It’s the Little Things

Life is good in Eagles Nation.

Carson Wentz is the greatest QB to ever play. The offense is scoring points. Jim Schwartz and the defense are on a warpath. No QB who has faced the Eagles wants any business with doing it again. Sam Bradford netted a first round pick. The run game suddenly exist again. Now if the WR’s (and secondary) can just hold on to the damn football, watch out.

Now unfortunately the realities of being a comically underemployed recent college graduate mean I have not had time to dig into the All-22 footage and really get a good feel for the offensive line play. However, this one play did stand out and I thought I would share my thoughts on how it is so much more than meets the eye, and really impressive. As the title of this post suggest, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

The Play

At first glance this is just a simple “Power” play. Wendell Smallwood shows good burst and acceleration. The line creates a nice hole. Solid 13 yard run. Nothing to write home about, let alone a meandering post.

BUT… The play shouldn’t have worked.

The way it was executed, is not the way it was drawn up.

Allen Barbre is supposed to pull and kick out DE Arthur Moats. TE Trey Burton is supposed to follow up on the inside of Barbre and ISO block the LB (preferably inside out as well).

None of this happens though, because Arthur Moats makes his reads, and diagnoses the play, compresses the hole, and “wrongarms” Barbre. This is perfect technique. Up to this point in the play the Steelers coaches will be happy and the Eagles coaches will be annoyed that it didn’t work, but it would be more in the “the other guys get paid to play football too” category. Nobody is getting cusses out for this play on film, if it just ends here.

But it doesn’t.

Barbre has the wherewithal to pivot his hips around Moats, and then use the defenders momentum against him to wash him out of the play. Burton also adjusts on the fly and instead of going inside Barbre, or just running into him, goes around Barbre to the outside, and still gets a block on the linebacker.

The final piece of the puzzle is rookie running back Wendell Smallwood. He shows good patience. When he first gets the ball, the hole that should be there isn’t. It would be easy for a young runner to panic and bounce the run to the outside or simply try to bury a shoulder into the mass of bodies. Instead he isn’t in a rush, a gap emerges, and Smallwood accelerates through it for a nice gain.

This play doesn’t happen last year. Last year Allen Barbre couldn’t figure out who to block on inside zone (and given that inside zone was 40% of the offense that’s a big deal). This Eagles team is getting better each week. And with better play design and coaching that is alot more effective, it leads to plays like this.


Tyler Aston is a contributor at Eagles Rewind. You can yell at him on twitter @Astonia67.


6 thoughts on “It’s the Little Things

  1. Thanks for pointing out the adjustment Barbre & Burton made.

    It looks to me like WS still could have bounced to the outside. Maybe there is a defender there I can’t see on my smartphone, but I don’t see any defender there for yards.

  2. Nice analysis, and I think you are completely correct, and I haven’t seen anyone else analyze this as you did. I would add that Brooks and Johnson both had good blocks on this. It looks as if Moats is reading the guards and does exactly the right thing when he sees that Barbre is pulling for a kick out – but credit the adjustment by Barbre, Burton and especially Smallwood, who runs where the hole actually is as opposed to where it was designed to be. Keep up the good work. Most Eagles commentary on the web is pretty superficial crap (reciting stats or just linking to someone else’s work) and one of the reasons I still have this site bookmarked is because I find original work here, even though the posting is sporadic. Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Brandon Graham’s Relentless Pursuit to Erase the Memory of Earl Thomas | Eagles Rewind

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