The Philadelphia Eagles took the traditional quarterback sneak to a new level during the 2022 NFL season. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was able to consistently convert on short-yardage sneaks behind his dominant offensive line. He received a bit of help from the rest of his teammates too. Philadelphia’s quarterback sneak involved a backfield player rushing forward and pushing Hurts and the rest of the line forward.

The play was one of the most unstoppable in the entire league this past season. The Eagles converted on 34 out of a possible 38 quarterback sneak attempts. Philadelphia converted six quarterback sneaks during the Super Bowl.

The Eagles were not the only team to take advantage of the push-from-behind quarterback sneak, but they were one of the best at it. The overwhelming success of converting on such plays has led some to call for its abolishment from the NFL. Others cite potential injury risks associated with the nature of the play.

NFL rules expert Dean Blandino is one of the play’s detractors.

“It amounts to a rugby scrum. The NFL wants to showcase the athleticism and skill of our athletes,” Blandino said. “This is just not a skillful play. This is just a tactic that is not an aesthetically pleasing play, and I think the competition committee is going to take a look at it.”

Pushing the ball carrier forward was an illegal play until 2005.

“The officials weren’t being directed to call it, so they stopped calling it,” Blandino said. “Unfortunately, the rulebook was changed to accommodate the way the game was being officiated rather than the other way around.”

Dan Campbell is one of the few in the NFL glad the push sneak will continue

Despite rumors that the competition committee would indeed outlaw the push sneak, the play will continue to be allowed for at least the next season.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is one of those who is not upset the play will continue to be allowed in the league.

“I’m all good with it,” Campbell said at the league’s annual team meeting. “I’ve got no problem, man. Because here’s why, man. I think of it defensively, man, you’ve got to have a plan to stop it. And that’s what fires me up. We’re going to have a plan to stop it.”

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had a similar answer.

“I’m good either (way). Will we do it? I’m sure we can, but like I said, to each their own,” he said.

Campbell said he believes NFL defenses will adapt and learn how to stop the push sneak.

“That’s like my goal is that we come back here next year and it’ll be like, ‘All right, we can’t do that anymore,'” he said. “So, listen, you’ve got something good, then defensively, you’ve got to find a way to stop it. So this’ll be fun.”

Whether teams like the play or not, it is here to stay, for now at least. Around the NFL coaches will be working to scheme up defenses that can more consistently stop the push sneak.


Photo Syndication: © Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: April 3rd, 2023Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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