#8 gets credit as one of the more bizarre plays of the year. Chip Kelly didn't wait long into his NFL tenure to work a little trickery into his game-planning. In opening week on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins amidst a blistering pace on offense Chip Kelly rolled out one of the most bizarre formations you will see in Pro Football:
This formation is called the Emory and Henry formation, and here is some interesting history behind it from Wikipedia:
The Emory & Henry Wasps are credited with inventing an American football offensive formation, named in the college's honor, that divides the offensive line and wide receivers into three groupings of three. While it is primarily used today as a trick play, it was revived in 2007 as an integral part of theA-11 offense, a high school football offensive scheme that was eventually banned due to the exploitation of loopholes in the high school rulebooks. The offense inspired Steve Spurrier to use variations of it as a trickplay formation at Florida and South Carolina named "Emory and Henry", as Spurrier attended Wasps games as a child growing up in nearby Johnson City, Tennessee.
As you can see from the image above, this is the formation the Eagles lined up in that divided the formation up front in 3 groups of 3.
Here's how the play transpired:
The play is basically a read-option play where the highlighted player above, Ryan Kerrigan, is read by Michael Vick. You will note that Kelce, Herremans, and Matthews wall off the remaining 3 defensive lineman. Vick "blocks" Kerrigan with his read (as Kerrigan tackles him) which leaves London Fletcher all alone in one-on-one against Lesean McCoy.
A number of things going on in this play. While the play was basically a one-read, two-option play for Vick it could technically be considered a packaged play with 4 options. As shown below, Vick has the two options we already highlighted post-snap. Read Kerrigan can either keep, or hand-off to McCoy. But depending on how the defense lines up against this bizarre formation, a pre-snap read opens up 2 other options. You'll notice in the replay above that the Eagles have set up the bubble screen for Desean Jackson on the bottom, and Riley Cooper on the top. Here are the 4 options:
The interesting thing about this formation and play, is that despite the fact that Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are lined up out wide, they are NOT eligible receivers. For this reason, there is no reason to cover them. Except, this is the nice part about the design. If the defense chooses instead to load the box against a 3-man line, the Eagles will be able to go those bubble screens on the outside with a favorable blocking match-up.
The other thing to emphasize on this play, is that this was run as part of the Eagles high-tempo offense. This play was run around 15 seconds after the last play ended. The Eagles rushed to the line and rolled out this formation. The Redskins defenders had very little time to recognize the formation and line-up. This pre-snap confusion only tips the scales more in the favor of the Eagles.
As it stands, the defenders really spread out, and you can see the wide open spaces this leaves in the defense as a result:
Oh, and here's an example where this formation and play can go terribly wrong.