I was watching some Browns film today, and noticed a familiar play that the Eagles had incredible success with a few years ago. The basic concept is to put pressure on the safety in a 2-deep defense, preferably zone. Here’s the basic route design:
The offense lines up with twin receivers to one side, and a 2-TE set to the other. The outside TE will run a 10-15 yard stop route, with the hope that the safety on his side will bite up and try to take that away. Meanwhile the slot receiver on the other side will run a deep post, which will get him over the top of that safety and into the clear if the safety is too aggressive in trying to jump the TE’s route.
The Browns ran it in the 1st Quarter against the Giants last year. As you can see, they are in the same formation that I drew up above. The TE will run a 15 yard stop, with the slot receiver running a deep post. This will put pressure on safety Stevie Brown (circled in blue):
As the Browns’ routes progress, you can see that Stevie Brown is locked in on the TE as he backpedals:
When the TE makes his cut on the stop route, Brown tries to jump the route. Unfortunately, that leaves poor Chase Blackburn to try to handle covering Josh Gordon down the seam:
By the time Brown realizes he has been had, he’s 20 yards away from the play, which is in his zone:
Chase Blackburn has no chance keeping up with Josh Gordon. The throw is on the money, and Gordon walks in for the easy TD:
It’s the exact same concept the Eagles ran a ton of back in 2009. Here’s that look against the Saints in Week 2 of 2009. Here the Eagles will try to put pressure on safety Roman Harper (not pictured):
As the Eagles’ routes progress, Harper (circled in blue) is watching TE Alex Smith:
Smith makes his cut, and Harper drives on the route. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson is running his post in behind Harper:
Harper is much quicker to realize he has been had by the Eagles’ offense than Brown was in the first example, but it doesn’t matter. That one little false step in biting on the TE’s route has already cost him:
Harper tries to recover, but DeSean gets WIIIIIIDE open, and runs in for the score:
And a bunch of Eagles that are no longer on the team celebrate:
Eagles fans are excited to see what Chip Kelly’s offense will look like this season. He will innovate (or at least try to) at the NFL level, but Shurmur’s experience with running Andy Reid’s offense will go a long way toward balancing out the fresh ideas with some looks that are tried and true.