You got to know when to hold 'em... Panthers at Eagles

You got to know when to hold 'em... Panthers at Eagles


You got to know when to hold 'em... Panthers at Eagles


The current trend in officiating is to avoid calling offensive line holding penalties unless the hold is egregious, usually on an edge play or obvious attempt to protect a QB from an unabated pass-rusher. This is part of the reason why offensive stats are on the rise and QB’s are putting up record numbers.

The league knows that there’s at least one technical holding penalty that could be called on every play. That would make the product unwatchable, and the fact is the league wants more protection for quarterbacks and more scoring anyway, so the word to the officiating crews in recent years has been to ease up on the holding calls.

This means you have to be smart about whatever holding you’re allowed to get away with, and that especially goes for the Eagles offensive linemen in Sunday’s game against Carolina. There’s going to be some heat coming at Carson Wentz from the Panthers’ defensive line, linebackers and safeties in a combination of defensive packages. If you have to hold to protect, don’t be obvious and do your best to sell the hold as a necessary grappling maneuver of self-defense.

Remember, we’re dealing with “RiverBoat Ron” Rivera— part of his technique influence is to teach his players how to induce opposition penalties. If he can get you to hold, and hold some more, he reckons he can get you to fold.

In particular I’m concerned with something that could victimize our offensive tackles, especially with Jason Peters (biceps) and Lane Johnson (ankle) still on the mend, yet starting the game at the tackles anyway.

Panthers DE’s Julius Peppers and Mario Addison do this little thing called a “rip move” with a diabolical twist. They push up on the OL’s hands, essentially forcing the OL to put the defender into a choke-hold despite the OL’s having zero intention of doing so. Now that by itself is not technically a holding penalty, per the rules:

EXCEPTION to Holding Call, blocking notes, section 1 : if, during a defensive charge, a defensive player uses a “rip” technique that puts an offensive player in an unintentional position that would normally be holding.”

Fine, no worries, right? Wrong!! What Peppers and Addison have added to the poker game is the alleged “flop move” with which they finish their “rip”…

“Blocking notes, Section 1: Holding will be called if the defender’s feet are taken away from him by the offensive player’s action.

So if Peppers or Addison fall to the ground artfully enough at the end of the play, even though they initiated a “legal holding” response from the OL, they can make it look like an illegal choke-slam if their bluffing act is good enough.

If the ref thinks the defender simply slipped and fell of his own momentum, there is no holding call. Peppers and Addison must sell the ref that they were choke-slammed to the ground.

The Eagles OL must be smart enough to call the bluff on these guys. He does that by making sure he falls on top of the guy in an equally dramatic performance. That’s because Section 2 of the blocking rules notes tells them “If a blocker falls on or pushes down a defender whose momentum is carrying him to the ground, Offensive Holding will NOT be called unless the blocker prevents the defender from rising from the ground.”

Translation—if he “rips and flops”, you gotta “flop” along with him, too, but don’t dare stop him from getting up again.

These are the kinds of weird things that pop into my mind on GAME DAY!! It’s the 3-2 CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. the 3-3 PHILLY EAGLES, Sunday, October 21, 1:00 P.M. EST, Lincoln Financial Stadium, FOX-TV !!!

Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson will be more interested in pass coverage than “rip” moves.

“The Eagles running backs are all good receivers out the backfield. … We’ve just got to go out there and play our ball. Do our technique, it’s going to be technique over anything, and go out there and compete. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a one-on-one matchup between the linebackers and safeties versus the tight ends and running backs.”

HC Ron Rivera knows the Eagles are one of the most dedicated short-passing teams in the NFL, throwing to the short-right area of the field 93 times this season and the short-left area 73 times — good for first and ninth in the league, respectively. They do so efficiently, completing 74 percent of their passes to either side. And that’s a direct result of the diverse weapons at quarterback Carson Wentz’s disposal.

By the way, tight end Zach Ertz ranks second in the league in receptions, leading all non-wide receivers. He’s one of the league’s best at his position, recording at least 70 catches and 800 yards in each of his past three seasons — but this might end up his best yet. Ertz is on pace to shatter his career-bests of 5.6 catches and 58.9 yards per game, averaging eight catches and 80 yards on a career-high 11.2 targets per game.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said his offense tries to create matchups for Ertz, using his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame against typically-smaller-than-a-tight-end safeties. That’s something Carolina says it is prepared for.

“They’ve got certain guys who, when they have the ball in their hand, are dangerous. Nelson Agholor is speed, quicks — he has it all,” linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “Zach Ertz is a top-five tight end in the league and then Alshon. Those guys all present a different challenge — some are big, some are quick, some run really good routes and some kind of do it all. They’re good after the catch, as well. That’s what makes the team difficult. If you have one guy it makes it easy to kind of figure out where they’re throwing the ball, but if you have multiple guys like these guys do, it makes it more difficult.”

Should be a helluva game, a very physical chess match if you will…

If you’d like some additional perspective on the Panthers’ preparation for the Eagles, read more here:

Go Eagles!

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