Devin McCourty on defending run-pass options: Defensive backs need to defend the pass

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With Carson Wentz out, the Philadelphia offense has flourished with the use of a run-pass options. Expertly executed by quarterback Nick Foles, whose misdirections with a fake handoff rivals Steve DeBerg’s mastery of play-action, the Eagles can catch defenses flat-footed as they hesitate to commit to defending the run or defending the pass.

So how will the Patriots handle it? Safety Devin McCourty addressed it on Wednesday.

“You can’t free up and just go to the ball because you still have to cover your guy because he’s not blocking,” McCourty told reporters. “He’s running a route. So for you, it’s a pass play. For the six or seven guys in the box it might be a total run look, so you might not gain any help underneath because they’re playing the run. Individually, matchup-wise, if we’re in man-to-man or it’s a zone and a guy is in our zone we’ve got to be sound and be able to play what we’re getting. It’s a run-pass option, so it could be a run. But if you’re getting a pass play in coverage then you need to play the pass. When the pass comes up you’re ready to play, and the guys up front that play the run have to play the run.”

The explanation demonstrates the brilliant simplicity of the dilemma the run-pass option creates. It takes guesswork that usually happens before the snap and extends it as long as possible after the play begins, giving a guy like Foles a chance to decide whether the defense is leaning one way or the other before finally declaring whether the ball will move on the ground or through the air.

Yes, the Patriots will have a plan for it, given two weeks to prepare. Even if the plan is executed perfectly, a quarterback who executes the option even more perfectly will always have the edge.

14 responses to “Devin McCourty on defending run-pass options: Defensive backs need to defend the pass

  1. If they continue to stay in coverage, Foles will keep handing off. And if the Eagles’ RBs get to the second level, which is highly likely given the strength of our o-line, then our RBs will have lots of room to run. So good luck with that, Devin.

  2. Devin won’t be relying on “luck”. His coaches are belichick and Patricia. no guarantees in sport but they’ll coach him up for a fighting chance every time.

  3. “And if the Eagles’ RBs get to the second level, which is highly likely given the strength of our o-line, then our RBs will have lots of room to run. So good luck with that, Devin.”

    They’ll win some they’ll lose some. Yeah, the Eagles RBs will probably get a few runs that gash the defense pretty well. Better to give up a 20 yard run than a 40 yard reception and possible TD.

    But don’t think that the Patriots won’t have some wrinkles of their own to confuse Foles with.

  4. harrisonhits2 says:
    January 24, 2018 at 8:02 pm
    “And if the Eagles’ RBs get to the second level, which is highly likely given the strength of our o-line, then our RBs will have lots of room to run. So good luck with that, Devin.”

    They’ll win some they’ll lose some. Yeah, the Eagles RBs will probably get a few runs that gash the defense pretty well. Better to give up a 20 yard run than a 40 yard reception and possible TD.

    But don’t think that the Patriots won’t have some wrinkles of their own to confuse Foles with.

    —————-

    If you give me the 20 yard run, I’ll take it every time.

    But I have no doubts that the Patriots will find plenty of ways to confuse Foles. I have nothing but respect for Bill. I mean that, man! I hope this game plays out as good as it looks on paper. It should be a tactical and physical tour de force.

  5. The good thing about the Patriots D is it allows them to morph between 8 in the box and a nickle D because of their 3 man safety rotation.

  6. RPO is nothing new and is nothing that NE can’t prepare for. However, RPO does allow mr. Foles to play at his best. I remember when he came in all the analysts said “there goes the rpo” because Nick can’t move like wentz. But in his most successful year thats all he ran and he even had around 60 carries. He’s comfortable in the offense and it allows him to be a better passer.

  7. You can count on the Eagles getting flagged for holding to negate a big play in a key moment.

    Fun fact. The Patriots OL has only had 2 accepted holding call against them in the playoffs over the last 5 years. Must mean they never hold right.

  8. You can count on the Eagles getting flagged for holding to negate a big play in a key moment.

    Fun fact. The Patriots OL has only had 2 accepted holding call against them in the playoffs over the last 5 years. Must mean they never hold right.

    ______

    Article has nothing to do with penalties, but whatever…..

    Oh yeah, why would the league give the Pats a break on penalties? Any good explanation you care to share?

  9. They take First Round Draft Picks away from the Pats based on alleged “evidence” that contradicts science, but they look the other way on penalties…got it.

    Go ask your mommy for another PB&J sandwich while you pout in the corner after your team doesn’t measure up to the Patriots. Bunch of big babies…

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