Can Eagles Run Read Option With Nick Foles Like They Did With Michael Vick?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, General News, News Thursday, October 10th, 2013
The big question going forward for the Eagles offense will be how defenses will play against their running attack and running back LeSean McCoy with Nick Foles at the quarterback position, instead of Michael Vick. The speedy Vick provides a legitimate option when he fakes the ball to McCoy because he’s capable of taking off for big yardage, as we saw on Sunday against New York. Will teams change the way they defense the Eagles ground game if Foles is the quarterback instead of Vick?
There was a play that occurred in the Giants game that will let us see that the Birds running game isn’t quite the same with Foles in the lineup, as it was with Vick.
The Eagles had the ball on the Giants eight-yard line with 9:30 to go in the fourth quarter. The Birds were up by a 29 to 21 score, so that game was still in doubt and these plays in the red zone were very important for both teams.
Chip Kelly called a read option, which has been one of the team’s bread and butter plays so far this season. Foles faked the handoff to McCoy, who was headed inside to right. While putting the football into McCoy’s stomach and arms, the quarterback was reading actions of unblocked New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. It was an easy read for Foles becasue at the snap of the ball Pierre-Paul came off the ball like he was shot out of a cannon and headed down the line immediately in pursuit of McCoy.
Foles did what he was supposed to do, he pulled the football out of McCoy arms and headed outside to his left with the ball tucked in his own arms. There seemed to be room to run initially, as tight end Brent Celek who was the only receiver to the left side, was trying to block New York safety Ryan Mundy, who was the only defensive back on that side.
The player Foles was going to need to beat to get in the end zone was New York linebacker, Spencer Paysinger, who had been head up on Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, but off the ball. Nobody had blocked him. He was the only guy who could make the play and he was a step or two behind Foles because it took him a split-second or two to realize that McCoy didn’t have the football.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Foles was no match for Paysinger and Mundy was able to get off of Celek’s block. They tackled Foles at the five-yard line, which equaled a three-yard gain.
The question that everyone is wondering is simply, would Michael Vick has outrun Paysinger and scored on that play. We will never know, but it brings up the question regarding opposing defenses and whether they will have their defensive ends pinch down inside like Pierre-Paul did. Will they eliminate any chance of McCoy gaining yardage on the ground by attacking him and tackling on all option plays, thereby forcing Foles to carry the football.
We will see what happens on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We’ll see how the Tampa Bay defense decides to play it.
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