21 Speed: A look at what formations the Eagles are running during training camp
Whenever a franchise hires a new head coach, it’s a mystery what schemes will be run on both sides of the football. This is especially the case for Nick Sirianni and the Philadelphia Eagles. During yesterday’s first practice of training camp, we got a glimpse into what Sirianni and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon will be running in 2021.
During Sirianni’s press conference, he often mentioned what he called a “21 speed” formation. A 21 formation is one of the more common formations in the NFL, with the 2 standing for two running backs and the 1 for one tight end. The difference between a 21 speed and a regular 21 formation is that in the standard 21 formations, one of the running backs is often a full back. A traditional 21 formation is where you see iso, power, and heavy run sets.
For the Eagles, their 21 speed formation included Kenneth Gainwell and Miles Sanders in the backfield. It’s likely that this version will heavily vary from the base 21 formation and actually look very similar to the Eagles’ Pony offense they used under Frank Reich. Pony looks like a regular pro set, with both running backs flanking the QB on each side in the backfield. Here’s a look at Green Bay running in the Pony formation back in 2019.
Having two running backs in the backfield can lead to a lot of optionality for Jalen Hurts alongside the ability to flip plays seamlessly based on defensive fronts. Implementing the 21 Speed formation also allows for a wider variety of run plays out of the backfield and the potential for a triple-option. While 21 speed was the most talked-about formation, Siranni also ran both the traditional 12 offense (two tight ends) and the 11 offense, which is just one running back and a tight end.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jonathan Gannon stuck to his word about several defensive schemes, throwing out numerous fronts throughout their first practice. After many rumors based on signings, it looks like the Eagles will be implementing a 3-4 hybrid defense this season.
During practice, the 3-4 hybrid was shown in the red zone early on and reportedly worked very well against the Eagles’ offense. A 3-4 defense is three defensive linemen alongside four linebackers. In a 3-4 hybrid, one of those linebackers plays both positions, often lining up on the LOS standing up.
Fletcher Cox stated after practice that he would remain the 3-tech for the Eagles, likely meaning the hybrid DE/LB will be on his side. As training camp continues, we’ll likely see several more formations and schemes from the Eagles, so it’ll be exciting to see what offense Nick Sirianni implements in his first season.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today