NFL: Super Bowl Tactics Analysis: The Philadelphia Eagles Offense

The Philadelphia Eagles marched through the regular season with a dominant offense. In addition to Jalen Hurts’ breakout season, the overall quality of the squad was regularly in the foreground – but how do the Eagles form their offense from this quality? The big tactical preview of the Eagles offense ahead of Super Bowl LVII!

If I had to sum up the Eagles offense this season, I would describe it like this: It’s an offense that presents comparatively simple answers, but whose answers complement each other so well that you still get the impression that this offense solve every problem and vice versa Defenses can present too many problems.

It’s also a squad that gives that luxury; this high individual quality, which of course makes it easier to be very successful with simple means. This roster was gradually built almost like a paragon, with the last offseason’s trade for star receiver AJ Brown as the last big piece of the puzzle.

When Lane Johnson was asked after beating the San Francisco 49ers in the championship game where he sees the difference to the Eagles Super Bowl team from five years ago, his answer also went along these lines: “In 2017 we were underdogs. This We have an extremely strong squad this year. They expect you to go far. Sometimes you have to go all-in and I feel like we’ve done that this year.”

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Everyone knows the story of the 2017 Eagles team that lost quarterback Carson Wentz late in the regular season, and then got a completely unknown version of Nick Foles in the championship game and the Super Bowl.

This team is different in many ways. And one of the most glaring differences is the fact that the Eagles’ offense has a floor this year that absolutely nobody expected at this point in 2017.

Super Bowl: The Eagles Offense – The Basics

  • The Eagles are playing more than 70 percent of their offensive snaps this year from 11-persons (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers). A significant jump in recent years, since 2018 it has never been above 63 percent. This is where the trade for AJ Brown undoubtedly made its mark on the offense.
  • And that’s not the only area where Brown has changed this offense: only Davante Adams (9) has had more deep receiving touchdowns in the regular season than Brown (7). Brown also opened up this offense significantly and made Hurts one of the most dangerous deep passers in the NFL.
  • Both AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith each spent over 25 percent of their snaps in the slot. The primary slot receiver was Quez Watkins from week 1, but the most dangerous Eagles slot receiver was Smith: His 3.01 yards per slot route run was the third-best value in the league among all receivers with at least 25 slot targets.
  • The Eagles were clearly intent on making Hurts’ job easier. Only Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones and Justin Fields had higher play-action rates than Hurts (31.4 percent), who also had one of the highest screen pass rates (12.7 percent) in the NFL.
  • This already applies to pre-snap work: Philadelphia ranked second in terms of no-huddle percentage. When Philadelphia played no-huddle, the Eagles had the fourth-highest run percentage (41 percent). But it’s also noticeable that they gave hurts a static picture: The Eagles used motion on just 28 percent of their snaps, the second-lowest value in the NFL.
  • With 0.073 expected points added per play, the Eagles led the NFL by a wide margin in the regular season. Overall, only four other teams (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Cleveland) had a positive score here. Only the Ravens (0.034) also achieved a value beyond 0.006. With a correspondingly clear margin, the Eagles also took first place in terms of rushing success rate (50.7 percent); they were the only team past the 50 percent mark.
  • Here Hurts had a formative role. His 123 regular-season runs were easily the highest for any non-running back, as were his 13 rushing touchdowns. Justin Fields (65) only got close to him in terms of first downs (68).
  • The Eagles had 103 designed quarterback and option runs this season, a league-high. With 0.4 expected points added per run, they took first place among all teams with at least 35 such runs.

The Eagles are good at creating advantages. These can be overtime situations in the run game, driven by the hurts factor on the one hand, but Philadelphia is also consistent in creating an easy box.

Miles Sanders ran only 18 percent of his runs this season against a stacked box, i.e. eight or more defenders in the box. And that’s not an automatic product of a QB rushing offense, for comparison: Falcons backs Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson were each over 36 percent here, as was Baltimore’s JK Dobbins. The three took three of the four first places in this category, the fourth in the group was Derrick Henry.

But these can also be open passes, not least through Run Pass Options. All of this increases the floor of the offense and gives it a stability that hardly any other offense in the league has had this season.

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