I have long maintained that there are certain cheat codes available to offensive play-callers and play-designers. Motion before the snap is one, as it gives you a variety of clues as to what the defense is doing.
Play-action is another.
Now ask any Philadelphia Eagles fan what the problems are on defense right now, and you’ll probably get a few different responses. But chief among them might be: Defending play-action, and linebacker Nate Gerry in coverage.
Now what if there was a way to combine those to into your game script?
It is not that Daniel Jones has been overly effective on play-action passing this year. According to charting data from Pro Football Focus, on his 49 play-action passing attempts this year, Jones has completed 30 of those for 354 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. That gives him a completion percentage of 61.2 percent, and an NFL passer rating of just 73.0.
But it does stand in contrast to what he has done on traditional drop backs. 93 of 152 (again for a 61.2 percent completion percentage), two touchdowns and four interceptions, and an NFL passer rating of 70.3. Jones also sees an increase in 1.5 yards per attempt when using play-action.
Given these numbers, and given what we are about to see in this video breakdown of the Eagles defending play-action, it should be part of the script this week:
Putting together a game plan involves finding what you do best as an offense, and finding where your opponent struggles as a defense. For Jason Garrett this week, play-action is the way.