On Reid, Packaged Plays And the 10-Second Rule

NFL: Annual Meetings

ORLANDO, Fla. – AFC coaches met with the media at breakfast Tuesday morning. We caught up with Andy Reid and others during the hour-long session. Below are some highlights.

THE 2011 EFFECT

We’ve written plenty in this space about the effect the 2011 offseason had on the Eagles. Howie Roseman and others often bring up the mistakes made with Nnamdi Asomugha, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young and so on.

But that effect is apparently not limited to the Eagles. Reid was asked about the role of free agency in building a roster.

“I’m not a huge free agency guy,” Reid said. “I don’t think you build a team that way. I think you obviously build it through the draft. There’s so many elements that go into a player actually fitting into your program and being successful that you get them right where they’re kind of peaking in that system and then you disrupt that and move ’em on to another system, that can be tough.

“So the percentages drop, success rates drop, I think you spot a guy here or there, but too much of it… you have the other element where it has a chance to disrupt your locker room. This guy’s been with me for 10 years and is making X number of [dollars]. All of a sudden you bring in a free agent who might be as good, but maybe not as good and then you’re paying him way up here. All of a sudden you have this rift that goes on in the locker room. I think you have to be real careful on who you bring in and how you do it.”

When a reporter brought up the 2011 offseason specifically, Reid responded: “Lessons learned, right?”

MARRONE ON PACKAGED PLAYS

During the season, we wrote plenty about the Eagles’ use of packaged plays. The Bills are another team that uses them. We asked head coach Doug Marrone about the effectiveness of plays that employ a run-pass option.

“I think defenses for a long period of time, you’re always getting the extra guy in the box, or the extra guy’s always involved,” he said. “I think a lot of times, what you do when you’re on the perimeter and you’re running those types of plays on the outside, that’s a potential option to do. It just forces the defense to cover more of the field. I think when you can get a defense to cover more of the field, you have a better chance of executing.

“No different than… the same philosophy of play-action pass. I run play-action pass so I get the whole defense to come up tight, I can try to get the ball behind them. Play-action I want to get them all up in there close and try to throw the ball vertically down the field. In the other field, when we’re running those types of things, I want them to defend the whole area of the field.”

Marrone also referenced the packaged play concept as it pertains to defense. You give the middle linebacker (or another player) multiple options. Based on the look of the offense, he can choose the call that makes the most sense. Billy Davis did this with DeMeco Ryans last year. That’s part of the reason the coaching staff always talked about Ryans being an extension of the defensive coordinator on the field.

“Some of these quarterbacks have a little bit more freedom… Some people give ‘em two options. It could be run or run. It could be run to pass, pass to run. Some of ‘em have three options,” Marrone said. “So I think those packages are built in trying to create a situation where you’re never in a bad play. I think eventually you’ll see defenses do it. They’ll pressure certain formations. So they’ll call the defense and all of a sudden you’ll line up in a formation and they’ll make another play and go to that. Everyone’s trying to stay one step ahead. But it all goes back to what the players can handle.”

THE 10-SECOND RULE

We’ve written in this space about the proposed 10-second rule in college. The measure was suggested to penalize offenses that snapped the ball within the first 10 second of the play clock.

Proponents argued that up-tempo offenses ran more plays and thus were susceptible to more injuries.

We already know how Chip Kelly would feel about the measure. But he’d have a couple other coaches in his corner in Marrone and Bill O’Brien, should the NFL ever consider such a rule change.

“I think it’s been around the whole time,” Marrone said. “I mean, two-minute offense has been around forever and if people want to run a higher tempo early on, it’s been done before. It’s just being done I think more often now. I do not see the correlation with injuries at all.”

Added O’Brien: “No, I think that to me offenses have to be able to change tempo, go fast, slow it down. That’s what the game’s all about. That’s the play clock. We start messing with the play clock and the rules of the game, that’s a very slippery slope. I don’t see where that has a direct correlation to injuries. And I have great respect for the guys that are talking about that that are on the other side of the argument on that, but as it relates to college football, I would hope that they don’t mess with that.”

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