Arizona Game Winning Shovel Pass & Various Shovel Option Concepts

Arizona finished off their 26-20 overtime victory against Green Bay on a shovel pass from Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald. Shovel pass is a common play used around the goal line in the NFL. Let’s analyze how Bruce Arians designed a shovel concept with no option element or QB run threat, along with other variations of the Shovel Option Concept.

Shovel option is a combination of Power blocking along with option principles. In traditional shovel option, and as seen here, the backside Guard pulls through the hole up to the second level, while the Center and playside Guard down block. The playside Tackle leaves #96 Outside Linebacker Mike Neal and also goes up to the second level. Mike Neal is the “read” man. If Neal widens with QB Carson Palmer’s half roll, Palmer will flip the shovel pass underneath to a scraping Larry Fitzgerald.

Shovel

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Battle of the Birds: How the Cardinals Cover 0 Escaped with a Victory against the Eagles Deep Crossers

Week 8’s Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles exciting ending featured a long Cardinals TD putting them in the lead late in the 4th Quarter, 24-20. The Eagles drove down the field and with :01 seconds remaining in the game, Philadelphia needed a Touchdown from the Cardinals 16 yard line. Chip Kelly designed a beautiful play to pull out the victory, but the Cardinals Rashad Johnson pushed out Jordan Matthews before he could get 2 feet down, ending the game. Let’s analyze the play further: the Eagles line up in Trips to the left with Jeremy Maclin as the sole Wide Receiver to the right. As seen below, the Eagles are running a Deep “Scissor” around the goal line with Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews, hoping to create separation. Riley Cooper essentially runs a Post Route, with Jordan Matthews coming underneath with a Corner route. Tight End Zach Ertz originally runs to the flat, but then carries up the sideline:

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