How the Eagles can break the game in 2020
I mentioned briefly in my article about Jalen Hurts that the Eagles now have the ability to do some incredible things with their offense this season. The NFL is moving towards the “Air-Raid” ideals of heavy passing, deep throws, and high scoring, Doug Pederson is taking a page out of his mentor Andy Reid’s book and mimicking exactly what their offense did on their way to becoming Super Bowl Champions last season. The Eagles have all of the necessary elements needed, plus a little something extra that the Chiefs don’t have, to make themselves much more lethal.
Kansas City’s Recipe for Success:
Kansas City has a stud under center. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in football, and is a new age offensive coach’s wet dream. Everything about his game is perfect. Although we haven’t seen it in a game yet, Mahomes has the ability to throw the football 90 YARDS. Yeah, you heard that right, NINETY YARDS. Throw in the fact that he is slick, can make highlight no-look passes, and can break away using his feet for a huge play, Mahomes is one of the most well rounded QB threats in the modern NFL. His mental ability to break down a coverage before the play and adjust the routes to get exactly what he wants in under 20 seconds is incredible and something only the great NFL QBs can do.
Andy Reid decided to flip the game on its head and give Mahomes and the Chiefs offense what they needed to truly excel into a championship caliber team. The offense doesn’t need elite route runners or guys to catch perfectly timed throws, they need players with speed and lots of it. He brought in guys like Tyreek Hill, the fastest player in the NFL, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson. Outside of Hill, those guys were not seen as invaluable assets heading into the 2019 season, but they were exactly what Mahomes needed. They were able to stretch the field and cause nightmares for the opposing secondary.
Chiefs QBs are warming up here at Mile High. @KCChiefsRadio @KCTV5 pic.twitter.com/uXR6vZbpTo
— Dani Welniak (@KCTVDani) October 1, 2018
On defense, a cornerback can stop a wide receiver with a deep zone, but let’s say you have four WR threats with the same combination of speed and agility – talk about spreading a defense thin. Building on that concept, you can prevent a high deep zone by incorporating an elite Tight End (Travis Kelce) who keeps the linebackers working and gives the QB (Mahomes) a check-down option if the deep routes aren’t there. Add an Offensive Line who can hold a pass rush for 7 seconds and congratulations, you’re now unstoppable. At this point, you’re almost daring a defense to blitz so Mahomes has an open field to place the perfect pass into a receiver’s hands.
Still reading? If you haven’t realized by now, I’m essentially talking about the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles and not the Kansas City Chiefs.
How the Philadelphia Eagles Replicated this Formula in the 2020 NFL Draft:
Howie Roseman had an incredible offseason with a plan to replicate this formula and has essentially broken the current ideology of the NFL in the process. You can’t teach speed and Howie, true to his word, drafted literally all of it. Speedsters like Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins are all one thing – pure speed. I get it, fans wanted a WR on the outside to compliment Desean Jackson and help open up the offense. I assure you, by bringing in even more players that are like Desean Jackson, Howie has opened it ten-fold compared to just complimentary WR options.
DeSean Jackson 51-yard TD from Carson Wentz. Welcome home. pic.twitter.com/32RTF3yzfL
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 8, 2019
While Wentz has yet to achieve the accolades Mahomes has, the raw talents of his game are there. Wentz’s agility and innate ability to break away from the pressure makes him the perfect fit for one of these offenses. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, are 2 elite Tight Ends available mid-field to help keep the defense honest, and not stretch the zone deep. Ertz is able to beat a majority of NFL Linebackers in coverage. and with an incredible offensive line protecting Wentz, defenses would have tons of trouble stopping this group.
There are 2 major things that separate what Philadelphia does and what KC did last year that can make the Eagles even better.
- Defense that isn’t a liability.
- The possibility of a double quarterback set.
I want to focus on what I am now calling the “Double Q formation”
Break the game:
The Eagles have added a fold into their game that has yet to be fully utilized in the NFL and has the ability to be game-breaking. Drafting Jalen Hurts echoed the philosophy Sam Hinkie, thinking 10 steps ahead. Sure, bringing out 2 Quarterbacks has been done before, but this is something different. Doug and Howie: Thank me later. I am going to draw up a few possible plays to just demonstrate how lethal this offense can be.
Play 1: Read Option RPO
Eagles have a lot of experience running the RPO. With Jalen Hurts speed and agility they can take it to the next level. In a basic left formation they have Hurts off to the right and run a read-option with Wentz. If the slant across the middle is there, Wentz can quickly hit the WR. If not, hand the ball to Hurts. Hurts then has an out to his left or a slant coming from the other side of the field. Given both of those options he can hit either one or choose to keep it and run with it (RPO). This will throw defenders for a loop as they have 2 progressions to cover and have no idea which of the multiple opportunities the Eagles will strike. Any coverage they choose can prove to be wrong.
Play 2: QB screen RPO
This one is simple. Line Hurts up in the slot and hit him with a quick screen. There would be a man running deep or a possible different combination of routes depending on the team and time of the play. This could allow Hurts to keep it and run with it like a normal screen or allow him to throw it deep for the even bigger play or to someone upfield for a few yards. They could run decoy plays with Hurts in the slot to prevent the defense from automatically adjusting to a certain zone when this formation comes out.
Play 3: QB Speed RPO
My favorite of the bunch. Line Hurts up in the slot on the near side of the field and bring him in motion. It’s just basically a receiver speed run at first and as he runs out, he has a slant coming in and a deep route, along with Ertz blocking and releasing, or staying put to pick up the rush. Hurts can hit the slant if open or just take it and run with it.
Clearly, this is a fans perspective on how to utilize the 2nd round pick in a way that hasn’t been done before. A glimpse at what Philly could do with Hurts and Wentz both on the field. An option to not only run a specialized “trick play” package, but actually utilize two QBs on the field at once.
Kansas City used this formula to win a Super Bowl. The Eagles can mirror this philosophy and absolutely blow it out of the water.
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