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All 22 Plays of 2013: The Eagles Package Plays

Conservative in nature, the NFL is usually the last to accept change in the football world. Because of the natural hesitance to develop new schemes and wrinkles, the major source of innovation for NFL offenses comes from NCAA and high school football.

In the mid 2000s, the Wildcat, first invented at Arkansas, burst onto the scene with the Miami Dolphins. In 2012, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and RGIII shredded NFL defenses with the Zone Read and defensive coordinators struggled to keep up with new schemes filtering into the NFL.

Last season, this trend continued as the Package Play began popping up around the NFL. This scheme was development by Doug Marrone, the now Buffalo Bills coach, at Syracuse in 2011. Simply put, the Package Play is a single play with multiple options, usually a Zone Read, bubble screen and a stick route, that allows the offense to attack the defense where it is weakest. While Marrone developed the Package Play, Chip Kelly adopted the scheme at Oregon and brought it with him to Philly where he unleashed it against unprepared defenses.

Let’s look at how the Eagles gashed the Redskins on their 2nd offensive play of 2013 with a Package Play.

Game Situation: 1st Quarter, 14:44, 2nd and 4 at the PHI 26, Redskins 0, Eagles 0

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR (DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper) 1 TE (Brett Celek) 1 RB (LaSean McCoy)

Formation: 3 Wide Shotgun Open

Offensive Concept: Package Play

Defensive Scheme: Cover 4

Package1 Package2 Package3

Summary: While the actual play is quite simple, or at least the components are, the multitude of options puts the defense in a no-win situation. Already on the back foot due to Chip Kelly’s hyper tempo, the Redskins defense overreacted to two aspects of the Package Play: the bubble screen and off tackle run. This left the third, TE Celek's stick route, wide open.

The two key elements of Package Plays are the confusion, caused by the multiple and sometimes conflicting actions happening at once, and the emphasis on width. By combining an outside run to one direction and a bubble screen to the other, Chip Kelly’s Eagles utilize the entire 53 ½ yards of the field. With the entire field to cover, the Redskins were simply stretched too thin and the middle of the field was left wide open. While the Eagles offense changed drastically after Vick was replace with Foles, the Package Play highlights the offensive philosophy, multiple options and spacing, that Chip Kelly based and will continue to base his offense around.

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