’s playing far off the line of scrimmage.

“The quarterback has to be smart when he gets to that point,” Dixon said.

“It depends on how the defense is playing us. The quarterback has a lot of options. At the end of the day, we have to be able to have ball security. We just want to put it in our playmakers’ hands.”

Translation: If there’s any doubt, just keep the ball and run.

That’s what happened later in the quarter on the exact same play.

foles1a_0821

Again, the right defensive end is left unblocked. He crashes inside, so Foles keeps it. He’s got Damaris Johnson setting up for the bubble screen with Cooper as the blocker.

foles1b_0821

But this time, the slot corner sticks with the receiver. Foles makes the right call and keeps the ball, picking up 6 yards with his legs.

“If the quarterback chooses not to run the ball if somebody takes him, just to be an option for the quarterback,” Johnson said of his role on the play. “That’s it.”

And of course, the third option is to just hand the ball off. On Michael Vick’s first drive, the Eagles had three inside runs in a row, and each play had the three options built in.

The first one:

vick1a_0821

The unblocked DE gravitates towards Vick. He hands the ball off to McCoy. And the Eagles also have the screen set up.

Play No. 2:

vick1b_0821

Look familiar? Unblocked DE upfield towards Vick. He hands the ball off to McCoy. And they’ve got the screen set up on the perimeter.

And play No. 3:

vick1c_0821

This time, Chris Polk comes in for McCoy. The unblocked DE isn’t upfield, but he froze for a second until he was sure Vick handed it off. And once again, the screen is set up to the bottom of the screen (TV angle cut off the blocker on the outside).

The Eagles had five run plays on Vick’s first possession. All five had the screen element built in.

This concept exemplifies some of the key aspects of Kelly’s offense. Because the Eagles were essentially using the same play over and over again, they could move at a fast pace. Option one is to run the ball if it’s there. But if it’s not, there are options. And the field is spread, forcing the defense to account for every square inch, sideline to sideline.

The play also shows the advantage of having a mobile quarterback. Defenders are forced to make decisions that could potentially lead to disastrous results.

As Evan Mathis put it: “There’s just a lot of opportunities for the quarterback to show their athleticism in this kind of offense. There’s a lot of choices for the quarterback. There’s some plays we run that are options, and if you have a quarterback with the speed that Michael Vick has, then some of those plays can end up being pretty dangerous.”

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  • G_WallyHunter

    Thanks for making me the most informed Eagles fan that I have ever been in the 10 years of following the team
    please don’t get plucked away to a major network, it would be a shame. I have a feeling the both of you are diggin’ what you have here and will make the right decision to avoid the manipulative major corporate networks *cough* ESPN….. Besides, going there would take away all of your freedom in writing and autonomy that has made this blog and it’s content such a hit. Keep up the great work

    • LeClaw

      I love both of them for their work but I don’t see why fans are concerned about them potentially going to ESPN…if they want to go take the opportunity and spread what you do here for other fans!!!

      If you love this more, I’ll be here every day for my Wake-Up call

      • G_WallyHunter

        That’s my point, if they gave in to ESPN then we wouldn’t have content of this quality anymore.
        By all means, I support them to take any opportunities they have in their careers, they’ve earned them. I just think they like it better around here, when there isn’t such a tight ship with strict corporate hierarchy and policy..

        • Maggie

          Don’t want to be too down, but when Greg Moore, the Indy Car driver hit the wall and died, every driver, some owners, some track people, were openly sobbing on camera, while the ESPN guys talked about tire pressure. We have never been interested in anything that network does ever since.

      • Cyrus Robinson

        If this were an ESPN article, it’d be called “Can Tebow Run the New School Triple Action with Aaron Hernandez in Jail?”

        • Maggie

          Best laugh so far today. And it’s true!

    • jon h

      This IS reporting. You’re not inserting your own jated opinions like some of the other coverage, but informing the public and providing a very informative approach. Like other reporting, you’re taking something that’s complex and making it digestable for the lay audience. I love it especially this breakdown. But don’t go too far – I don’t want other coaches reading your columns to prepare for the Eagles each week. Hopefully your competitors don’t bastardize what you’re doing so well here.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Exactemon

      • Timmay

        I’m not worried its really about personal you got

    • #7

      EXACTLY

      • G_WallyHunter

        Do you look forward to every wake-up call like I do? haha like we all do

        • #7

          First site I go to

          • G_WallyHunter

            haha like us all ya, since Sheil and Tim are so good with them being at exactly 6:30 every morning, it’s nice to know that no matter it will be there at that time every time

  • Cj Martin

    Interesting read. A good glimpse into what the eagles will be doing on offense..if Vick can stay healthy (fingers and toes crossed) COULD be a big year maybe finish 10-6 and get a wild card. Which would be a great year for CK. #birdgang

    • Adam

      Wouldn’t need a wild card at 10-6. That would win the NFC East.

      • aub32

        I think so as well. There are so many holes/questions in this division. At least we don’t have to play the 49ers, Falcons, Saints, or Hawks. This is the first time in a long time we have had an easier schedule.

        • Media Mike

          That is a key point. Outside of Denver and Green Bay, every team we play is garbage or average at best.

          • nicksaenz1

            Looks that way now, certainly, but TB definitely improved and there’s always a few teams that surprise you in a new season.

          • Media Mike

            I have zero respect for Tampa Bay as long as Freeman is still quarterbacking that team. The guy embodies lazy unfocused football and is not a winner. Their line is already banged up, and simply adding Reavis doesn’t improve the other 10 guys on the D against the pass.

          • nicksaenz1

            Contract year for Freeman. Don’t rule him out.

          • Media Mike

            That team was Carson Palmer’s preferred destination for a reason. They drafted a guy in the 3rd round for a reason. Freeman isn’t trustworthy.

            http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/01/report-palmer-wanted-to-go-to-tampa/

          • aub32

            I feel the same way about Freeman. I had hope for him before last season, but the guy just doesn’t seem to have it. I think their D will be tough, but I think Chip will be willing to grind it out and pound the ball if that’s what the defense is willing to concede. I just love knowing that our coach will be willing to run whatever works, instead of doing what he thought would work before Sunday.

          • Media Mike

            I cannot take any human being seriously who misses multiple games because he injures himself from the slide on a handgun.

            http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22475988/33591866

            Dumb risk during the season and you’re no kind of man if you hurt yourself with your own gun.

          • aub32

            Wow. I never heard that story.

          • aub32

            And we may have a shot against Denver if these injuries and suspensions keep racking up. The loss Dumeveil, Miller, and Wolfe will really help our offense. At this rate, I don’t see much of a pass rush being mounted against us, and there’s no way Champ Bailey can stick with DJax downfield even if he gets somewhat healthy. I only hope Von Miller can get his suspension reduced to 4 games. That way he can take out all his frustrations out on Romo in week 5.

          • Media Mike

            I’d much rather see Miller take out his frustrations on Eli Manning. There are few things more contemptible in this world than an arrogant New Yorker.

          • aub32

            Unfortunately, they play week 2 or 3 I believe. So there’s no way Miller will be in that game. He will likely get his shot to chase down RG3 if that makes you feel any better.

          • Media Mike

            I would really only feel better if Eli is knocked out for the season and the league takes away the Giants 2007 and 2011 Superbowls while also forbidding Michael Strahan, Tike Barber, and Antrelle Rolle for ever speaking in public.

          • aub32

            I’m ok with Strahan, but I hate and I mean hate hearing Antrel Rolle say anything ever. EVER.

    • knighn

      Can stay healthy, can stay confident and keep from turning the ball over…
      When it comes to Vick I have doubts but I also have hope.
      When it comes to the defense, I just have doubts!

  • What Would Saracen Do?

    Awesome breakdown. It seems like a huge benefit to have so many different options available. I’m curious to see how defenses will react/adjust to the ‘new school triple option’ during the season.

  • gutshot

    Interesting that the DEs crashed the RB just about every time with Foles in the game and did the opposite with Vick in there. It shows how much they still respect Vick’s legs. I’m guessing Chip saw that on film and that was one of the factors in his decision to go with Vick as the starter. It’s not that Vick will rack up tons of yards running the ball, but his presence will open things up so much more for McCoy, Brown and Polk.

    • Andy

      On the other hand, if the DEs crash on Foles every time Foles can just as easily take the bubble screen or run it himself. If he can pick up six yards that’s a win on that play. As long as Vick or Foles makes the right read/decision, I think either way the play could be successful, which is the beauty of this offense.

      • gutshot

        True, but given Chip’s stated preference for pounding the ball I think he’d rather take Vick with his threat of running over Foles actually running.

        You’re right though, with either QB, the offense should move the football.

        • Hurricane

          What I didn’t like from Foles, tho, was on that second example above, when he should have TUCKED it and run, he was plodding down the alley while making a backwards throw fake. Maybe it was just me…but Foles’ ball handling in that Carolina game was scary.

          • Andy

            “I mean, Nick can run. Everybody got two legs,”

            –Mike Vick.

        • Andy

          I agree, Vick can probably run the offense better but I’m glad that if he gets hurt we have a viable back-up option.

      • Jernst

        True…but at the end of the day, which option do you really want? McCoy running with the ball or Foles?

        I’ll take McCoy with the ball in his hands with a numbers advantage because Vick is able to essentially block the DE over Foles running with the ball around the edge for 5 or 6 yards every day of the week and twice on Sunday!

        • MightyJoeBanner

          I wanna win and don’t care who helps us do it. But yes McCoy is a tad bit better runner than Foles. Just a smidge. Ha

        • Andy

          Of course I’d prefer to have McCoy running with the ball. But if the defense wants to take that away, if the QB (Foles or whoever) can move the ball 5-6 yards at a time down the field, that’s a pretty good outcome too. Getting a bunch of first downs that way is either going to open something else up or result in a touchdown.

      • aub32

        Yes, but there is more potential for a big play with Vick. As you saw the first time Foles ran the play, the CB crashed on him. I think the throw surprised him as much as everyone else. The next time you see the CB watching the receiver. Teams will take Foles running and getting 3-6 yards versus having Shady, DJ1, or DJ2 burn them for a big gain. With Foles this play may result in first downs. With Vick, this play may result in touchdowns.

        • Media Mike

          Or an injured Vick as he dives rather than slides because increased runs from Vick have always resulted in Vick injuries.

          • aub32

            Hasn’t his last few injuries come from sitting in the pocket? Why are you stuck on such an old narative. I see why your handle is Media Mike. You just feed into the narrative you’re fed by ESPN or NFLN rather than paying attention to what’s actually going on. I am not saying Vick isn’t prone to injury, but sitting in the pocket the last 3 years has got him hit more and harder than the times he has run the ball. This whole Vick slide vs dive thing is so overplayed. Plenty of QBs dive over sliding. Eli Manning Dives instead of sliding. It’s still a way of getting down, and the only time Vick has ever been injured diving is when he has dove across the goal line. I am ok with that.

          • BlindChow

            Yeah, but with Eli it’s helmet momentum. Have you seen the size of that thing?

          • aub32

            hahaha. nice

          • Media Mike

            I am not ok with it. And Vick throwing the ball away while in the pocket would protect him more if he cared to do it. How many times have we been called for roughing the passer on guys who get rid of the ball quickly, while Vick refuses to do the same and takes big hits as a results of trying to extend plays?

          • aub32

            No QB is perfect. You have to take the good with the bad. Talented QBs are always looking to extend plays. Look at Farve, Rodgers, Cutler, Romo, and others. They try to extend plays because whether it’s their arm or their feet, they have the talent to make things happen. Manning throws the ball away because he isn’t out running anyone nor is he launching a bomb 60 yds downfield. However, there are minuses with that style as well. Look at when Brady threw the ball away instead of trying to outrun Ngata for 3 yards. That play could have been the difference in making the Super Bowl. I’m with you for wanting Vick to get down, but there are times in games where players must and should put themselves on the line. I will curse at Vick through my tv set for hours if he’s taking hits for 2 or 3 meaningless yards, but best believe I will praise his toughness is he’s fighting to get that one extra yard across the goal line in a big game.

          • Media Mike

            I get you on those pluses and minuses of any style, but I do tend to favor the proven and known over the unproven and possible.

          • aub32

            I hear you, but like I said Vick hasn’t been hurt diving in the field of play. However, if I am not mistaken, Alex Smith got a concussion (and I want to say a broken but at least bloody nose) whn sliding.

          • Brian

            “Vick hasn’t been hurt diving in the field of play.”
            In 2010 Vick injured his ribs, diving between two Redskins, in the field of play.

          • aub32

            Those were both jumping across the goaline i.e. no longer in the field of play. Please go back and read my whole point before chiming in recklessly.

          • Brian

            Really? You’re using the end-zone in your defense of such a blanket statement? Oh, and you’re wrong.

            Football, is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.3 yards wide.

          • aub32

            Again, go back and read what I said. I said I don’t want Vick fighting for meaningless yards, but I will never fault any player for trying to dive for a TD. Other than diving for a TD, Vick has never gotten hurt doing his dive/slide. How hard of a concept is that to understand? And correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t play stop when you cross the goaline?

          • Brian

            No, it doesn’t. When the offense starts a drive at the one, most of the team is in the end zone. When the defense intercepts the ball or recovers a fumble in the end-zone, they have the option of running around (or out of) the end-zone.

            Also, I read what you said. In fact, I quoted you. You were trying to say that Michael Vick primarily gets hurt while in the pocket. Because you were defending his inability to slide. Your statement, “Vick hasn’t been hurt diving in the field of play”, was careless and inaccurate.

            Anyway, a running quarterback is naturally prone to injury more than any other player on the field. He’s our starter and we don’t want him to get hurt. It would be great if he could avoid taking hits in the pocket, and the open field, as much as possible.

          • aub32

            Vick taking on hits outside the pocket has nothing to do with the plays I am referring to when he attempts to give himself up headfirst instead of sliding. Has Vick been hurt running the ball? Yes. Were those times he was trying to give himself up? No. If a player scores a TD, does the play continue? No. Obviously I am not talking about Vick diving into his own endzone. If you just want to troll, go somehwere else. I’ve got no time to keep responding to foolishness. Good day sir.

          • Brian

            You’re the fool. If you didn’t state that Vick only got hurt “in the pocket” we wouldn’t have had this little conversation. You just keep twisting things and changing your arguments to suit yourself.

          • aub32

            Aww now you’ve resulted to name calling. Like I said I have no time for trolls. I just wanted to correct you since you said the whole thing started because you say that I said Vick only got hurt in the pocket. My correct quote was, “Hasn’t his last few injuries come from sitting in the pocket?”. That does not mean he “only got hurt in the pocket. So like I said, please read my posts carefully before starting some meaningless time wasting childish back and forth.

          • Brian

            “Vick hasn’t been hurt diving in the field of play” ~ You

          • Maggie

            Bart Starr dove head first, behind Jerry Kramer, and won the Championship. Made Lombardi the name on the Superbowl trophy ever since..

          • Brian

            I’m not arguing whether Vick should slide or not. He can do cartwheels if he wants. I just want him to avoid unnecessary contact. Sliding feet first, for a quarterback in today’s game, guarantees that the quarterback will not get hit (legally). Sliding head first is just not the best way to stay healthy.

          • cliff henny

            not really. his ribs came when he dove head first. the concussion wasnt helped the play before when lb bulldogged his head into turf. vick’s equal opportunist injury guy, he gets hurt everywhere. least he can get out of the shower, unlike kolb. i would have lied. wrapped my car around nearest telephone pole and blame ice on road in middle of august.

          • aub32

            hahaha. My point was he missed time due to the rib injury diving across the goal line. Him choosing to dive and give himself up doesn’t worry me as much. You prefer a slide, but you take what you can get. Vick is already on record saying he doesn’t slide because he fears someone crashing into his legs. As I guy with super human speed that’s made tens of millions off of the fact that he can run, I can’t say I blame him.

          • cliff henny

            he got hurt another time getting sandwiched at the 10. vick probably seperates a rib sneezing nowadays, just hope kellly helps keep vick out of harms way.
            .
            i agree, you can dive head first, just look at STJM. in his scramble to the 5, he did good job of curling up and getting under hit instead of trying to run thru the contact. not perfect, but baby steps here. still, he needs to get down couple steps sooner. the refs will blow play dead.

          • fran35

            “As I guy with super human speed that’s made tens of millions off of the fact that he can run, I can’t say I blame him.”
            And you summarized the number one issue with Vick attempting to be a good NFL QB. The legs don’t get you anywhere.
            And by the way, that super human speed is gone. He has lost a few steps and can be run down by defenders pretty easily. Hence the fumbling problems.

          • Maggie

            Apparently you missed the footrace early in training camp?

          • Brian

            “I’m going to try and slide. I know I’ve said that before,” said Vick. “But don’t be surprised if you see me doing my natural fall-flop-get down. Most important thing is protecting the ball. But someday I’ll get it, man. I’m hoping and praying I can run with a different type of lean. I think when I run I lean forward so it makes it hard to slide.”

          • Maggie

            See comment re; Vikings/Bills game. Ex-player WANTED the QB to go down head first, to gain more yardage.

          • Maggie

            I agree, especially last year, with the .54 seconds he had, play after play, to follow the coaches orders to throw 50 yards downfield, every play. AND the officials standing there watching, many times, with the whistle in the pocket. I am not permanently attached to any QB, but some of those games were shameful to watch. Not the QB or RB. The coaching and officiating.

          • Timmay

            Agreed except for when he fumbles at the goal line

          • defroe81

            vick is the best option that being said the concusion he received last year was from running and sliding head first take on the cowboys if my memory serves right. sure he got hurt in the pocket too. lets just hope all the muscle he put on in the offseason works out and maybe just maybe he slides feet first or just avoids linebackers all together with his speed out in the open. i think its going to be a good year for vick and the offense. if the D can at least be decent we will really be shocking the world.

          • Maggie

            Funny, I was watching the replay of another preseason game, I think it was Vikings/Bills, for a few minutes. The “color guy”, an ex-player, was stating that if the QB had gone down head first, instead of feet first, he could have picked up a couple more yards!

    • jshort

      The luxury the QB competition produced, we have two QB’s that can move this offense. If Vick does go down, it won’t be the end of a season. Even if he is playing at a high level, there should not be a huge drop off if Foles has to relieve.. I’m thinking, gee, would I rather have Vick, Kolb of Vick, Foles. For a QB just starting out in his 2nd year learning a new offense, and looking pretty darn efficient, think we got a good return from the round he was taken.
      My biggest concern right now, is the lack of takeaways, Seems the last few years the way this team plays in the preseason, carries over.

      • BlindChow

        Eagles and 49ers: the only two teams not to have a defensive turnover so far this season.

        • aub32

          It’s preseason. Our ones have barely played, and the first game was against Tom Brady. In case you didn’t know, he’s kinda good.

          • BlindChow

            Uh, the first game was even more against Tim Tebow. In case you didn’t know, he’s kinda awful.

            We didn’t exactly light it up in the turnover department last year, so while poor preseason performance doesn’t necessarily correlate with poor regular season performance, the fact that 30 other teams have managed to generate at least one turnover while the Eagles have not is a noteworthy statistic.

          • aub32

            Tebow doesn’t throw a lot of picks. His passes are usually so off target that neither the WR or the DB have a chance of catching the ball. I have to disagree with your point. Creating turnovers in the preseason isn’t indicative of what you will do in the regular season. There are too many variables in the preseason: the starters only play so much, the defense is giving vanilla looks, the opposing QB play is so bad there’s no pass that can be picked off.

          • BlindChow

            Creating turnovers in the preseason isn’t indicative of what you will do in the regular season.

            Right, just like I said in the post you were responding to!

            Yet, 30 other teams have managed to do it after just two games. Just pointing out this statistic, which is irrefutable.

      • Anon

        I agree — we’ve had way too many turnovers in 2 halves (4). That’s actually something that I think we need to pay more attention to — it would help if we could force turnovers on defense. I think that may come through the pass rush, sadly i don’t see it happening in our secondary — I think our secondary is going to be on “contain” most of the year – heopfully it will lead to a bend but don’t break offense.

      • #7

        Takeaways is what we need big time. We don’t know what we have on defense. Looks bad on paper as far as the backend

  • joeknowsnada

    I love this offense. Scientific street ball. We have the guys up front (hopefully they stay healthy) to do this. Andy Reid’s “present” to Chip K. was the Howard Mudd makeover, which gave him the foundation at O-Line for this program. Go figure that one.
    However, while I would LOVE to go 10-6, there is the indelicate matter of the DEE. If a miracle happens, and the young guys are, early on, performing at nearly all-pro level (Bennie Logan, Earl Wolff, etc.) we might have something. But, it’s gonna take awhile to get that DEE working enough to go 10-6.

    • Dutch

      I’m not big on the Eagles defense, however, Logan and Square have gotten my attention along with Vinny Curry. It would be in my opinion to not ensure these kids get playing time for seasoning. I also like King on the wings for a season.

      If Logan and Square can continue with Curry to get penetration on the inside the Eagles will have a awesome rotation that will continuously pound the opposition while freeing up the linebackers to play strictly down hill. I’ve been watching Fletcher. Fletcher basically has good coverage and positioning but the QBs he’s faced has been dead accurate putting the ball in very tight windows and those receivers have made very good plays on the ball. It’s so that Fletcher could not do any more than make a tackle after the receiver made a hell of a play.

      In short things on the defense may be coming together more than the untrained eye can see.

  • hnic101nj

    And another reason why I followed Sheil over to Brids 24/7. Excellent analysis as always. And man is this offense going to be great!

  • usmcnole

    Great stuff as always Sheil! I’ve been curious to see what other college teams have done to actually stop this offense. Not sure if you take requests, but I would love to see what Stanford or some other team did against them that was effective in stopping this O now that we are getting a clearer understanding of it (because of you!)

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    Thanks Sheil, you’re filling a great void left by IgglesBlog when Derek stopped his usual rewind posts to focus on “family” and his “day job” (some excuse!) Maybe I’m just a nerd (ok, I’m definitely a nerd), but I would look at screen shots and review your analysis of every damn play if you had the time. Not sure how much traffic these posts drive, but hopefully they gather a nice following.

    I also have to say that on all of those plays Riley Cooper looks like a great blocker, and Avant’s comments are telling. Can’t wait for the play when Riley fakes the block, his man bites to Jackson/Avant, and Riley is over the top for a walk-in touchdown.

  • Soybot

    I think maybe the lateral option is to prevent an illegal man downfield penalty? Seems like the only reason to take such a big risk.

  • Wilbert M.

    Andy = “I will dictate to the defense what our offense will do.”
    Chipper = “I will take what the defense gives us.”

    I am so excited to get a coach that makes adjustments according to what the defense is doing. How many times did Andy abandon the run even though it was working? How many times did he run something a sixth time that didn’t work the first five? The stubborn know-it-all has left the building and I can’t wait to watch this offense!

    • Kevin

      Just wanted to amend you Chipper = “I will take what the defense gives us and keep putting pressure on them until they crumble. Muhahahaaaa”

  • ohitsdom

    I really want to know how they coach the outside receivers on this play. They can make contact in the first 5 yards, but if they hit the DB after that while the screen pass is in the air, it’s pass interference. Do the outside receivers need to keep watching the play to see what happens? Seems like that would give the DB an easy read.

    • Dutch

      Johnson said on this play his job is to just be available as an option, so it seems reasonable to me that would be the mindset of all the receivers on the outside. However, It’s fairly obvious if the DB comes up and plays Avant rather than engage Cooper it’s just a matter of time before Kelly calls for Cooper to release down field and the QB makes sure he’s behind the LOS and hits Riley over the top for an uncontested touchdown. Chip likes one play to set up another.

    • Warhound

      As another pointed out, the QB can throw it back as a lateral – problem solved!

      • Media Mike

        I think the major concern, with any QB on a lateral, is that the football is 100% live and there is no ability for the ref to bail you out with a holding, PI, or illegal contact call because it is a run play.

        • Warhound

          Absolutely – the lateral has its drawbacks. So I guess I should’ve said one problem replaced with another? I’ll still take the lateral; it makes the WRs job a little easier.

  • Duckfan

    You Eagles fan’s are so lucky to have CK you have no idea. You always here about new coaches talk about instilling a culture, but that is mostly talk. As you can see, Chip isn’t about talk, he’s about winning with his schemes.
    If you guys want to see more in-depth analysis of CK’s offense, go check out the videos at fishduck.com. They do an excellent job of dissecting the how and why to Chip’s offense.

    • Media Mike

      Solid resource, thank you!

      • cliff henny

        literally football porn!

        • Media Mike

          And makes you feel a little less awkward than the football porn in the showers in “Any Given Sunday.”

  • Media Mike

    The D with their backs 100% facing the wrong way should be the only thing that EVER has a QB running by intent and it should ALWAYS end in a feet first slide or a jaunt out of bounds………………………….. or your QB is going to die. I don’t care if he’s Foles, Vick, RGKnee, or Rodgers.

    • cliff henny

      shanahan had rg3 running between tackles…mean, how insane is that! vick wasnt raised in spread, but the boyd’s, marioti’s, kaep’s were. they know how not to get hit. seems like a learned skill in the spread, too bad vick is late to the party. hope he figures it out.

      • Media Mike

        I 100% hear what you’re saying, but until I see a running QB win a title (and not come close due to a power outage) I’m not of the belief that guys playing in that manner can sustain a long and successful career in the NFL. Sometime scramblers (Young, Elway, Rodgers) have won titles, but not guys trying to function as running backs. I really think the best way to deploy the Kelly system in the NFL is via the Patriots version.

        • cliff henny

          ok. but if making a kaep is 100 xs easier than making a rodgers, maybe that’s not a huge issue. i’d love to see the qb get less importance. be great for the nfl. about 15 teams are 1 rolled up knee from cashing in season.

          • Media Mike

            That isn’t a bad point, but I don’t EVER want to see a league where the QB is an interchangeable position or indistinguishable from a running back.

          • cliff henny

            yeah, cant see that being issue. think you’ll see kaep and wilson slowly use legs less as game slows down. but these offense have obviously allowed for a lessening of the learning curve.

          • Anon

            I think there’s a place for a running QB, just like there are places for RBs that catch passes and WRs that come out of the backfield. I think it’s been proven that the old VIck or Cam Newton approach doesn’t work (Which is having the QB lead the team n rushing). I don’t think the way RGIII was used last year works either. BUt mobility is a part of being a QB now, it adds an extra threat that defenses have to respect. QBs need to learn to take 5 yds and slide instead of 10yds with a hit, but that’s hard to tell a competitive guy. But mobility (and ability to throw the deep ball) are the reasons why Alex Smith lost his job.

      • Dr Rick

        Mike Shanahan is one of the King’s of Zone Blocking and had outstanding success with it at Denver. However, as you point out, there is a big difference between a Zone RB and a Zone QB and nothing good happens by running the QB too often in the wrong spaces.

        Chip’s offense changed at Oregon over time as well, the earlier Chip ran the QB more and the later Chip didn’t. The Duck’s were set to play for #1 until Dennis Dixon blew out his ACL.

        I hope Mike V stays in scheme and avoids injury.
        “Slide Mikey, Slide!”

        • cliff henny

          actually was alex gibbs. shanarat was smart enough to hire him. if you have 4hrs to kill on a rainy saturday, watch this from youtube (nsfw…gibbs is salty, but makes for good listening).

          sorry, 8 hrs, was a part b.

  • Duckfan

    Also, you guys will start hearing criticism of Chip’s offense philosophy – mostly calling it a gimmick. But take solace in knowing that your team’s “gimmick” is being the best conditioned and disciplined team in the NFL.

    • Media Mike

      It 100% isn’t a gimmick when done the right way for the NFL in New England. I don’t hear anybody rip the Pats for having Kelly come in and show them how to adapt that system for the NFL.

      • Duckfan

        Mike, I’m with you that Chip’s offense isn’t a gimmick. Chip has said all along that he just puts his own spin on tried and true football schemes.
        But all throughout his time at Oregon, his detractors always called his offense a gimmick. Then they would eat crow when Oregon put up 45 points.

        • Media Mike

          The only element I’m dead set against in the NFL is running out of the QB unless it is;
          a) infrequent
          b) only done in circumstances when the D is totally not focused on the QB
          RG3 / Kaepernick runs are gimmicky in the sense that they’ll only last for a short while as the QB dies a slow death of 1000 hits.
          I truly believe that the Patriots serve as a guiding light on how to run Kelly’s stuff in the NFL.

          • aub32

            I think that’s true with RG3, but Kaep does a really good job of not taking unnecessary shots. He’s much smarter about when he runs and does not mind sliding or getting out of bounds. Plus he doesn’t run nearly as many designed run plays as RG3. I am hoping Vick will look more like Kaep in this offense than RG3.

          • Media Mike

            I think you’re going to see a lot more shots taken by Kaep this year because there is actually some time to study game film on him. I agree that he has been smarter about avoid big hits than RG3 to this point.
            And I want whatever QB we have to play more like Rodgers than anybody; only run when the D has it’s back turned.

          • aub32

            Then you clearly aren’t watching Rodgers, who happened to be the most sacked QB last season. Talk about doing too much. Rodgers is king of holding onto the ball and making the play. I just don’t get you sometimes. You talk in one post about how you want your QB to throw the ball away, then in another post you mention how you want your QB playing like a guy who is notorious for trying to extend plays and taking hits. But again you are Media Mike and responding to the mainstream narrative of RG3 and Kaep taking hits, but Rodgers is more the Brady elk. That’s just untrue.

          • Media Mike

            While doing all of that Rodgers put up a 67% completion rate, 39 TDs, 4300 yards, and a rating of 108. He clearly can throw the ball properly, sacks aside. RG3 and Kaep aren’t proven as throwers of the football in the slightest.

          • aub32

            There’s no doubt Rodgers can sling the football, but that wasn’t the argument you were making. We were talking about running the football, holding the ball too long, and QBs taking hits. All three Rodgers is guilty of. I also think you are being unfair when comparing Rodgers numbers to RG3 and Kaep. I think RG3 can be a great passer, Kaep can be good. They are asked to do different things. Look how many attempts Rodgers has compared to them. He has not had a running game in years. His defense is terrible. So he has to make it all happen with his arm. RG3 and Kaep don’t need to thrown so much because they have great running games behind them. I am not saying they are at Rodgers caliber yet, but they can sling the ball.

          • Anon

            RGIII had a 102.4 passer rating last year averaging 8yds per attempt. That’s pretty good.

          • cliff henny

            huge difference b/t kaep-wilson and rg3…kaep and wilson never got hit. they would get down or run OB well before defenders were near. RG3 turned up sidelines, dove over top of defender. i’d say he was more reckless than vick ever was. watch marioti or boyd, these raised in spread qbs know how not to get hit. rg3 probably has little vick in him, that he was just so much faster than everyone else for so long, he just out ran hits.

          • Media Mike

            There in lies the rub as far as our team is concerned. Do we have an ability to get Vick to get down our get out before he gets hit? I don’t see it. I just hate to see a $20+/year player (the going rate for a franchise QB) be put at risk for injury by continued rushing attempts.

          • cliff henny

            sure. but shouldnt lump all spread qbs as the same-no doubt vick has issues. kaep had 170 yrd with 155 b4 or w/out contact. rg3 and shanarat are morons. if we take a boyd or marioti (bridgewater doesnt protect himself well running either, he dives headfirst often), those 2 run 5-8 times a game, and rarely get hit.

          • Media Mike

            I still see Aaron Rodgers every time I watch Bridgewater play and would hope that he learns how to slide. He ran appx 7 times a game last season and a good NFL coach would get that down to 3 or 4.

          • cliff henny

            maybe…like the guy…but he comes rigt now with a diving issue…know every eagle fan has seen enough of that

          • Media Mike

            No doubt it’ll be a big year for him. The entire media spotlight is on him. his name is already being thrown out there as a possible #1 overall pick, and he’ll be in the running for every possible award.
            Just a shame that nobody at Louisville’s campus really gives a rat’s behind about football because it’s a basketball school. What poor priorities.

          • cliff henny

            watching every l-ville, oregon, ucla and clemson game i can, and psu. helps they’re all my teams thru yrs of traveling, except cards.

          • aub32

            I agree. Why worry about getting down when nobody can catch you, but this is the NFL. Everybody gets caught eventually.

  • cliff henny

    cool imaginitive play, hope vick gives it to RB every time. looked awkward as all get out when foles threw it, and picturing vick waving ball around running towards cb/safety ready to lights-out blast him, doesnt seem great way to protect vick. that’s the offense and MV doing great job so far, but hard not to picture last 2 yrs in some of these plays.

    • Anon

      I think he actually made the wrong read, in play no. 2 i think he should have thrown it to the inside WR, since the defender was playing so far off of him. He’d have to toss it over the defender which is maybe a little risky, but the WR has miles between him and the next defender (assuming a block by the outside WR). But i think these are things that Vick will learn by watching film, getting coached and getting used to running the system in actual games.

      • aub32

        I don’t think so. The unblocked DE is crashing on him so that doesn’t allow him time to throw that pass. Plus Damaris would still have to juke out his receiver. Look at the right side. There is literally a man for every defender. If those blocks hold, that’s a TD.

      • cliff henny

        think 1st read is end, who’s keying on vick. so, ball goes to RB, screne option isnt even on plate. no matter what we think as fans, defenses still respect and fear vick. this play is great example, that d-end is locked in on vick. if vick can just learn to slide at 6 yd when max is 8, get up smile, toss ball to ref and go again in 10 secs…the defense might as well walk off the field, just nothing they can do except go for knees.

  • garyp

    look at Dennis Dixon in the Carolina game, he doesn’t even get touched on a nice baseball slide, apply that to MV and he extends his career indefinitely

    • BlindChow

      We need a .gif of that slide. That was a thing of beauty.

  • jabostick

    I got super excited after seeing the Foles pass to Avant, just realizing the potential for building on a set play. I can’t remember the play but later, a WR got blown up off of a Barkley pass and Baldinger (of all people) made the point that Kelly would take a play like that, realize the corners are cheating to cover the screen, and fake the screen later and go deep.

    Also, I’m excited knowing that pre-season is just the basic stuff, there’ll be some fun plays in our future!

    Someone on Twitter mentioned Chip’s ‘dual triple stack’ that he ran at Oregon (http://fishduck.com/2012/12/chip-kellys-strangest-play-ever/) and imagined how you could run that with Peters and Lane Johnson lined wide.

    Things got erotic for me after that thought…

    • DawkNabBWest

      Oh that would be AWESOME! You could have Peters, Casey and D-Jax on one side with Lane, Celek, and Damaris on the other, with McCoy as the fallback in the backfield.

      • jabostick

        Sheil’s head might explode doing the All-22 on that haha.

      • aub32

        Both Peters and LJ did play TE.

    • cliff henny

      if for no other reason, show the formation to force a timeout. never understood why teams dont do crazy formations, or on opponents 45 4th and 3 or 4 switch out of punt to surprise play. it’s a guarenteed burning of a TO. despite what reid thinks,they are quite useful at the end of close games

  • Joe D

    Seriously love these posts. Thanks Sheil!

  • Mike

    The real problem is offensive PI, which was called on the birds in this game. If you look at Vick’s first example, the WR is already engaged in a block, so if Vick tries to screen on this one it’s 10 yards backwards for the Eagles

  • Anon

    You know what would be awesome. If Chip and Billy worked together on how to stop the read-option and how to counter the way defenses will defend read option. Having the best read-option coach has got to help us understand the weaknesses of the system and how to counter. So even if we don’t have the best defenders we could still have a system that will stop the option.

    • #7

      They probably do

    • Kleptolia

      Chip has already thought of how he would stop the option. He had already planned for what offense he will run at that time. And the time after that.
      I am not exaggerating.

  • #7

    Beautiful.

    I remember watching Nick Foles play and I thought to myself, wow, they just essentially ran the option. Pretty cool

  • Kleptolia

    Still curious what Kelly has in mind for Dixon. Every time he’s interviewed, he seems to have the most comfortable knowledge if the offense. The other guys speak of it with awe; Dixon speaks of it with a knowing quasi-smugness. He doesn’t seem to be in line for any playing time or maybe even to make the team. I wonder if maybe Chip & Co. will find a spot for him as maybe a sort of assistant QB coach or something.

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      ” I wonder if maybe Chip & Co. will find a spot for him as maybe a sort of assistant QB coach or something.”

      That would be nice. Guy knows this offense better than anyone outside of Kelly – he seems like he can be useful in some capacity.

  • KobraKai7474

    To misquote Tony Soprano, the 800-pound elephant in the room is the fact that the reason NFL teams never adopted the various old school option offenses that were hugely successful at the colleges level in their day (ie the veer, the wishbone,etc.) is because they require the most important and most expensive and most irreplaceable player on your team to expose himself to constant pounding on almost every offensive play. When teams with young QBs do it, the do it knowing that today’s rookie salary cap ensures that an injury won’t cripple the team’s salary cap for the foreseeable future.

  • Dom

    Nice……

  • Jdimagg55

    These articles are awesome.

  • Mugshot Magoo

    It’s funny how most of the zone read QB keepers were run by Foles and Barkley this preseason.

  • MEDIA LIES

    The players are loving this for one reason. Chip is giving them the ability to make decisions. Everthing is man on man. Beat the man in front of you. The ball goes where we have numbers. Most plays are designed for one man to get the ball. For a primary and a couple secondary options. In this offense. The defense will tell the team where the ball will go. If the QB has the smarts to count, these plays will always have positive yards. If the Eagles defesne can slow down a few of the tougher teams. This could be a bigger year then people think.

  • EssellC

    I’d have to go back in to the archives but, I mentioned this last year when Reid was still here that it would be nice if the Eagles would go spread offense and use the triple option zone read plays. But, this is pretty time consuming and difficult to teach and I recall writing that I don’t think Reid and Moronweg were capable of teaching it. If I remember correctly, I believe the Washington Redskins used this play several times themselves with two running backs aligned on each side of RGIII and with great success which is why I hoped the Eagles would eventually adopt it. I also recall praying one day we’d get a REAL coach in here with the intelligence and flexibility to play to the strengths of his players and not try to force square pegs into round holes. Thank God for Chip Kelly.