Thursday, October 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles training camp 2013: Wait... You can run the ball on 3rd and 4?

On the second drive of the preseason game last week against Carolina, the Eagles faced a 3rd and 4 at the Panthers' 33 yard line. They ran it, picked up 5 yards, and got a first down.

Eagles training camp 2013: Wait... You can run the ball on 3rd and 4?

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

On the second drive of the preseason game last week against Carolina, the Eagles faced a 3rd and 4 at the Panthers' 33 yard line. They ran it, picked up 5 yards, and got a first down.

Huh? You're allowed to do that?

The play was broken down by Sheil Kapadia of Philly Mag, although his focus was on the Eagles' usage of 4 tight ends on the play, which is absolutely worth checking out. Within that post, Sheil noted that the Panthers only had 5 players in the box, which he counted off here:

More coverage
 
Kempski's Corner: Eagles need balance
 
VOTE: Should Herremans try to play with torn bicep?
 
VOTE: Who should be Eagles biggest concern vs. Texans?
 
Rich Hofmann: Foles is the issue with Eagles
 
WIN: Make picks in our weekly pro football contest
 
DOWNLOAD: Philly Pro Football app
 
FORUMS: Will the Eagles repeat as NFC East champs?
 
Latest NFL odds
 
Buy Eagles jerseys and other gear

Sheil explained that the Eagles had the option to either run or pass, depending on the numbers:

The decision-making process for the quarterback here is simple. He has the option to hand the ball off or throw a screen to either side, depending on the numbers. In the box, Nick Foles is looking for a 5-on-5 matchup to run the ball. And that’s exactly what he gets.

So they ran it. Chip Kelly's offense is often thought of as complex, and in some ways it is, but in terms of just taking what the defense is giving, it's very simple. Here's something I noted about that game:

 

This way of thinking is of course in contrast to the way Andy and Marty attacked 3rd and mid-to-short situations. During Reid's tenure, if the Eagles got into 3rd and 4 or 3rd and 3, you could pretty much count on a pass. Here's a breakdown of Reid's tendency to pass on 3rd and 4 and 3rd and 3:

Those numbers are high, especially considering a number of the times the Eagles ran in those situations were likely runs by Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick, as opposed to situations in which the Eagles were taking advantage of the numbers and just physically getting first downs with their OL beating defenders in front of LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook.

This season, if the offensive line has a "hat-on-hat" advantage, there's a good chance the Eagles are going to run it. That will ultimately make defenses respect the run threat, which will make passing in those situations much easier.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
About this blog
For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected