The performs that look the simplest are sometimes those that exemplify the mastery of the play-caller.
When Doug Pederson was named the Eagles head coach 22 months in the past, and he introduced that he would name the offensive performs, many have been skeptical. His first season solely marginally alleviated these considerations. But Pederson, like his younger quarterback, has elevated his recreation in Year 2.
And there have been instances, corresponding to Carson Wentz’s 32-yard landing cross to Alshon Jeffery that kick-started the Eagles’ 51-23 romp of the Broncos on Sunday, when Pederson’s maturation as a play-caller has invalidated the preliminary cynicism.
He’s a pure, or seemingly so due to preparation. On the floor, the primary landing was a superbly timed run-pbad possibility wherein Jeffery faked a display screen and Wentz hit him in stride as he launched. And that it was.
But there have been extra layers to a play that the Eagles had practiced months in the past, however solely not too long ago dusted off after finding out the Broncos final week. And the boldness of the design and the decision was that it attacked and took benefit of two of the very best gamers on Denver’s protection – edge rusher Von Miller and cornerback Aqib Talib.
After Talib was referred to as for holding on third-down-and-1, the Eagles had a primary down on the Broncos 32. The ball was on the fitting hash mark, which was a inexperienced gentle for Pederson to drag out the play.
“It’s a read option, read the defensive end,” Pederson mentioned. “It just so happened we were on the right hash. I think Von was over there and we knew that their d-end liked to close a little bit.”
The run-action, when Wentz rode new working again Jay Ajayi and browse Miller, received the unblocked finish to chew on the preliminary faux. Miller closed because the quarterback rolled to his proper and took away Wentz’s choice to run himself. But the cross possibility labored to perfection.
Talib and Chris Harris Jr. are two of the very best cornerbacks within the NFL as a result of they’ll shut down many receivers in man-press protection. That alone makes them aggressive defenders, however Talib has a knack for wanting to leap routes.
“We knew Talib is an aggressive corner,” Wentz mentioned.
As Wentz rode Ajayi, Jeffery turned towards the quarterback as if he have been receiving a display screen cross. That made Talib plant and switch his eyes towards Wentz, and by the point he realized the display screen was a faux, Jeffery was by him with a full head of steam.
“I’m like, it’s press man [coverage],” Jeffery mentioned, “so I know he’s going to bite off Carson.”
Wentz floated a strike to his receiver, who had gotten behind Talib, and Jeffery waltzed into the tip zone untouched earlier than late-arriving security Darian Stewart.
“It’s a Day 1 training camp, Day 1 OTA play,” Pederson mentioned.
But the Eagles had but to execute it in a recreation that means, they usually practiced all of it week as a result of movie examine had revealed an inclination. That’s teaching in motion. And Pederson dialing it up in the fitting scenario towards a vulnerable protection was play-calling at its most interesting.
It was an indication of issues to come back towards the NFL’s top-ranked protection. And the Broncos acknowledged afterward they have been merely outschemed.
“They knew everything we were going to do today,” Harris mentioned.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson watches the motion on the sphere as his workforce beats the San Francisco 49ers 33-10 at Lincoln Financial Field October 29, 2017. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
The Eagles’ 51 factors have been 30 greater than the Broncos had allowed on common of their first eight video games. They had 158 extra whole yards (419) and 124 extra dashing yards (197) than the Broncos’ season common. And the Eagles’ 38 p.c success charge on third down and 100 p.c ratio within the purple zone have been additionally higher than the Broncos had allowed – 25 pct. and 46.67 pct. – up to now.
It was domination – with an help from a protection that pressured two interceptions – and additional highlighted the Eagles’ offensive range.
“The best part about it is we have a ton of unselfish guys,” Wentz mentioned. “Any week, it’s somebody different and no one really cares who it is.”
But a lot of what made the Eagles offense profitable towards the NFL’s top-ranked protection was based mostly upon recreation planning. If the Broncos had struggled in a single space it was towards top-flight tight ends. But even with Zach Ertz sidelined, Pederson concerned Trey Burton and Brent Celek.
In the second quarter, Burton break up extensive and linebacker Brandon Marshall went out to cowl him.
“We knew we had a mismatch there from early on,” Wentz mentioned.
Burton ran a slant-and-go and Wentz hit him for a 27-yard landing. The two tight ends had 5 catches for 80 yards and a rating in simply the primary 20 minutes.
The Eagles had struggled towards the blitz over the past month and the Broncos have been certain to check them once more. And they did. But Pederson and his offensive coaches had schemed to guard Wentz by shifting the pocket with roll-outs, fast hitters and the occasional chip blocking.
“We studied it,” mentioned Wentz, who was sacked solely as soon as. “We had a pretty good idea of how we wanted to call protections.”
The run recreation took awhile to get going, as anticipated towards Denver’s entrance, however with Ajayi within the fold, and LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement sharing the load, the Eagles wore down the Broncos. Even Wendell Smallwood received some late carries, because the working backs averaged 5.6 yards per rush.
Ajayi scored from 46 yards out on an outdoor zone run. And Clement scored twice, the primary time on a read-option pitch from Wentz that once more took benefit of Miller on the sting.
“We kind of got the idea from Kansas City on Monday night,” Pederson mentioned. “They did the same thing. Carson’s very athletic to do it.”
Wentz’s function within the general success of the offense can’t be understated. Pederson has given the second-year quarterback nice duty. But it’s shared expertise.
“I just have a lot of confidence in the way he calls things,” Wentz mentioned of Pederson. “Him and I are badembly up fairly a bit, simply dropping concepts between one another, so I’ve a very good feeling of how he’s going to name the sport.
“When he stays to it, obviously like today, good things happen.”