I get asked every year to break down some of the Eagles’ main concepts, so here you go. Using Logan Radke’s Eagles’ offensive manual to make this easier, I wanted to go and look at what makes the Eagles’ run game special. All of the data here is from Logan’s breakdown of the Eagles’ offense, which is one of the best things I have read in a long time. The only thing missing are videos of the plays, so I am going to add some detail by showing the plays below. I asked Logan before doing this, of course, so please go and read his work!
Success Rate Parameters
1st Down Play: 4 Yards or more
2nd Down Play: Gaining half or more of the yardage needed (ex: on 2nd and
10, a 5-yard gain would be successful. On 2nd and 4, a 2-yard gain would be successful)
3rd/4th Down Play: Successful conversion
Explosive Play Parameters
Run Play: 12+ Yards Gained
Pass Play: 16+ Yards Gained
I have saved the best running play until the last. The Eagles’ use of draw last year was ridiculously efficient. They didn’t use it that much (probably because it does leave your quarterback open to more hits) but I think they will use it more last year as they used it a lot over the second half of last season. A 42% explosive play rate is simply insane.
The majority of the Eagles draw plays were designed for Jalen Hurts and a lot of them came from empty too. Additionally, the idea of draw play is to spread the defense out and take advantage of the space in the middle. So, it’s no surprise that the majority of the Eagles' draw plays came out of 11 personnel. Teams were scared of being beaten over the top by AJ Brown last year and the draw is perfect against a team who is sitting with 2 deep safeties, which also makes it a fantastic play against a lot of modern NFL defenses!
The draw play is a run that disguises itself as a pass so you will see the offensive tackles take a passing set, rather than aggressively go and attack the defense linemen like they would on a normal run play. The Eagles will often use Jason Kelce to double-team the interior defensive lineman before getting to the 2nd level. This is a classic draw play run against a 2-high defense.
I honestly feel like the quarterback draw is cheating at times with Hurts at quarterback. Let’s talk basic maths. If the Eagles have 5 players as receiving options and spread out, that leaves 6 defenders left who can come into the box. The Eagles have 5 offensive linemen. This means that, in very simple terms, the Eagles will nearly always get Hurts one-on-one with a defender in the box when they run a draw from empty. Hurts is not just an average mobile quarterback, he is a legitimate running option who can easily make defenders miss in space. It is such a tough play to stop.
Sometimes, if Kelce is uncovered you will see him pull around the guard and become a lead blocker for Hurts too. The technical term for this is a ‘fold’ block which is where 2 linemen will almost cross paths with one another. Kelce will sometimes pull/fold in order to take a better angle if you are running toward the B gap. This is hard for a lot of centers but Kelce is athletic enough to wrap around the guard and become a lead blocker.
The best thing about the Eagles' draw plays is Jalen Hurts. It’s just that simple. Even when the play doesn’t work, he is essentially a running back and he can turn a broken play into a successful one.
Hurts sees the LB flow with the center pull on draw option and cuts the play back like a RB pic.twitter.com/ygplKuKjFS— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) February 14, 2023
Trap Draw / C Trap
Just every single concept I have posted in this series, there are so many variations of each play which is what makes football so much fun. This was probably my favorite variation from last year - center trap draw (or center trap, call it whatever you want!). It’s the same idea but the offensive tackle leaves the EDGE defender for Kelce who will pull to the same side. The trap comes from the idea that the offensive tackle will block down and leave the EDGE unblocked. This is very, very fun.
Many of you who know about draw plays probably would expect to see them on 2nd and long or plays where the defense is expecting a pass. What I find amazing about the Eagles’ draw plays is that this isn’t the case! Just look at the down and distance when the Eagles ran draw plays. This is pretty incredible.
The Eagles didn’t actually throw it last year on a draw play (not that I could see anyway) but you can combine a draw play with an RPO of course. The Eagles will pretty much always have a pass option attached to their QB draw runs just to force the defense to stay spread out. If teams start aggressively playing the draw next year, then expect to see some of these balls thrown.
2022 Eagles— Pace N Space (@PaceNSpace2) February 14, 2023
-QB Draw w/ Y-Stick—Speed Out RPO
-PST Sets 9tech, PSG & C Fold Tech 2 w/ Center Wrapping to Mike
-5 Man Box = NO to Throw & QB Gets Busy Running Draw Cutting this Back from Mike Pursuit pic.twitter.com/DjJE53m33H
Well, that will do it for this series on the Eagles' running game! I have really enjoyed doing this and my biggest takeaway is that the Eagles quarterback run game is flat-out dominant. I hope you have enjoyed and all feedback is appreciated. I am going to look at some of the Eagles' explosive plays over the next couple of weeks before we have actual football to break down again! Thank you for sticking with me through the off-season.