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Film Room: How Eagles Gashed Cowboys With Trap Scheme

The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Dallas Cowboys in just about all areas Sunday night, but the place it might’ve been most evident was in their rushing attack.

The Eagles ran the ball for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns en route to a 37-9 win, and anyone watching that game knew from the opening possession the Cowboys had no chance at consistently stopping the Eagles run game.

The play which plagued Dallas the most, however, was the classic trap play.

When running trap, the offense is looking for a quick hitting run play. They are trying to use your three technique’s get-off and tendency to rush up field against him by leaving him unblocked and getting their playside linemen to the second level.

The blocking scheme is pretty simple, as they leave the two playside defensive linemen unblocked, and then pull the backside guard to kick out the 3-tech. On the backside, the center is responsible for back-blocking on the one-technique, and the tackle simply hinges and seals potential trailing defenders.

dalvsphi trap

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On the opening possession, Philadelphia ran trap to perfection and got running back LaGarrette Blount some easy yards. David Irving is the 3-technique here, and as you can tell from his get-off, he is doomed from the start.

Irving is known for his ferocious first step and burst through the line of scrimmage, but when you come off the ball undisciplined and unbalanced against a trap play, you’re toast. Irving stumbled across the line of scrimmage and the pulling guard barely even had to account for him.

Playside tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai does an excellent job here. He not only avoids Irving, getting a clean release to the second level and executing a nice block on the linebacker, but he also swipes at Irving and uses his momentum against him to knock him to the ground.

The result, a strong gain for the Philadelphia Eagles on their first touchdown drive.

dalvsphi trap 2

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Later in the game the Eagles go back to trap and score themselves an easy touchdown.

This time Philadelphia comes out in shotgun formation and 11 personnel. They are actually a blocker short in the box pre-snap, as safety Byron Jones is lined up right over the playside tight end. But, when your plan is to literally leave men unblocked this becomes less of a problem.

At the snap, Zach Ertz widens Jones and essentially takes him out of the play. Vaitai once again releases inside of the defensive end, and the playside guard releases inside to the backside linebacker.

This time, David Irving is a bit more disciplined and doesn’t simply blow through the line of scrimmage. He attempts to hip-pocket the guard, and stay tight to his backside as he releases to the second level. Initially, Irving does a nice job and keeps himself within two yards of the line of scrimmage.

The problem is that the pulling guard gets into him before he has a chance to wrong-arm him, or put any type of move on at all. He allows the blocker into his body and gets kicked out with ease. At the very least you’d like to see Irving stone the blocker and shed at the point of contact.

Instead, he and the linebackers get blocked pretty easily and the Eagles are off the races. It also doesn’t help that the 1-technique, Maliek Collins, gets absolutely blown off the ball by center Jason Kelce. All in all, it was a bad day for the Cowboys interior defensive linemen.

The Dallas Cowboys run defense was plain bad on Sunday night, and if they want to have any chance at salvaging their season and getting a Wild Card spot they will have to find some way to slow down the run. This front seven will have to transform in a big way over the next few weeks in order for that to happen, however.

What do you think?

Kevin Brady

Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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