Eagles

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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The real reason this Kansas City radio host's attack on Andy Reid was out of line

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The real reason this Kansas City radio host's attack on Andy Reid was out of line

I get why people are so outraged by the comments made Monday by a Kansas City radio host who linked Tyreek Hill’s off-the-field issues with the death seven years ago of Andy Reid’s son Garrett.

The guy tried to make a case that Big Red’s inability to be a strict disciplinarian as both a parent and a coach was responsible for both. 

“It did not work out particularly well in his family life,“ is what Kevin Kietzman of Sports Radio 810 WHB said. “He’s had a lot of things go bad on him, family and players. He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline.”

Of course, these sort of remarks are irresponsible, hurtful and off-base. But you consider the source and they're probably not all that surprising.

And let's be honest. We all understand you don’t record the eighth-most wins of any NFL head coach in history and the seventh-most playoff wins without being able to discipline players when it’s necessary. We’ve all seen coaches who truly are bad at this stuff, and they don’t have three losing seasons in 20 years. They don’t last three years.

So yeah, this isn’t about that. Andy doesn’t need to be defended. Not about this.

And outrage distracts us from the real point. The real shame of Kietzman’s comments is that he connects a lack of discipline with heroin addiction.

Garrett Reid, Andy’s oldest son, died during training camp in Bethlehem seven years ago from a heroin overdose after a long battle with addiction, and the notion that his death somehow was the result of his father not disciplining him enough shows such a lack of understanding of addiction and substance abuse.

Addiction is a mental health disorder. It’s a disease.

It’s not a weakness. It’s not a character flaw. It’s not a lack of discipline.

Treatment can help, but it’s a long and difficult process. The changes substance abuse cause in a person’s brain, the addictive traits of heroin and other opioids, make recovery difficult and in some cases impossible.

Garrett was a good kid, a smart kid, and he and his family battled his addiction for years.

Here’s part of Andy’s statement the evening Garrett died:

“We understood that Garrett's long-standing battle with addiction was going to be difficult. He will, however, always have our family's love and respect for the courage he showed in trying to overcome it.”

This guy doesn’t know Andy and the battle he and his family fought to try and help Garrett through that battle.

Addiction and substance abuse have become such an epidemic in our communities. Big city. Small town. Everywhere. All of us know someone who’s lost a family member. All of us have either directly or indirectly felt that pain.

What Kietzman said is wrong in so many ways, but worst of all is how he trivializes addiction by implying that a little parental discipline would have saved Garrett Reid’s life.

This was a horrible thing to say for a lot of reasons, and it’s been nice to see so many of Andy’s former players rallying behind him on social media.

No parents should have to go through what Andy and his family went through seven summers ago at Lehigh. No parents should have to go through this either.

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Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at defensive tackle?

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Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at defensive tackle?

The Eagles bolstered the defensive tackle position in free agency, through a trade and by re-signing one of their own, but whether the unit is better or worse in 2019 largely falls on one player.

Key additions: Malik Jackson (free agent, Jaguars), Hassan Ridgeway (trade, Colts) 

Key departures: Haloti Ngata (retired)

Why they could be better: Fletcher Cox gets some help

Cox was basically a one-man show in 2018, lining up for 80 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. The next closest defensive tackle on the club: a way-past-his-prime Haloti Ngata (Ngata... Ngata... not gonna be here anymore) at 35.5 percent. Of returning interior linemen not named Cox, only Trayvon Hester was on the field more than 8 percent of the time.

And, incredibly, Cox set a new career-high with 10.5 sacks and finished second in the NFL with 34 quarterback hits. Opponents knew the guy next to him was either washed, a defensive end moving inside or just a body, and it didn’t matter one bit. Couldn't stop him. So what happens when Malik Jackson averaging 5.5 sacks over the last six seasons is occupying the space next to Cox? Tim Jernigan returns, too, and Hassan Ridgeway — acquired for a seventh-round pick — provides a veteran challenger for Hester’s spot. All of a sudden, this is a deep, dangerous group.

Why they could be worse: Cox’s injury

Up to this point, all indications are Cox’s offseason foot surgery was not serious and the four-time Pro Bowl selection will be ready to go for training camp. Great. When it’s July 25 and he’s practicing with his teammates, this immediately becomes a non-issue.

Honestly though, the only argument for the Eagles’ defensive tackles taking a step back in 2019 is if Cox isn’t 100 percent going into this season — and don’t act like it can’t happen. Every year in camps all across the league, there are players who were to be “ready for camp” who don't come back until late August, even after Week 1. Again, there is no reason to assume that will be the case with Cox, but on the off chance he’s not himself come September, any dip in performance, let alone absence, would be felt by the entire D-line.

The X-factor: Jernigan

Thanks to the Jackson signing, the defense probably won’t need to depend on a whole heck of a lot from Jernigan. Yet, imagine if he’s healthy and providing a high-end starter's level of talent off the bench, at a position where the Eagles were literally plugging in journeymen like T.Y. McGill last season. Yes, that is a real person who wore midnight green in ’18.

Jernigan basically missed all of the previous year with a mysterious back injury, pretty much only making a few bit appearances in the playoffs. But just one year earlier, he was a regular on a Super Bowl-winning defense, recording a respectable 2.5 sacks, 9 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits. He posted even bigger numbers with the Ravens before that. Now, he’s the No. 3, playing on a team-friendly one-year deal, with much to prove. If he’s healthy and motivated, the Eagles may very well field the best interior in the league.

Are the Eagles’ defensive tackles better or worse?

There really isn’t much to add at this point. As long as Cox is healthy, it’s a no-brainer. Jackson is an upgrade, Jernigan is healthy as far as we know and there’s competition for the other roster spot. BETTER

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