Two excellent breakdowns of the Eagles offense on Friday night are on the webnets today: Sheil Kapadia over at Philly Mag breaks down the two options a quarterback has on a “packaged play” (both of which led to touchdowns on Friday), and Chris Brown over at Grantland wrote about Kelly’s entire offensive scheme, including said packaged plays.
I’d recommend reading both if you want to nerd out on Kelly’s offense. But let’s focus on those package plays.
Nick Foles saw five defenders in the box, and so his decision was simple: hand the ball off to Bryce Brown.
Matt Barkley got a 2 vs. 2 matchup he liked on the perimeter, and so he threw the screen outside to Greg Salas.
The play-calls were exactly the same. Yet the quarterbacks made two different decisions, both which resulted in touchdowns.
These were essentially “read” plays, Kapadia explained. For Foles, he saw five defenders in the box, all of which were offset by five blockers the Eagles had up front. His decision to hand Bryce Brown the ball was an easy one. Touchdown.
Meanwhile, Barkley was faced with six defenders in the box and a mismatch up top:
His decision, too, was easy: throw the screen pass to Greg Salas. Touchdown.
These were the same plays and the quarterback was in charge of making the decision whether to run or pass. He doesn’t even need to tell anyone before the play. The linemen block the same way regardless. It allows for a quick decision without the need to audible.
This concept, known in coaching circles as “packaged” or “combo” plays, resulted in two of the Eagles’ three touchdowns against the Patriots (one run, one pass) and was especially useful when the Eagles went to their fastest no-huddle tempo. The idea behind the play, like so many of Kelly’s concepts, is basic arithmetic: If the defense doesn’t put two defenders over the outside receivers, the quarterback will throw a quick screen that direction; if they do line up those defenders outside, the offense should have favorable numbers to run the ball inside.
There’s nothing revolutionary here, and Eagles fans shouldn’t pin the success of the offense on Greg Salas’s ability to make two defenders miss every time. (Though DeSean Jackson could be a different story.) But such combination plays were a central feature both in the first preseason game and in Kelly’s game plans at Oregon. Current 49ers coaches Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio gave up 52 points to Kelly while at Stanford, as Oregon repeatedly used this concept to stretch out the Cardinal’s defense. This is read-option football for quarterbacks who can’t run the read-option.
We’re going to read a lot of this sort of thing this year– football folks nerd-jamming out on Kelly’s offense. And we’ll look forward to that. But of course, there’s always the more rudimentary breakdown of a scoring play, as demonstrated by DeSean Jackson on Instagram in describing his touchdown on Friday:
Uh. Let’s get it. 10 mode. Uh. Let’s eat. Dirty Bird ’em. Uh. Uh. Uh. 7 to 10.
Yeah, I like that even better. For real, if DeSean breaks down all of his touchdowns on Instagram this year, I M gon be so turnt up !! What it do baby !! One time !!