All-22: Kelly Unveils New Packaged Play


Chip Kelly was asked earlier this week why he called a run play on 3rd-and-9 against the Giants.

“We thought it was a good play call at the time based on the defense they were deployed in,” Kelly said.

He was pressed further about the percentages of calling a run and converting in that situation.

“Not if people are playing man‑to‑man coverage and totally turning your back on what’s going on and you have no run support,” Kelly answered. “That is part of the thought process when you do that. If you’re going to just totally abandon and you catch people when they’re just totally trying to play the pass, a lot of people pop runs in those situations.”

The truth is Kelly didn’t call a straight-out run.

We’ve discussed packaged plays for months now, but the Eagles introduced a new one on Sunday. Take a look at the pre-snap look.


The Eagles have four receivers set up in a 2×2 formation. The Giants are playing man-to-man across the board with a single high safety.

Look at what happens after the snap.


In this shot, LeSean McCoy already has the ball on a handoff. But the receivers are not blocking. Instead, they are running their routes.

You might have heard Kelly or offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur talk about “four verticals.” That’s the pass concept the Eagles are employing here.

“Four verticals is designed exactly the way you’d expect: four receivers run straight (more or less) down the field, dividing the field into segments,” wrote Chris Brown back in 2009.

There are many variations to the concept (Smart Football post here). The receivers are not all running go-routes. They have to make decisions based on how the defense is playing. But the basic idea is to set up one-on-one matchups and create conflict for the one safety who has to decide what to do on four vertical routes.

One of the core principles of Kelly’s offensive philosophy is to make the defense guard every inch of the field, and that’s what this play does.

Getting back to the line of scrimmage, here’s the pre-snap look.


The Giants have six in the box. The Eagles have five offensive linemen. That means Michael Vick has to account for the unblocked defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul.


Pierre-Paul stays at home, so Vick hands the ball off. McCoy spots a crease in between Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans.

If you’re wondering how the offensive linemen know whether to pass block or run block, it’s the latter every time.

“All I know is I get the zone play or I get the power play, I get the man play in. And then we block that accordingly,” Kelce said. “What we do outside of that with bubble screens or reads or quarterback reads and runs, I have no idea for the most part.”

The power is in the hands of the quarterback. He has to decide whether to run or pass. If he decides to run, he has to choose between handing it off or keeping it. If he decides to pass, he has to get rid of the ball before the Eagles get called for an ineligible man downfield.

“Mike makes a lot of the decisions back there, and he made the right read,” said tight end Zach Ertz. “We almost had a long run with Shady. He just got tripped up by his ankle. It was close.”


Here, it looks like McCoy has a crease, but backside linebacker Spencer Paysinger does a good job of getting off of Evan Mathis’ block and stops the play after a 5-yard gain. Kelce was also called for holding on the play.

As always, the team that wins the one-one-one matchups generally wins. But you can see the design of the play from the other angle. The wide receivers didn’t have to block, but they took the defensive backs away from the linen of scrimmage just by running their routes.


The two outside corners are not even in the shot here. The two inside receivers run their routes outside the numbers, and those defenders have their backs turned to the middle of the field. If Paysinger doesn’t make the tackle, it’s McCoy one-on-one with the safety, who is 15 yards away from the ball.

The other factor is that Kelly would have considered going for it on fourth down. But the Kelce penalty rendered that decision moot.

As the weeks continue, we’ll see new wrinkles from the Eagles’ offense. Against the Giants, it was the inside zone read/four verticals packaged play.

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  • Always Hopeful

    The lack of production (in TD’s) of this offense has been frustrating. However, it has been nice to see these new wrinkles. They are subtle compared to the “hammer” in the first half of the Washington game…oh, the first half of the Washington game…such fond memories…

    Great work (as usual) Mr. Kapadia!

  • #7

    Nice! Too bad the points aren’t coming as they should, but they will if we keep Vick in there.

    • Brian

      Definition of insanity…

    • Token

      Yea, that has been working so far…………..

      • #7

        Keep tuning in

        • theycallmerob

          Halfway through the 2nd decade, post-hammy injury is when most QBs turn it on

      • #7

        It’s all in fun Token. Go toke one man and lighten up

      • atlvickfan

        They have a top 10 offense in nearly every metric available, despite only one above average WR on the roster. So yeah, it has.

  • B-West

    What would be the pass option in this package? A quick hitch if the defense shows soft coverage? With the O-line run blocking, it has to be something really quick. Looks the WRs are too spread for the screen.

    • anon

      Looks like a run play through and through to me. I think the 4 verticals is just a way to open up the field. Really to bad McCoy got tripped up.

      • B-West

        That was kinda my thought as well… Looks like simple read option.

        • anon

          But damn, look at all that open field. CK knows what he’s doing. Was giving me flashbacks to the skins game.

      • GEagle

        Well it becomes a packaged play if you run it a few times and Shady just shreds them for huge chunks of yards…at some point, the corners will cheat up, have their eye on stopping the RB, the safety might cheat up, and that’s when the other show drops and we see the other part of hitherto packaged play…have enough success gaining big chunks of yards and the secondary, and CBs and safeties will start worrying about helping on Shady when they get sick of being decoys…we just need to freeze them for a half a second to allow Desean to get a step on his a man and get over the top

    • Stuart Philp

      The receivers are supposed to sprint down field past the corners, if they can’t beat them the are supposed to switch to a comeback route at about 10 yards downfield (generally just make sure it’s enough for a first down).

      The QB has to decide before the snap if there’s a favourable matchup on the outside by looking at whether the corner is playing tight or giving a cushion, as well as the personnel match up (slow corner vs quick receiver or whatever).

      If the match up is there it’s a pass play, if it isn’t it’s an IZR.

      • B-West

        I’m just not sure there is time for that, given the run blocking up front. Outside of the penalties Sheil alluded to, the o-line scheme lets the DE come free. I think there has to be an audible to the o-line if they decide to pass here.

        • Stuart Philp

          If the matchup is there, the QB will know where he’s going with the ball before it is snapped. The ball comes out quickly, there’s no waiting to see if someone get’s open.

          Let’s say you have a CB playing 10 yards off DJax cause he’s worried about being beat downfield. That huge cushion will mean DJax can sprint towards the CB, causing the CB to back up another 5 yards, then DJax can quickly break and comeback with a healthy amount of separation. The QB doesn’t even have to think about it or wait for the route to develop, you know that play will be there. Fake the handoff, pull up and throw to the spot. Obviously the corner can still read it correctly and make a play, but that’s part of winning the 1-on-1 match up. If DJax sells the go, and makes a good break, it should result in a 10yd catch.

          • chiptologist

            U can design a play where the line is down blocking and leaving jpp open and then ur faking a handoff because that fake may be the end of Vicks season…..especially if ur trying determine presnap if a wr has an advantage because jpp coming unchallenged and McCoy crossing ur face wont allow u to step into ur throw. The only thing predetermined is jpp being unblocked while down blocking. This is strictly a read to help Vick get open stace to his throwing arm side if jpp does decide to chase McCoy inside in the future. We WILL SEE this again!

    • #7

      A comeback route if the corners are playing off

    • Soybot

      Dump off to the RB?

  • BlindChow

    Oh man, I really want to see a Foles keeper on an option in Tampa Bay. No way that DE doesn’t crash on McCoy with Foles in the game.

    Foles is Slowy McSlowerton, but he could’ve at least gotten a 1st down there, and hey, Foles scored his first rushing TD against the Bucs! Let’s make it two for two!

  • Kevin

    Wait, you can run on 3rd & 9? I thought that was not allowed.

    • Eric

      It’s only against the rules on 3rd and 1

  • borntosuffer

    I like the odds on that play with McCoy. He will break off some big runs regularly with that look. The Eagles are “losing” too many one-on-one match ups in the O-line – both in pass protection and in the run. It doesn’t matter what call Chip, or any coach makes if there is a failure in the line. But, Chip is putting players in positions to make plays. It’s time for them to deliver.

    • A Big Butt and a Smile

      That’s how you beat a Chip Kelly offense. At the line. IF they start to dominate however, it will be fun times.

      • Adam

        It’s how you beat any offense. Football 101, you lose the trenches, you lose.

    • Mike

      This is a great point, and if you watch the All-22 film, you see the potential of the offense in its design of putting skill players into situations where they can win one-on-one matchups.

      Let’s take this as a year to see, over the course of a season, what we’ve got, what we need, and then give them a chance to pick up some players who are drafted with a skill set specifically geared for the offense before condemning it too harshly.

  • septa_rida

    I love how some experts – e.g. Sal Pal on Mikey Miss – expound how McCoy is the best player on the team yet in the same breath say the Eagles are running way too much. Huh?

  • mtn_green

    Chip Kelly is a genius. The plays will come. So glad he is sticking with his strategy of taking what defense gives. AR got to the point of using old successful fallback plays (predictable) or a random play (shows lack of confidence in team).

    Chip says “6 in the box? I’ll run the inside zone 9 of ten times. Even on 3rd and nine.” Genius. Wins will come.

    • #7

      You’re throwing that word around too freely

    • Nah__Roots

      Believe it or not, there are plenty of coaches/QB’s in the NFL that understand the numbers game.

    • GEagle

      I agree and Disagree…while I like that our coach plays the simple numbers game, takes what the defense gives you, attacks weaknesses…sometimes you have to say screw the numbers, line up, and Dictate how it’s going down to the opposing defense…you can’t go away from your best player everytime a defense puts 8 in the box…nothing demoralizes a defense more then getting ran on when they are really committed to stopping your run game…I’m hoping And expect Chip to find a good balance of Dictating and taking what the defense is giving us…
      I challenge someone to use more cliches in one paragraph than I just did lol

  • GEagle

    Sheil…today Ike Reese said he gives more praise to the coaches then to FOles for his two TD throws because he said the coaches whipped out brand new plays for both TDs and he argued that V ick hasn’t had a chance to fail with those plays before and the defense had never seen us run them on tape….is it true that those plays were called for the first time on Sunday?

    • Brian

      Ike Reese loves Michael Vick. It’s killing him that Foles looked better than Vick in the Giants game. He’ll say anything to make Vick look good.

      • BlindChow

        If scoring TD’s is as simple as running a new play, how come we don’t just introduce 5 new plays every game? That’s an easy 35 points per game! Maybe Kelly isn’t the genius we thought he was!

      • GoBirds1

        It called paid PR. A little Vick money in Ike’s pocket goes a long way in protecting his boy on the public airways.

        • Brian

          I would never accuse Ike of something like that. I respect the way he played the game, and conducted himself off the field. They’re tight from their days in Atl.

    • dislikedisqus

      If the receivers were wide open, his comment might make sense but in fact, on both plays the receiver was pretty well defended and it took a pretty good throw from a guy with not too many reps to get the TD. As McLane wrote today, on the Celek TD, Vick might have run for 7-8; no one would have blamed him bec the defender did a good job. That was a nice job by Foles, bottom line.

  • Adam

    Four verticals is my go to play in Madden. So I guess I’m on the same level as Chip.