All-22: Getting Shady Loose

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.The locker stalls of LeSean McCoy and Stanley Havili are right next to each other at Lincoln Financial Field. Following the win over the Giants Sunday night, one reporter mentioned Havili’s name. McCoy, within earshot, said, “He was awesome.” To which Havili replied, “Shady the Giant killer!”

There was plenty of praise to go around after a dominant second half on the ground. Here is a look at the back-to-back big gainers early in the third quarter that provided the spark. As you’ll see, Havili was in fact awesome.

The first is a 34-yard burst down the right side. The Eagles line up in the I-formation, with Brent Celek off of Todd Herremans‘ right shoulder. The Giants look to be in a base 4-3, though linebacker Michael Boley (in the blue box) has crept down to the line of scrimmage, right where the run is supposed to go.

Celek actually has double-duty on this play. He will chip Justin Tuck, lined up right in front of him, before handing him off to Herremans. He will then move to the second level to take care of Chase Blackburn, No. 93

The transfer of Tuck to Herremans is successful, and Celek is positioned perfectly to seal Blackburn off. As you can see in the shot above, all that’s left is for Havili to neutralize Boley. He does, forcing him to the outside to create a lane for McCoy to zip through. The overhead shot shows a wall of green built by the Eagles’ offensive line and Celek. McCoy properly goes inside his fullback’s block and is off to the races.

If it works, why not go back to it? On the very next play, the Eagles line up in the same formation and McCoy breaks off a 22-yarder down the right sideline that sets up a first-and-goal. (The run game would be denied three straight times on the goal line. In hindsight, some of the Eagles believe McCoy was gassed after these two runs and should have been taken out.)

The Giants are still in a 4-3 but Boley is not snug to the line here.

With Tuck lined up way outside, Celek doesn’t need to worry about the chip and heads right for Boley. Herremans will handle Tuck, so Havili is free to move upfield to try and wipe out a member of the secondary.

What happens next is very well orchestrated.

You can see that Celek has Boley locked up, Herremans is engaged with Tuck and Havili is looking upfield for someone to block. Danny Watkins does a nice job here on Rocky Bernard (No. 95). And look at Dallas Reynolds. As he moves to his right, he recognizes that Blackburn is unaccounted for and shifts to pick him up. That was key to making this a long run. So is this next block by Havili on Prince Amukumara.

That leaves one defender to beat in order to break loose, and that’s almost never a problem for McCoy.

This has been their most successful running play to date. McCoy has racked up 160 yards on 24 carries (6.7 average) when running to the right sideline. There is plenty of reason to believe they will continue to try their luck again in Pittsburgh. And they will continue to deploy Havili. McCoy, in fact, said on Friday that he believes Havili should get Pro Bowl consideration.

“Ah, he’s just talking. You know Shady,” said Havili. “I have a lot of room for improvement.”