In 2013, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles took the NFL by storm. Philadelphia’s offense set multiple records and had a great deal of success. Part of the Eagles success was due to the multitude of packaged plays that Kelly liked to run. So far in 2014, Kelly has introduced 3 brand new packaged concepts that should make this offense more dangerous.
The first is a play that combines a levels concept on the backside of a pin and pull sweep. The Eagles line up in a trio formation with 3 receivers to the field and a tight end to the boundary. The offensive line and the tight end block for a pin and pull sweep to the strong side. The quarterback reads the strongside linebacker to determine if he should hand the ball off or and throw it.
On the backside, the 3 receivers run routes to make up a levels concept. The 2 outside receivers run quick in routes, while the slot receiver runs a deep in route. If the quarterback pulls the ball, his first read is on the middle linebacker. If he drops to cover the deep in, then the quick in should be open. If he jumps the quick route, then the deeper route will be open.
The Eagles ran this for the first time in the 2nd quarter in the 2014 season opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On this play, quarterback Nick Foles read the strongside linebacker and recognized that he was flowing to the strong side to stop the run. Foles pulled the ball and moved his read to the middle linebacker.
The middle linebacker sees slot receiver Jordan Matthews running down the seam and dropped to cover him. This left receiver Jeremy Maclin wide open on his quick in route. Foles hit him for a gain of 10 yards.
This is a really effective play because it really stretches the defense from sideline to sideline. If the strongside linebacker does not react to the run, then the back is going to have a lot of room outside. But if he does move to stop the run, then he is leaving the offense at a disadvantage on the backside to defend the quick pass.
The Eagles also unveiled a similar concept, but this time out of a spread formation with 2 receivers to either side of Foles. This play involves an outside zone run rather than pin and pull. On the backside, the slot receiver is an option on a pop pass while the outside receiver runs a quick in route. The frontside receiver also runs a hitch route and becomes the third option for the quarterback.
The first read for the quarterback comes on the middle linebacker. If he flows to the run, then the quarterback can pull the ball to throw. If the quarterback decides to throw, he can read the weakside linebacker. If he drops to cover the pop pass, then the quick in route should be open. If he jumps the quick in route or the run, then the pop pass will be open. Lastly, if the playside corner is playing off coverage, then the quarterback can throw the quick hitch route. In this example from the week 2 game against the Indianapolis Colts, the middle linebacker heavily reacts to the run action. Foles recognizes this and pulls the ball. Foles reads the weakside linebacker, sees that he is covering the pop pass, and fires the ball to Riley Cooper on the quick in route for a gain of 8.
This play, similar to the last one, is very effective because it stretches the defense from sideline to sideline. As long as the offensive players execute, this play has a high chance of success no matter how the defense defends it.
The last packaged play that Kelly has introduced this season is a familiar play, but with a new twist. Often the Eagles package inside zone with a bubble screen, but this time Philadelphia adds a third option with the tight end running a backside flat route.
The Eagles line up in a trio formation with the running back aligned to the strong side. The offensive line and back execute basic inside zone. Foles reads the backside defensive end and has the option to keep the ball himself or handoff to the back. On the weakside, the slot receiver runs a bubble screen with the other receivers blocking for him. The quarterback reads the middle linebacker. If he comes into the box to stop the run, then the bubble pass should be open, but if he covers the bubble then the middle of the defense is open for the run.Lastly, the tight end slips into the flat on the opposite side and can receive the ball if he is uncovered.
Right here, the backside end crashes hard on the back, and Foles has a wide open running lane. The tight end has taken the corner to the flat with him, so the corner is in no position to make a play on the ball. Foles keeps the ball and gains 5 yards.
We see here that Foles also had the bubble screen wide open if he had wanted to throw it. The middle linebacker came inside to stop the inside zone and left the Eagles with a 3 on 2 advantage outside.This play, like the others, stretches the defense from sideline to sideline. Kelly likes to make the defense defend the entire width of the field and these packaged plays do just that. These plays are very difficult to defend because they put the defense in such a difficult position.