F0r #14 we go back to an old Andy Reid favorite:
It's the old sprint-out, throwback screen. Interesting play design on this one.
The play starts with sprint-action right. You'll note the movement of the OL to the top of the screen and Nick Foles will also roll right off the snap. Also note Jason Avant's pre-snap motion and #36 following him indicating man coverage. All action is right:
As the play develops you see the Vikings defense reacting to the motion right. However Chris Polk has released on a route out of the backfield and clearing out the underneath. He'll draw the LB and safety in coverage. At this point you can begin to see Celek dis-engaging from his block and Kelce has already released to the second-level:
What you see developing is a nicely designed screen play. Kelce, Herremans, and Mathis are all releasing downfield. Note that 2 Vikings defenders are still focused on Polk as the screen is developing right behind them:
As Celek receives the ball you can see he has 3 blockers in front of him. Polk and Cooper have turned from receivers into blockers on the bottom of the screen:
Todd Herremans has a key "ambush" block on an unsuspecting Jared Allen:
Kelce and Mathis deliver blocks downfield, but Celek really deserves a lot of credit for maneuvering in a crowd and getting to the sideline:
Cooper is in position for another block:
And Polk finishes it off with an awesome de-cleater:
As pretty as this play was, I'm willing to bet that after reviewing the film Chip Kelly wasn't that pleased. You see, this is perhaps where I identify the biggest difference we should see in the Eagles 2014 offense vs. the 2013 offense. Flawless execution. Guys who'll have another year in the system under their belts and coaching staff with another training camp to focus on fundamentals and finer things. One thing that was just astonishing for me when watching Oregon tape was not the speed or pace, but the unbelievable execution by all 11 players on the field at any given time. This was especially prevalent in downfield blocking. Now, I understand that college players are much easier to block than pro players, and maybe we shouldn't expect flawless execution at the pro level, but there is definitely room for improvement. This is likely what Chip saw.
The play is set up beautifully. He's basically released 5 blockers downfield to lead the way for Celek. Most notable are Polk and Cooper downfield one-on-one with defenders:
However, as the play progresses, they both go after the same guy:
And they don't even effectively block him. So they've effectively lost their advantage. Herremans is executing the ambush block but they now only have 2 blockers left on 5 oncoming defenders:
Kudos for Cooper and Polk for staying with the play, they both have 2 defenders lined up nicely for blocks:
But they both whiff. Polk's is most notable because his defender is the one who eventually knocks Celek out of bounds before the end zone:
Fortunately, the Eagles scored a TD on this drive anyway, so no harm done. However, while Polk and Cooper deserve an A for effort, they get Ds for execution. At least Polk made up for it with his de-cleater.
Speaking of execution, we ran this same play against the Saints in the Wild Card game. Unfortunately, the result was nowhere near as good. Same sprint action right. Note Desean is in motion to the top of the screen this time and takes Lewis with him, once again indicating man coverage. McCoy is going to play the Polk role and run the clearout downfield:
The major difference between this play and the Vikings play. Go back to the gif and watch how the Vikings DL explode aggressively off the snap. The Saints do the same for the most part, Cam Jordan takes himself completely out of the play (red arrow). But watch the discipline of our old friend Broderick Bunkley who clearly recognizes this play from the film (big dude in the red circle):
As you can see from the next still, the Eagles had a blocker assigned to that downfield defender, but they were hoping Bunkley would have aggressively bit on the sprint-action. Instead, that available blocker has to take on Bunkley (yellow circle) which leaves Curtis Loften free to tackle Celek in the open field for a loss of 8 yards:
So imagine this play if Bunkley wasn't there:
And I would be re-miss not to mention that after this 8 yard loss, Foles lost 10 yards on a terrible sack and then Alex Henery missed a 47 yard field goal. Ugh.