There’s at least one version of the Eagles’ quarterback sneak we never got to see in 2022.
And it included Fletcher Cox.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni hinted at the Combine that a version of the play that included Cox existed. The next day, center Jason Kelce was able to ask Sirianni why the Eagles never ran it on the New Heights podcast.
“You know why? That’s a good question,” Sirianni said. “Because we did this with (Darius) Slay last year. We had a play. Why do you put a defensive guy in? Well, same reason that Kansas City does something where they circle around. It’s fun.
“So we had Slay in one last year and he had one where he did a couple different things. We had him in twice. But they’re going over adjustments and this and that and sometimes it’s hard to predict when you’re going to do it. And so I remember it was a frantic moment for us. Like, ‘Slay! Slay! Slay!’ And he came running in. They’re not ready to go in. They’re not standing there with the other wideouts that aren’t in. So we got really frantic about it.”
This QB sneak with Cox would have been the push variety … with Cox pushing Jalen Hurts. There was plenty of talk around the NFL at this year’s combine that the league might try to outlaw the rugby-like play.
But it’s not like every team would have been as successful at the play as the Eagles, who had really good offensive line play, a strong quarterback like Hurts and a team that really mastered the technique behind it. Adding Cox into the play as a pusher would have been fun.
“I still remember when we repped it the first time,” Kelce said. “He pushed Jalen before he even had the ball. He was so fired up to do it.”
Sirianni shot back: “That’s another reason (we didn’t run it).”
Kelce then marveled at Cox’s grip strength, saying Cox is one of just two players where he’s noticed a huge difference in grip strength in the NFL. The other was former Packers Pro Bowler Clay Matthews.
Sirianni said the Cox version of the QB sneak was on their minds throughout the regular season but they never ran it and then it wasn’t a priority in the playoffs. But Cox would always make sure it was in that week’s game plan, according to Sirianni.
“I think on the Super Bowl, I just lied to him,” Sirianni joked. “‘Yeah, it’s in. It’s in. We’re good.’”
The Eagles were great at the QB sneaks last season but they were more proud of the wrinkles they ran off of it. And now that Cox is back for the 2023 season, don’t rule out this version of the sneak just yet.
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