HEAD Coach Nick Sirianni needs to develop TE Jack Stoll into a weapon. Relax, I’m not suggesting that we try to make him into TE Zach Ertz. Stoll probably couldn’t gain 1,000 yards on 1,000 catches. What he can do is block. What he did do, was contribute mightily to the Eagles 2,715 rushing yards last year. What he didn’t do was help other players get open.
Last year, on 331 offensive snaps, Stoll saw just 5 passes come his way, catching 4 of them for 22 yards (5.5ypc). That can’t happen in 2022. We need to make opponents respect Stoll as a threat, to stop them from doubling our other weapons. Playing him at H-Back would be a subtle way to help get the ball in his hands a little (or a lot) more.
For those who don’t know, an H-Back is essentially a TE/FB hybrid. Where as an in-line (regular) TE lines up on the line of scrimmage next to the Offensive Tackle, an H-Back lines up behind the line of scrimmage (like a FB). Often a yard or so behind the Tackle, but he can be lined up anywhere back there. And that’s the point.
Keep in mind, our run game still NEEDS him out there. As an H-Back, Stoll’s TE blocking is still in play, because he can line up outside of the Tackle. Lined up inside the Tackle, he can be used more like a FB. That means he can lead-block for RB Miles Sanders, or be in a better position to push QB Jalen Hurts from behind, on QB Sneaks.
Drawing up a TE Screen for him coming out of the backfield, can have more wrinkles than a Screen where he starts out as an in-line TE. Plus, if he receives a hand-off here and there, opponents also have to respect him on play-action. Right now we do none of these things with him. None of them.
Oh, and here’s the best part of playing him at H-Back. That FB aspect? The Dallas Cowboys are looking to pull the FB position out of mothballs. The Ravens have FB Patrick Ricard, but he has just 32 touches in five years. Rumor has the Cowboys using their new FB in the Daryl Johnston mold. (FYI: Johnston averaged about 47 touches per year. And won two Super Bowls.)
Given that the NFL has made the FB irrelevant for a little over a decade, it’s fair to say that most defenders don’t know how to approach it. If we use Stoll at H-Back and have him practice there, our Defense will have familiarity with it when they see it. Thus a division rival has no surprise or secret weapon against us. Plus it’ll help our other weapons get open! Ta-daaa!
On 331 snaps, he was practically ignored, and we never capitalized on it. Seriously. How many times did we let opponents off the hook in the red zone? That lack of vision can’t happen again in 2022. We have a 100% off the radar, surprise weapon lurking on our roster. Let’s make the guy dangerous!