OFTEN when we play a team that uses a 3 – 4 defensive alignment, I’ll talk about how some of them are really a 5 – 2, not a 3 – 4. Once I say that, the next words out of my mouth are usually going to be “Kerrigan Plan”.
This is not a term used by the Eagles or the NFL. Just me. Just this site. Heck, when you’re done reading this, maybe you’ll start using it too. So let me get to explaining what it is.
From 2017 and 2019, we swept the Redskins for three years straight. Our game plan was simple. Use their strength as a weakness.
Their 3 – 4 OLB’s (one of which was Ryan Kerrigan), were over 250 pounds and primarily used as pass rushers. Sometimes they might be asked to drop into a shallow zone, but these were players who would be liabilities in man coverage.
What that means, is that the Redskins 3 – 4 looked like 3 linemen and 4 linebackers; but in terms of player ability and use, played more like 5 linemen and 2 linebackers. In terms of coverage, a 5 – 2 is like bringing a hammer to a plumbing job. It has almost no uses.
The Actual Plan:
When an opponent runs a 3 – 4 that’s more like a 5 – 2, then the OLB’s are going to surge forward, towards the QB, instead of dropping into a zone, or playing man coverage. The Cornerback on that side, will have left with the Wide Receiver.
These actions actually leave voids on the edges, where the Flats are. So the Flat is generally going to be 7-11 (always open). And THIS, right here, is where the Kerrigan Plan kicks in
The essence of the Kerrigan Plan is to throw Quick Outs, Wheels and such, right to the Flat. We’re not fighting them for anything. We’re literally taking what they designed their defense to give up. So it’s easy, and unless there’s a fumble, there’s almost no chance of a turnover. It’s free yardage. IF you’re smart enough to just take it, and not over-think it.
We killed the Redskins for years throwing Outs to TE Zach Ertz, and Wheel routes to RB’s like Darren Sproles and Boston Scott. Screens passes are also highly effective.
So there it is. It’s just a shorthand expression of a strategy for attacking an opponent. So the next time you see this term, you’ll know exactly what it means. Unfortunately, it also means when you see us NOT doing it in a game, it will infuriate you. BUT, such is the life of being an Eagles fan.