RECEIVERS getting open early helps get the ball out of a QB’s hand, and helps move the chains. Running crisp routes helps, but what helps even more, is looser coverage. A great trick for loosening coverage, is using play-action.
The Eagles use play-action, but often it features ball fakes out of Shotgun (which defenders never buy), or is used when we aren’t running the ball enough to sell it. As a result, we rarely see a situation where a TE blows by a LB and gets open down the seam for a 20 yarder. We never see a Slot WR get an inside step on a Nickel, and blow past an in the box Safety, for a race to the end zone.
We use play-action like amateurs. Most of the time we aren’t fooling anyone. We need to run more to convince teams that we will run, and we need to run more plays from under Center. Period.
Another thing we need to do is, after a handoff, run the QB out of the pocket like it’s a legit bootleg. If we do it enough, opponents will be hesitant whenever they see it, because they won’t know which end of the dog is wagging. That will make both the pass AND the run more effective.
Like a pass or a run, play-action is a weapon. We should be using it as such.