HomeTop StoriesEagles defend QB-push tactic as NFL set to revisit

Eagles defend QB-push tactic as NFL set to revisit

INDIANAPOLIS — The Philadelphia Eagles‘ tactic of pushing the quarterback from behind on sneak plays has generated significant conversation at the NFL scouting combine — including among the league’s rule-makers.

But the Eagles defended their use of the move and say they’re playing within the rules.

“All I know is everything we’re doing is legal and it works,” Eagles executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman said Tuesday. “And just because people do something that’s really good doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.”

The Eagles converted 29 of 32 quarterback sneaks last season, in part because of their habit of using teammates to push quarterback Jalen Hurts from behind while he also plowed ahead using his powerful lower body.

The NFL in 2005 removed language from the rulebook that prohibited pushing a ball carrier forward, and the Eagles took full advantage in 2022.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said the league’s competition committee debated the rule at length this week. The group plans to revisit the topic when it reconvenes next month.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni offered a theory as to why it’s become such an issue and defended the tactic as part of a broader strategy.

“I think some defensive coaches are bringing that up,” Sirianni said Tuesday. “We’ll play with whatever rules they have. Obviously, it was a very successful play for us … But it wasn’t the only thing we were doing [in those situations]. I think we had some exciting plays that came off of it, when the defenses were trying to stop the [push] play that they thought was coming. And that’s kind of what football is, right?”

The Eagles aren’t alone in their support of the move. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll fully embraced the idea and thinks it could spread.

“This is an opportunity for the game to evolve, I think,” Carroll said Tuesday. “I didn’t [initially] understand or didn’t realize how far they had gone with their commitment in terms of it looking like a rugby play in a scrum. I thought that was an evolutionary opportunity for the league.

“The fact that they’re entertaining the thought of maybe not allowing it to happen in some form or fashion, I get that because they’re clinging to what we know and may not be willing to go where we don’t know. But it’s going to affect third-down [and] second-down playcalling, so I was excited about it and I thought it was cool.”

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel added: “I think it’s cool anytime someone’s able to execute something when the opponent knows it’s coming. I don’t care who you are. That would be attempted by every team if they could guarantee the success at the rate that the Philadelphia Eagles were able to.”

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