And lose the damn tight bunch formation before he gets Vick killed.(I spoke about the Tight Bunch formation providing short corners to secondary blitzers in a post last week, and lo and behold, one the first series, the Rams got a sack on the Eagles, who were in a Tight Bunch).
I was going to make a post later in the week, after re-watching the game, but figured I'd throw up my initial thoughts.
If you've read any posts or comments by me, you'll know that the above are things that I've always harped on.
ForEVER, Andy (this precedes Morningwheg getting here) has been infatuated with play action, on a team that does NOT use the run except to set up the pass. CONSISTENTLY, over the years, with McNabb, Andy has called plays in which you'd see #5 doing a damn PA fake on 3rd and long, or in the 2 minute drill, when THERE IS NO CREDIBLE THREAT OF THE RUN -- EVEN FROM A TEAM THAT, YOU KNOW, RUNS THE FREAKING BALL CONSISTENTLY!!!
What is wrong with this play action abuse?
- In an obvious passing situation, play action means that your QB starts out with his back to half the field, losing a second or half-second of being able to see the whole defense
- Generally, on play action passes, there are no 'hot' routes / blitz adjustments, since the whole philosophy of PA is fooling the defense into biting on a run fake***
- You generally work only a half-field read on play action, which limits defensive responsibilities, and changes their risk calculations
- Because of the danger of Vick on play action, teams are desperate to avoid letting him run it and are more apt to do things you normally wouldn't see, including blitzing the backside of PA with secondary pressure -- this is what Monte Kiffin started doing to him in ATL after the Vick-led Falcons put up like 300 yds on the ground against them. It started happening last year with the Eagles, and this is precisely the play that Q Mikell executed
- Secondary blitz to back of play action looks to happen so frequently that it seems like a defensive audible call
Those are a lot of negatives. Of course there are a lot of positives, in the form of making a potential big play. But the Eagles need to be smart in using it.
So here it was again yesterday. The play where Vick got blindsided by Q Mikell and lost the fumble in the red zone?
On the sack by Q, Celek was lined up as the TE on the right. He stayed in to block. He froze, looking for the LB, who obviously had him in coverage, while the Safety came scott free off the edge. He could have prevented the sack by punching out to knock Mikell off track while still keeping an eye on the LB and staying near Herremans.
On a POSITIVE play, the 3rd and 11 completion to Jason Avant, again, there was a needless play fake. There was no backside blitz this time and the line protected, but WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE of a play fake there? Everyone watching knew the eagles weren't going to hand it off on 3rd and 11.
Play starts at 0:46 in the following:
Years ago, someone asked Andy about these silly PA calls and he said something about 'sometimes we run it because it gets us into a certain protection that we like'. That's asinine. You (and Marty) own the offense. If you like the protection scheme so damn much, put it in the dropback game and stop handicapping your QB in pressure situations.
I'm not against play action at all. In fact, with this team (probably leading league in rushing right now), it has the potential to be an even bigger weapon than it was last year. But for the love of cheesesteaks, stop calling PA in obvious passing situations and putting your QB, OL and receivers in a decided disadvantage. (For the record, the rollout that resulted in the TD to Desean was sweet -- but its legal in the NFL to use a sprint out or half-roll without a play fake. I've checked. Its ok. )