The Game Plans That Could Decide the Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl

If preparing for the Super Bowl doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will. This game features the best players in each conference, and with them the best storylines the Super Bowl has to offer.

The Kansas City Chiefs are bringing Patrick Mahomes back to the big stage for his third Super Bowl in just five seasons as a starter. Mahomes is looking for a second ring in the same season that he won the league’s second MVP award, nearly completing a Hall of Famer resume at age 27. His trainer, the lovable wizard Andy Reid, runs into the team he has coached for so many years: the Philadelphia Eagles.

What about those eagles? Jalen Hurts is a second-year starter, a former second-round pick and perhaps the best example of tenacity and progress in the league. Hurts completes the first pair of black starting quarterbacks ever to compete against each other in the Super Bowl. Eagles center Jason Kelsey and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelsey are the first pair of brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl. Also in attendance are AJ Brown, Haason Reddick and Chris Jones.

What a game it will be! Here, in Bell ringerlocal filmmakers Ben Solak and Steven Ruiz spent the week leading up to the Super Bowl grinding down the tape and numbers not only on these incredible players, but on the schemes deployed by each coach, looking for specific matches or tactics that might decide. this incredible game.

Below are their most important questions for the game, organized by which team has the ball. Let’s start with the Philadelphia Eagles on offense. —I’m left handed

Scheme Question: Can the Eagles win the Super Bowl by spamming RPOs? Where have I heard this before?

Lefty: Any scheme war waged against the Eagles must begin by defending the QB game, especially in a zone reading game. The Eagles are a fairly simple team in terms of roster, with 99 percent of their snaps coming from 11, 12 or 13 people, and players like AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Godert rarely leave the field. They’re also simple in terms of placement: 90 percent of their snaps are shotgun shots, and they’re second in the league for how often they use pre-snap moves.

Ruiz: Sounds pretty easy to defend if you ask me.

Lefty: His after the ball snap that they start trying to trick you. The Eagles are the toughest team in the league. They pack almost every single play with options for quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Eagles’ most common run variation is the zone-read run, in which all offensive linemen block a running back in one direction, leaving the cornerback unblocked. If that cornerback is chasing the back, Hurts can save the ball himself and go around that unblocked defender to the second tier. If a defenseman goes after Hurts, he’ll back the ball and the Eagles will have the advantage in numbers, and their incredible line of attack will pave the way for a talented defenseman like Miles Sanders.

Using options, the Eagles gain a numerical advantage in the current game. They leave the defender unblocked while ensuring that he cannot affect the game and they have an extra body to block the remaining defenders. This is a cheat code.

Ruiz: Is the zone being read? If it was 2013, I would be scared. But not in 2023.

Lefty: I didn’t say it was an unusual cheat code. Zone readable It has has been around for a while, and remedies have the answers. That’s why the Eagles keep layering one variation after another on this basic concept. This is where the party starts.

First, the Eagles will run RPOs outside of the zone read. Their most common RPO puts the twist/flat movement concept into the background of running. Now, when Hurts looks at an unblocked wingback, he also sees the route from the wide receiver and the tight end coming out flat. Hurts can easily read and target this flat route and take an athlete like Gedert one-on-one in space. This is a victory for the Eagles.

The Eagles also get this flat route in motion by sending a tight end through the formation when the ball snaps. This wrinkle has the added benefit that it initially looks like running through different zones: the tight end can either block the cornerback or slide right past him and look for a pass. You can see how the two look similar here.

But a tight end moving on the snap isn’t just blocking a cornerback or running a route. He occasionally becomes the lead blocker for Hurts, who holds the ball and leads an unblocked cornerback to the touchline. Fast but solid Hurts running through space with a lead blocker is another huge win for the offense.

You can see how many options have been put into a simple zone reading just by the action of this tight end. An unblocked defender has nothing to worry about anymore – he has three of them. And behind him, the weak side midfielder, defender and cornerman should also adjust their duties. Check out this game where the Eagles combine the threat of splitting zones with the possibility of a twist/flat pass to create an easy first down against Washington.

All this at the disposal of Philadelphia, And we haven’t even talked about other transmission concepts the Eagles might tag in their reading-enabled running game: bubble screens for DeVonta Smith, who leads the league in screen counts, according to Next Gen Stats; leaning towards A.J. Brown, who leads the league in how great he is on inclines (this is from Next Ben Stats). So the big question here is how to stop the Eagles option play?

Schematic question: Does Hurts have kryptonite?

Ruiz: We will cheat.

Lefty: Hey Ben Solak for Roger Goodell? Yes, I will keep.

Ruiz: No rules will be broken, but in order to mitigate the numerical advantage created by the Hurts and the schematic limitations created by Nick Sirianni’s staff, Kansas City will have to be cunning. This means movement before and after the click. Brilliant midfielders who try to blow gaps in unexpected places and stop linemen from growing. Chieftains need Hurts and Eagles blockers to chase ghosts.

Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo knows he can’t cover All for a given play. If he sends too many bodies into the run-out field, Brown and Smith will go crazy on secondary defense. Keeping the box light will make Philadelphia’s dominant ground game easier. This is where cheating comes into play. Last season’s game between those teams, the Chiefs moved their second-level guards to the opposite side of the running back because the shotgun formations the Eagles often use tend to be that way. runs are designed to hit.

Now, this would be a much more effective strategy if the Eagles specialized in the concept of two or three cannon shots. But it is not.

“This crime can really do anything [in the run game]’ Chiefs guard George Karlaftis told me this week. “They can do the traditional NFL runs: stretch, power, counterattack, whatever that is. But they can also mix it up with college play. There are those [read] options and the like.

Karlaftis also mentioned the “beautiful” titles cutting the formation after the snap, which played an important role in last year’s game. The Eagles lost 42–30, but the offense was hardly to blame. He averaged 0.25 expected points per game with a 51% success rate, won the first down in 41% of snaps, and did so with misplays designed to hit from the opposite side of where the Chiefs lined up their running backs.

If that wasn’t annoying enough, they would sometimes launch a misdirected game from another misdirected game.

This time, the Chiefs will have to do something different. And a faster blitz speed on early downs would be a good start.

Last year, the Chiefs sent five or more quarterbackers on 24.4 percent of first and second down snaps. This time around, that number should be around 30. Obviously, it’s a risky thing to do against a receiving corps that has two star receivers, but Kansas City shouldn’t be trying to staff these guys with their young secondaries. Instead, they can cover areas behind these five-man rushes. This way they have numbers to protect runs and if Philadelphia wants to throw at them they can get Hurts to read a defense that changes shape after the snap. Hurts has been phenomenal this year, but he hasn’t been that good against the looks.

lefty: Yes, we try to keep it under wraps in Philadelphia, but Hurts vs. zonal blitz is a bit of a concern. Here’s a per-game EPA chart of each quarterback and success rate against zonal highlights, with Hurts highlighted in red. In comparison, this year Hurts ranked third in the zone among all quarterbacks:

Zonal blitz works well against Hurts because he often comes out of the pocket against blitzes as he doesn’t like to check or throw hot routes. Instead, he thinks he can bypass the Blitzers and punish the defenders for their aggression with long bouts. But zone-dropping defenders watch Hurts, while cover defenders watch the receivers they cover. So as soon as Hurts leaves the pocket, despite zone pressure, it becomes more and more difficult for him to make explosive runs.

There are reasons other than harm…


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