I'm starting to get giddy about the potential of this offense due to pure fundamental stuff I'm reading.
In every practice, it's Manning hitting Saquon with a huge wheel route. Never been much of Eli's repertoire - I remember an arcing beauty he hit Brandon Jacobs on for a TD @PHI years ago in one of our rare good performances there. The Wheel is Tom Brady's $$$ throw. Generally a "moon ball" with perfect touch and timing that drops perfectly over the shoulder.
If The Wheel's a big part of your offense - which it is for Shurmur - it not only gets you big plays, it sets up other offense: Specifically, it makes the flat pass indefensible.
Barkley is the ultimate wheel route RB. Why?
The Wheel is actually an option for the QB. The RB will draw the OLB who will be hopelessly overmatched. The OLB must guard against the wheel and the flat pass. If he's worried about The Wheel he's going to play off which will allow easy completions to the flat with tons of running room after the catch. However, if you sit tight on the flat Barkley will simply run by you for a long TD on the Wheel. It's an impossible bind for a linebacker that should lead to many big plays and easy completions. It's also a nice "back pocket" play you tend to breakout in scoring situations.
Another route we're hearing about is just as exciting - Engram running smash routes. Vertical fades designed to isolate him on slower LB's or smaller S's in jump ball situations. No more 2 yard crossing routes for Engram. The farther this guy gets down the field, the more a problem he becomes. Believe Shurmur picked up plenty on how to use a receiving TE from Norv Turner if he didn't already know.
This "flat game" with Barkley and deep game with Engram is just one of many tough decisions a true offensive mastermind like Shurmur will create for the D. Run/play action heavy. Wheel Routes. Engram as a #2 TE (base or nickel?) Engram streaking downfield off play action after Barkley pulls you up. He does all the stuff that defenses hate, and he knows how to bring it all together. Looking forward to it. I love Gilbride but I'm not sure we've had a playcaller/offensive system like this in place in a long, long time.