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Will Gannon’s familiarity with Brotherly Shove be enough to prevent the Eagles from winning?

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If anyone can stop the Philadelphia Eagles from executing their nearly flawless Brotherly Shove, you would think it’d be Jonathan Gannon.

The Arizona Cardinals coach spent the previous two seasons as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator watching it up close on the field, in meeting rooms, and by talking to the players involved.

He knows it well … very, very well.

Knowing it well and having the talent to stop it is another thing and, on a 3-12 team, you have to wonder about that talent.

We will find out if he can on Sunday when the Eagles host the Cardinals in a Week 17 game (1 p.m./FOX).

Jonathan Gannon.

USA Today

“The detail that they coach it with,” Gannon told reporters in Phoenix on Friday. “The players that they have doing it, and the execution of it, truthfully, they’re detailed-out on it, they have a couple of different wrinkles from it too that if you want to try to sell out to stop that, you’re gonna get burned.

“So you gotta be careful with that too because you don’t want a fourth-and-one play or a third-and-one play to go for 30, which they’ve done to teams. You got to kind of pick and choose your spots there, but something that they do extremely well.”

With the Eagles’ ability to convert on third- and fourth-and-one using the Brotherly Shove, every drive is first-and-nine, not first-and-10 as Nick Sirianni said earlier this season. Eleven of Jalen Hurts’ NFL-record 15 rushing touchdowns have come on the Brotherly Shove.

They have converted all but one brotherly Shove in 37 tries and that was a rare offside penalty on left guard Landon Dickerson.

There has been a lot of talk about banning the play for whatever reason. At first, the critics said it leads to injury, though there has been no evidence of that.

Sirianni said earlier this year, “There’s clearly a talent to it that our guys have. Maybe it’s automatic right now for the Philadelphia Eagles, but it’s not automatic around the NFL.”

Related: Eagles’ Attention Focused on ‘Ballhawk’ Baker

As the ban-it crowd continued to vocalize their complaints, without any good reason other than the Eagles do it well and no one else does, Sirianni added: “You’ve seen it across the league. People can’t do it like we do it. … Don’t ban this play. If everybody could do it, everybody would do it.”

Now it’s Gannon’s turn to try to stop and maybe provide a blueprint on how to do it.

Of course, there’s still that matter of having the talent to do it.

Talent or not, Gannon has put his knowledge to the best use he could during the Cardinals’ week of practice.

“You have to prepare for it,” he said, “because it comes up in multiple spots during the game for them. There’s technique involved and there’s a little bit of will involved, you know what I mean? But it’s definitely a tough play to stop.”

Let’s continue to explore the Eagles play and the challenge of stopping it.

The Brotherly Shove originates from an I-formation in which the tight end moves from the line to up-back, most often from one side of the line to the other. He then serves as a fullback taking out the force defender, most often a strong safety or weakside linebacker.

His block generally propels Hurts through the hole for a first down if not a larger gain. The force defender rarely gets off the block against the bigger and normally stronger tight end.

The left tackle and left guard are pulling to lead the way along with the up back. The wideout is blocking down, at times just getting in the way of traffic.

The two tight ends—the inline player and the left slot—assist the left side of the O-line. It’s a wall of 900 to 1,000 pounds of Eagles working against 500 to 600 pounds of defenders. Typically, Miles Sanders takes it wider and quicker than Hurts, straight to the edge to outrun the force defender and go one-on-one with the cornerback or out of bounds.

The weakside linebacker has no chance to confront Sanders over the lesser weight. The strongside linebacker has no chance to confront Hurts over the force the tight end provides. The safeties also have a hard time getting off the wide and tight ends’ lead blocks.

When it’s executed, it is nearly impossible to stop.

But how do defenses attempt to try?

You take certain elements on the field, in meeting rooms, and by talking to the players involved.

He knows it well … very, very well.

Knowing it well and having the talent to stop it is another thing and, on a 3-12 team, you have to wonder about that talent.

We will find out if he can on Sunday when the Eagles host the Cardinals in a Week 17 game (1 p.m./FOX).

Jonathan Gannon.

USA Today

“The detail that they coach it with,” Gannon told reporters in Phoenix on Friday. “The players that they have doing it, and the execution of it, truthfully, they’re detailed-out on it, they have a couple of different wrinkles from it too that if you want to try to sell out to stop that, you’re gonna get burned.

“So you gotta be careful with that too because you don’t want a fourth-and-one play or a third-and-one play to go for 30, which they’ve done to teams. You got to kind of pick and choose your spots there, but something that they do extremely well.”

With the Eagles’ ability to convert on third- and fourth-and-one using the Brotherly Shove, every drive is first-and-nine, not first-and-10 as Nick Sirianni said earlier this season. Eleven of Jalen Hurts’ NFL-record 15 rushing touchdowns have come on the Brotherly Shove.

They have converted all but one brotherly Shove in 37 tries and that was a rare offside penalty on left guard Landon Dickerson.

There has been a lot of talk about banning the play for whatever reason. At first, the critics said it leads to injury, though there has been no evidence of that.

Sirianni said earlier this year, “There’s clearly a talent to it that our guys have. Maybe it’s automatic right now for the Philadelphia Eagles, but it’s not automatic around the NFL.”

Related: Eagles’ Attention Focused on ‘Ballhawk’ Baker

As the ban-it crowd continued to vocalize their complaints, without any good reason other than the Eagles do it well and no one else does, Sirianni added: “You’ve seen it across the league. People can’t do it like we do it. … Don’t ban this play. If everybody could do it, everybody would do it.”

Now it’s Gannon’s turn to try to stop and maybe provide a blueprint on how to do it.

Of course, there’s still that matter of having the talent to do it.

Talent or not, Gannon has put his knowledge to the best use he could during the Cardinals’ week of practice.

“You have to prepare for it,” he said, “because it comes up in multiple spots during the game for them. There’s technique involved and there’s a little bit of will involved, you know what I mean? But it’s definitely a tough play to stop.”

Let’s continue to explore the Eagles play and the challenge of stopping it.

The Brotherly Shove originates from an I-formation in which the tight end moves from the line to up-back, most often from one side of the line to the other. He then serves as a fullback taking out the force defender, most often a strong safety or weakside linebacker.

His block generally propels Hurts through the hole for a first down if not a larger gain. The force defender rarely gets off the block against the bigger and normally stronger tight end.

The left tackle and left guard are pulling to lead the way along with the up back. The wideout is blocking down, at times just getting in the way of traffic.

The two tight ends—the inline player and the left slot—assist the left side of the O-line. It’s a wall of 900 to 1,000 pounds of Eagles working against 500 to 600 pounds of defenders. Typically, Miles Sanders takes it wider and quicker than Hurts, straight to the edge to outrun the force defender and go one-on-one with the cornerback or out of bounds.

The weakside linebacker has no chance to confront Sanders over the lesser weight. The strongside linebacker has no chance to confront Hurts over the force the tight end provides. The safeties also have a hard time getting off the wide and tight ends’ lead blocks.

When it’s executed, it is nearly impossible to stop.

But how do defenses attempt to try?

Teams have tried a variety of approaches. Some have flooded the box, giving the look like 12-personnel all week long. But even if the defense knows it’s coming, it allows for one-on-one matchups elsewhere on the field. The running back is in open space.

So, the approach and the potential solutions are many. The personnel may not be equal, but the brothers and sisters of NFL coaches compromise where they can.

“The detail that they coach it with,” Gannon said. “The players that they have doing it, and the execution of it.”

Arizona is expected to try sideline pressure to make the lanes smaller and force bursts through the hole instead of wide to the sideline with hopes that defenders rally if the play breaks outside of the tackle box. Instinctively, that is the best option as a wide gap play like the Brotherly Shove is best put in tight spaces.

Otherwise, Sunday the focus for the Eagles will be on ending their losing streak and securing the top playoff seed in the NFC, and the focus for the Cardinals will be on picking up a key win on the road to close the regular season. Both teams have much at stake, meaning the unenviable task of stopping or at least slowing the Brotherly Shove will be on full display. Stay tuned to see how it unfolds.

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