X's & O's... How Lesean McCoy torched Rob Ryan's D in 2011...

In previous posts we've looked at base schemes that you'll see on Sunday's and even drilled down into some specific plays the Cowboys ran in 2011 that had some success.

Today I want to look back at something I discovered while watching parts of the first Cowboys/Eagles matchup in 2011.

During this matchup the Eagles torched the Cowboys with runs of 21. 34 and 22 yards in the first 3 quarters of the blowout, on the same EXACT play. You can see video here, here, and here respectively.

The play is the Counter Wham and we'll look at the X's and O's after the Jump...

The Eagles ran this play out of several looks and personnel groups that game, but the base run scheme was exactly the same on each of the Eagles 3 biggest run plays of the night, lets take a look at the scheme.


The keys to this run play are pretty easy to see, we have essentially zone blocking to the strong (closed) side of the formation and the QB opens to the strong side, while the running back begins to come down hill to the same side. This causes the defense to flow to that side to stop the inside zone run. However, the Flex-TE (U) immediately comes against the grain and executes the "wham" block on the Will backer, who in the Cowboys case is Demarcus Ware, who is pushing up field.

The wham block allows a smaller player to block a larger player by giving him 2 advantages, a) a running start, and b) an angle to hit the side of the player.

This wham block out, combined with the down block by the LT, give the back an inside and outside seal to make his designed cut to the backside and accelerate through the hole, and almost immediately be on the second level. When you get a guy like McCoy a defined lane to run through and easy access to the 2nd level, he's going to torch any defense.

The Eagles ran this play atleast 3 times in the game, first was on 2nd & 7 with 13:01 left in the 1st Quarter, then again on 1st & 10 with 3:37 in the 1st, and finally on 2nd and 18 with 4:18 in the 3rd Quarter. Andy Reid obviously felt confident after gaining 20+ yards on the first 2 attempts that they would be able to get a solid chunk of yardage on 2nd & 18.


These runs are examples of how the Eagles used their speed advantage against the Cowboys. Get the older ILBs (with the exception of Lee) moving in one direction and leak McCoy out the opposite side into space for a big gain. This is a play that as a defense you have to include in your game plan against the Eagles in 2012. If you see a TE flexed on the strong side, or a FB that moves to the flexed position, your WOLB, DE, and WILB have to alert for the Counter Wham.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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