Looking at differences between Philly Special and Philly Philly on film

Looking at differences between Philly Special and Philly Philly on film

Doug Pederson pulled off a master stroke of genius against the Falcons, when he called a gadget play on 3rd-and-5 in the third quarter of the season opener. 

This play wasn't the Philly Special that the Eagles ran in the Super Bowl. It's a play they named "Philly Philly," and yes, it's the one from the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The one Tom Brady dropped. 

The Eagles actually installed this play in their offense on the last day of the mandatory minicamp in June. 

Here's what I wrote about it then:

"During the team portion of practice, we saw some more tricks for the second straight day. Today, it looked an awful lot like the Philly Special. Former college quarterback Greg Ward took a pitch and then threw the ball to Nick Foles, who rolled right, in the end zone for a touchdown. It looked awfully familiar."

It did look familiar. I mistakenly thought it looked like the Philly Special. It was actually Philly Philly. 

So let's take a look at Thursday night's Philly Philly and compare it to the Patriots' failed play and the now uber-famous Philly Special: 

The Patriots were in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) when they ran the play during Super Bowl LII, but the Eagles are in 12 (one running back, two tight ends). Before the snap, Zach Ertz motioned to the near side. 

Unlike the Philly Special, Foles is going to take the snap in shotgun. Corey Clement is flanking him to his right and will take the handoff as Nelson Agholor comes from out wide to get a perfect pitch from Clement. 

The important part of this view is that Vic Beasley bit hard on the handoff. Of course he did. He loses contain in a second, but you can't really blame him. This is going to create a ton of room for Foles down the right sideline. 

Beasley eventually diagnoses the play, but it's way too late. A perfect throw from Agholor hits Foles in stride and the play goes for 15 yards. 

That's beautiful … and familiar. 

Here's how it went for the Patriots, who actually used it on the same down and distance as the Eagles. This came on 3rd-and-5 in Super Bowl LII. 

The play formation is slightly different. As we mentioned earlier, the Patriots were in 11 personnel. And the Patriots motioned the running back into the backfield after showing an empty set. But at the snap, it looks really similar. Danny Amendola is off the line, just like Agholor was. 

On this play in the Super Bowl, Chris Long was the guy who got faked out. You can see him figure it out here, but it's way too late. His momentum is flying toward the ball. The receiver at the bottom of the formation did a great job clearing Jalen Mills out of the play. 

No wonder the Eagles wanted to use this play. It nearly worked to perfection for the Patriots. Look how wide open Brady was! This should have been a huge and easy gain. Brady just dropped it. 

Eagles fans are never going to get tired of seeing Brady drop that ball. 

They're also never going to get tired of seeing the Philly special. Here it is one more time: 

The gutsiest play call in Super Bowl history starts when Foles motions Clement behind him into what looks like a pistol formation and then pretends to make calls to the line, getting behind Lane Johnson and yelling "Lane! Lane!" the cue for the direct snap.   

The obvious difference between Philly Special and Philly Philly is that the Philly Special starts with a direct snap to Clement.

The other big difference is how quick the play is. Trey Burton is lined up much closer to the OL in a bunch formation. This means the play happens much, much quicker. 

I think Alshon Jeffery has never gotten enough credit on this play. He clears out that entire side of the field; he really sells it. And Foles ends up wide open, waiting for the perfect pass from Burton. 

The last big difference between Philly Philly and the Philly Special is that Foles caught the ball over his right shoulder in Philly Special and over his left shoulder in Philly Philly. That just illustrates how good of an athlete he is. Foles catches passes from a coach during warmups before every game. Always has. Here's why. 

So the plays are similar in some respects. After all, the main emphasis on both is that defenses often completely forget about the quarterback once the ball is in the hands of a running back. And if you have a quarterback who can catch (sorry, Patriots) these plays can work. 

It's just amazing the Eagles have now run them in consecutive games.

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Watch Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay crush his American Idol audition

Watch Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay crush his American Idol audition

Rookie Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay captured Philly fans' collective hearts this past season with his energy and excitement at the Linc. It was an instant connection. 

Over the weekend, he did the same thing with American Idol's judges.

Tanguay, 21, zipped down to Washington, D.C., to audition for the rebooted singing competition after his first year with the Birds' cheerleading squad, looking to broaden his performance horizons after the warm reception he received in 2019.

The Eagles' cheerleading squad showed out in a big way for Tanguay's audition in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, including performing a quick custom "Kyle" cheer after flooding the audition room.

Ultimately, though, Tanguay wasn't going to get a free trip through the contest if he couldn't sing.

His clip on Sunday night's show showed: he can really, really sing.

That's a no-joke performance from someone who had never sung in public.

Tanguay talked with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra earlier this month about the audition:

It was the most craziest experience ever and it really allowed me to remind myself that it’s okay to step outside your comfort zone. The experience on the show was so awesome, so exciting and it’s something that I cannot wait for the world to see.

Tanguay keeps the hits coming. Auditions continue through mid-March, and then we head to Hollywood, where Tanguay will probably win even more fans.

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Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

As Doug Pederson enters Year 5 as Eagles head coach, there’s a notable change to the structure of his coaching staff. 

He doesn’t have an offensive coordinator. And now we have a reason why. 

Earlier this offseason, Pederson fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh a day after he said Groh was safe and then shook up the structure of his coaching staff, electing to move forward sans an official OC. 

As the NFL world gets ready to take over Indianapolis this week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, Pederson spoke the the Eagles Insider Podcast and finally explained his decision. 

It’s a great question because it’s a question I have really pondered about for quite some time, really for many years. You look around the league and there are teams who don’t have coordinators. There are teams that have coordinators. I’ve had a coordinator by title. I look at the structure of what we’re doing offensively and how collaborative we put our game plans together. It’s like players; it’s not about one guy. Same way on the coaching staff. It’s not about one coach who has to do everything. It’s a collaborative effort. 

“Bottom line, I’m the one calling plays on game day. So in some facets, you could consider me the offensive coordinator as well. The more I thought about it, I’m like, just again, I’m really excited about Press (Taylor). I think he’s got a bright future. Giving him the title of passing game coordinator, really again, gives him the opportunity to give more thought and input on our game plans. Having Rich (Scangarello) being as a senior offensive assistant, he can assist and help sort of bridge the gap with [Jeff Stoutland] and Press and putting all the pieces together, along with myself and Justin Peele and Duce Staley. Just bringing our game plans together. That’s what I want. That’s my vision for this season and really having a seamless transition that way. 

“When we win, we win as a team. Again, it’s not about one guy getting the credit. I feel like this is the best structure for us, for me as the play caller. Because there’s times when I get pulled in a lot of different directions and I gotta lean on Press. And I’m going to have to lean on Rich and Jeff Stoutland and the guys to really pull the game plans together and really give me the information that I need as we prepare for games.” 

While Pederson — and really everyone inside the NovaCare Complex — has always stressed a collaborative effort in all football manners, he didn’t really give any specifics about how the workload will be split and how Groh’s former responsibilities will be divided up in the new power structure. 

Hopefully, we’ll get some of those answers in Indianapolis this week. 

As a reminder, he’s an updated look at the new structure of the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff. 

Head coach/play caller: Doug Pederson

Quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator: Press Taylor 

Offensive line coach/run game coordinator: Jeff Stoutland 

Senior offensive assistant: Rich Scangarello 

Running backs coach/assistant head coach: Duce Staley 

Tight ends coach: Justin Peele 

Wide receivers coach: Aaron Moorehead 

Pass game analyst: Andrew Breiner 

It’s not unheard of for an NFL coach with a clear focus on one side of the ball — like Pederson on offense — to not have an official coordinator. But this is just the first time he has elected to have this setup. 

The optics weren’t great a month and a half ago when Pederson gave Groh a vote of confidence only to fire him a day later, but on the podcast claimed he was still going through his evaluation process at the time. 

At the time, one obvious theory was that Pederson wanted to keep Groh and the front office overruled him. But that’s a theory that has been shot down multiple times by the Eagles. And Pederson on this podcast said that he listened to input from his bosses but, ultimately, the coaching staff is up to him. 

“The coaching staff is my responsibility,” he said. “I’m the one that hires them and I’m obviously the one that has to do the dirty work and sometimes let coaches go. That’s my responsibility.”

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