PLAY-ACTION makes a mobile QB more deadly. However, we have to be better at selling the run, in order to make our play-action more effective. On first and ten or in short yardage situations, we have to make opponents believe that a QB Sneak, a HB Dive, etc. is immediately on the table. All of that is far easier to sell with a QB lined up under Center, vs being in the Shotgun or the Pistol.
When a QB uses play-action from the Shotgun or Pistol, he has to thrust it forward to the RB. Generally with both hands on the ball to prevent a fumble. A defensive lineman who sees two hands on the ball, immediately knows it’ll be a fake. The fake doesn’t sell, and the QB ends up sacked. Sound like something you’ve seen?
From under C, when the QB fakes, he turns his back to the defense. This helps hide the ball momentarily. A defensive lineman has to honor the hand-off, and identify whether or not the RB truly has the ball. That right there, that second’s pause, helps slow the pass rush and gives an offensive lineman a chance to secure his block. (Which we are always thankful for!)
During a real hand-off, what happens? The QB clears out of the way, and no one really chases him because they’re chasing the ball. When it’s a fake, the QB can take his clearing momentum and turn it into a bootleg. This gets him far away from pressure, and gives him a clear view of the field. In which case he can throw it, or pick up some quick yardage with his legs.
Lining up under C makes play-action more dangerous, because it is the most legitimate alignment to run from. Again, your QB Sneak, your HB Dive, yadda and so forth. This is especially true for teams that run 12 Personnel (1RB, 2TE). With the Eagles being a team that is still rumored to favor such a package, lining up under C needs to be the rule and not the exception.