For #11 on the ChipWagon Top 25, I'll feature one of my personal favorite plays of the year, but most definitely my favorite Chip-ism:
"Obviously screens are very beneficial against man coverage because if you can block the guy that is responsible for somebody then you get an opportunity for a catch and a run. What we try to do on all screen plays, and we talk about forming a sidewalk between the hash and the numbers."
Let's have a look, shall we?
Lots of fun things to break down on this play.
First, let's start with the pre-snap motion. You see Bryce Brown sprinting out of the backfield to the bottom of the screen. You'll also see the Redskins defender following him in motion. Again, this signals to Nick pre-snap that the Redskins are in man coverage:
You can imagine this as packaged play. If for example the Redskins are in zone coverage and that defender does not follow Bryce, the Eagles get a 3 on 2 match-up on the bottom of the screen with Jackson and Avant blocking:
As it is, based on the man coverage the Eagles have pulled 4 Redskins defenders down to the opposite of the field of where the play is going to occur. Since Nick already knows this is man coverage, he merely fakes quickly to the right and then turns back to his primary focus, Brent Celek on a screen pass. This is where the magic begins. Celek initially blocks on the play, but then let's his man go as he leaks out on the screen. Because the Redskins are in man coverage, LB Perry Riley has coverage responsibility on Brent Celek. But as you can see here, the design of the play has Jason Peters accounting for him. You'll also notice the 3 other Eagles OL releasing off blocks downfield:
First let's highlight this "sidewalk" Kelly speaks of. Check out the vertical yellow lines. This is picture perfect execution of Kelly's vision. Basically Peters, Kelce, and Jeff Maehl are forming the sidewalk between the numbers and the sideline that creates an alley for Celek. You'll also notice Evan Mathis leading the way to protect against any "leakage" in case one of those guys don't execute their block.
But there's one more thing. The guy Chip Kelly refers to as the "ambush player" is Todd Herremans on this play. Let's have another look:
Herremans completely demolishes an unsuspecting Stephen Bowen taking care of the backside player on the play. The result is a long gain and almost a TD. Just gorgeous execution!
Let's have a look at this concept in a couple of other scenarios. Against the Raiders a few weeks earlier, we ran the same play. However the Raiders were playing closer to the line of scrimmage with a safety with coverage responsibity on Celek in the box. This constricts the play a little up front but the basic concept can be clearly seen:
On this particular play, the ambush block is once again in play however, you can see Kelce's man is spaced a bit away and Kelce can't get his hands on him:
As a result, Celek abandons the sidewalk and cuts to the inside. He still gets a very nice gain with YAC, but had he stuck to the play you can see Peters had his side closed off and Evan Mathis was leading the way.
Here's a few more looks of the concept against zone coverage. Here Desean is sent to the flats on a pre-snap motion against zone coverage. You can see all the Bucs defenders grouped towards the top of the screen. This leaves lots of room for a leaked screen to McCoy on the bottom:
And the sidewalk and ambush is set up:
This time with Avant coming in "orbit" motion against zone coverage:
One more picture for the road: