3rd and 5: Five-receiver set, no DeSean, no LeSean, no Maclin

During Andy Reid’s press conference today, I believe it was philly.com’s Zach Berman who asked Andy Reid about a play in the 2nd quarter in which the Eagles lined up without DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin.  It was something I hadn’t noticed during the game.

“We had kids out there where we thought we had good matchups with,” said Reid, “and what we wanted to do with the play.”

Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly asked a follow-up if Reid and his staff were maybe overthinking things:

“When they don’t work, yeah, that can be questioned. We felt that that was the right thing to do. I don’t think we were overthinking it. It just didn’t work out.”

I went back to find the play, because I was curious what kind of formation they were in, in addition to the situation (down and distance).  Turns out, it was a 3rd and 5, and the Eagles were in a 5-wide set.  The eligible receivers are Riley Cooper (circled in white), Clay Harbor (black), Brent Celek (blue), Damaris Johnson (red), and Bryce Brown (yellow).

The Eagles loaded up the right side of the formation with size.  Two tight ends, and 6’3 Riley Cooper.  Celek ran a 5 yard out, and should have had a first down if he hadn’t dropped the pass.  So in theory, the call worked, but the execution was bad.  Perhaps on the left side, they knew they weren’t going that way anyway, so you my as well give Maclin/Jackson/McCoy a rest?

That’s the best I can come up with.  Otherwise, I just can’t make any sense of sitting your 3 best offensive threats on 3rd and 5.  Then again, I can’t make sense out of a lot of things with the Eagles this year.


  1. […] Jimmy Bama broke down an interesting 3rd/5 play. Shady, DJax, and Mac were on the sideline. The Eagles went empty with an odd collection of players. Many people thought this was insanity. It was odd, but the Eagles did that in hopes of getting a particular matchup. We don’t know what that was or if it worked, but there is logic to using odd personnel combinations. The hope is that the defense will be confused and have certain personnel on the field that offer a favorable matchup. Doing this for a drive would be stupid. Doing this for a play is fine. […]

  2. RogerPodacter says:

    i am happy that the coaches are doing some creative stuff out there.
    however, i could also look at it like they were stacking the field with backups on the left side so if i’m on defense, i’m going to defend the receivers on the other side even more.
    it is clear from the formation that they have no intention of throwing to the left side.

  3. Corry says:

    They had another play similar to this one where they ran a screen to either Jackson or Maclin (hell it might have been Cooper, I was so pissed I didn’t know what I was seeing) where they had Harbor and Brown trying to block for him. Both Harbor and Brown missed their blocks and the wideout, whoever it was, got dropped for a loss. I was just thinking it might have been better to have Celek or McCoy out there to execute that play.

  4. Turd.Ferguson says:

    Looks like Andy has been half-listening to the fans. He took Desean and Maclin off the field to get the size advantage, but didn’t get the part where you need to do that in the RedZone, not on the 45.

  5. rabbit says:

    Since Maclin and Jackson arent making plays and Shady seems to have been sick/injured way before the concussion, an argument can be made that they decided to go with the teams best playmakers aka celek, cooper…
    Yes, we were expecting Jackson and Maclin to be our playmakers but even though Jackson havent been terrible, Maclin sure has.

    1. James says:

      DeSeans having a career year in yards and catches. I’m not sure how much yesterday affected that but until yesterday he was on track for high’s in those catagories. So in my opinion you can’t say desean isn’t making plays he’s only had 1 drop (nick foles slant which was behind him) so he’s made the most of it

      1. rabbit says:

        as I said; “jackson havent been terrible”.
        You cant say he’s lived up to the hype of being a premier playmaker in the league?
        I think we are agreed. I might have phrased it awkwardly. 🙂

  6. Gary says:

    So there’s more terrible coaching going on that we don’t even notice. Great.

    1. Brian says:

      But… the play worked. Celek just dropped the ball. Is that really the coach’s fault?

      1. Gary says:

        It’s not the coach’s fault that Celek dropped the ball, no. But it’s still a poor play design in my opinion.

        1. mjoedgaard says:

          How is it poor play design if everything worked except the TE catching the perfect ball?

          1. Gary says:

            Look, I’m not saying it was the worst playcall of the day. But anytime you take your three best potential receivers off the field when the defense knows you’re passing, that’s not good.

  7. Doug_M says:

    “We had kids out there”
    I don’t want to read too much into things… but I feel like this is an underlying cause for concern. Where are the leaders on this team?

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