Over the last few weeks, we have seen a reinvented Eagles offense.
Without DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery and even Nelson Agholor, the Eagles are somewhat limited with their options offensively and big plays have kind of dried up because of it.
But they’re finding ways to manufacture offense and one way they’re manufacturing chunk plays is with the screen game.
I have always thought the Eagles’ offense works best when they get these screens going and that was true against the Cowboys in the 17-9 win. With the speed and YAC ability of some of their players and with the athletic ability of the entire offensive line, it’s not hard to figure out why the Eagles are good at this.
It paid off on Sunday. Let’s take a look:
This play comes early in the fourth quarter. On 1st-and-10, Doug Pederson dials up this screen play to Miles Sanders and the Eagles execute it perfectly. This was absolutely textbook. The play goes for 24 yards and Sanders comes pretty close to breaking it.
Before the snap, Zach Ertz goes in motion. Even though Ertz is playing with a fractured rib at this point, the Cowboys have to account for him, which is going to buy another fraction of a second for this play to work.
The play action look gets Sean Lee turned around and you can see the play start to develop. Sanders is going to sneak into the flat and will have horses in front of him. Solid job by the receivers to just take their men out of the frame.
Take a second to appreciate Brandon Brooks’ playing Michael Bennett and tossing him to the ground before getting out in front of this play.
As Sanders catches the ball, he has three big offensive linemen about to get in front of him to lead block. All three have a responsibility. Jason Kelce was uncovered on the line, so he’s the first guy. He’s going to take out the ‘mugger,’ who had the running back. That’s Sean Lee. The next guy is Isaac Seumalo. He’s responsible for sealing off the inside man.
Then there’s Brooks. He already tossed a Pro Bowl player and now he’s responsible for the outside man, but Greg Ward is already doing a great job blocking outside. So Brooks can head up field, giving Sanders a 340-pound lead blocker once he gets on the track.
This is the perfect situation for Sanders. He has a mobile Brooks out in front. Brooks completely erases Jaylon Smith from the play and it allows Sanders to pick up another dozen yards. Perfect execution.
This play actually came earlier in the game. It was a huge 18-yard gain that was negated by a Jason Peters penalty, but it doesn’t mean the play call didn’t work. Because it absolutely did and it was a big gainer. Dallas Goedert is really good with the ball in his hands and the Eagles have been happy to get it to him.
It’s 1st-and-10 late in the second quarter. The Eagles are in 12 personnel with both tight ends off the left side of the line. At the snap, Ertz is going to run a route and Goedert is going to stay inline and block Robert Quinn. First, it’s a credit to Goedert that he probably could’ve blocked Quinn, but he just has to get a chip on him and make it appear like he’s blocking. Instead, Goedert is going to slip out and become the target.
You can already see how this play is developing. Goedert is about to come free and there’s a lot of space on that side of the field. You can also see Peters’ man charging. Eventually, Peters is going to get called for a penalty.
Kind of just unfortunate for Peters here. I know everyone wants to kill him and maybe he could have gotten to his spot earlier … but the linebacker over pursues the play and then instead of turning his body and going after Goedert he tries to cut back and Peters can’t help but to hit him in his back. Weird play.
Anyway, you can see all the space Goedert has in front of him with the calvary of Kelce and Seumalo out in front. Again, Kelce has the first guy and Seumalo’s job is to seal off the inside.
This last play we’ll take a look at came in the third quarter on a 2nd-and-5. It goes to Boston Scott, who picks up seven yards and the first down.
On this play, Scott is going to catch the pass in the left flat. Jason Peters and Jason Kelce sell it well and since Seumalo is uncovered on the line, it’s his job to get to the next level and get the key block on Lee.
At the catch, Seumualo does his job and gets a hat on Lee. Meanwhile, Kelce seals off the inside and this should give Scott a hole.
Decision time for Scott. The play is likely designed for Scott to cut back up through that hole, but he’s a little wide for that and he sees 54 charging in. And there’s a lot of space outside, so Scott just uses his speed and bounces it outside to pick up the first down.
A few years ago, the Eagles were great in the screen game with Darren Sproles. Well, he is retiring but they have plenty of other weapons to use on screen with Sanders, Scott and Goedert. Sure, the Cowboys are susceptible to these plays but regardless of opponent, the Eagles have to keep using them.
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