Eagles-Redskins Pregame ThoughtsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Saturday, November 17th, 2012
The 2012 season has been a colossal failure. The Eagles are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention at 3-6, but anyone that believes this group still has any kind of miracle run in them is either insanely optimistic, or hopelessly delusional.
As painful as this season has been to watch…we’ve still got a month and a half to go. How incredible is that? While I can’t speak for everyone, for me personally it feels as though we’ve already played a full season. This has been such a bad year, and it’s amazing to me that we still have to get through seven more weeks of watching this football team.
Fortunately, we now get to watch and evaluate rookie quarterback Nick Foles. With Michael Vick sidelined by a concussion, Foles will get an opportunity to show what he can do and hopefully provide the Eagles with a good idea of whether or not they’ll need to look for a quarterback in next year’s draft.
Foles’ first performance against the Dallas Cowboys provided mixed results. The Arizona product looked very poised at times, and led the offense on a couple of scoring drives while hitting his receivers in stride. But he also had more than his share of downs. He was careless with the football too often, and gave the Cowboys multiple turnover opportunities. Dallas began to do a better job at rushing the rookie, and once that happened the poise that Foles showed early disappeared.
This week, Foles will have the benefit of taking all of the first-team reps. He’ll also face a pathetic Washington Redskins secondary that has gotten torched by opposing passing attacks all year. Let’s see how the 23-year old carries himself on Sunday, and how his teammates respond to him.
How The Eagles Can Beat The Redskins
Nick Foles will need to take advantage of the Redskins’ terrible defensive backs. I want to see the rookie make quick decisions, and run the offense confidently and effectively. The Eagles should try to take advantage of Foles’ height, and run some plays (such as the screen) that they haven’t been able to utilize well with Michael Vick.
Of course, a rather important key to helping a rookie quarterback succeed will be to commit to establishing a running game. Common sense dictates that a head coach that currently holds a 3-6 record (and is in desperate need of a turnaround to save his job) might want to put the football into the hands of his best player.
The Eagles defense hasn’t faced a quarterback like Robert Griffin III all season, and they’ve got to be ready for him. Griffin can hurt you both by air (1,993 yards, eight touchdowns) and by ground (529 yards, six touchdowns). The Redskins don’t have great receivers, but they design a great deal of running plays for their rookie quarterback, making their offense difficult to predict. The Eagles may have to put a spy on Griffin, and they can’t lose containment on him or he’ll gash them in the running game.
The Redskins also have an impressive rookie running back, Alfred Morris. Morris is a powerful running back who is among the league-leaders with 793 yards. The Eagles defenders have struggled with tackling throughout the season, and that is going to have to change or Morris will be able to move the ball at will all day.
Why The Redskins Will Win
I don’t have any reason to believe that the Eagles defense will be able to do what they need to do to shut down the Washington offense.
The Eagles defense has proven over the last month and a half that they can’t rush the passer, they can’t shut down receivers, they can’t stop the run, they don’t tackle well, and they don’t force turnovers.
This is the softest defense of the Andy Reid era, and they haven’t responded at all to new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. If anything, they’ve gone backwards since the firing of Juan Castillo. This defense was shredded by Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, and I don’t think they’ll be able to effectively handle a dynamic playmaker like RG III.
The defense had a favorable matchup against a Dallas offense that couldn’t run the ball, and had been committing turnovers left and right all year. They ended up letting Felix Jones pick up over 90 total yards against them, and also allowed Tony Romo to play one of his most efficient games of the season.
I see Mike Shanahan wearing the defense down by giving his workhorse Morris a heavy workload, and then turning to Griffin to go for the kill with a big play.
Defensively, the Redskins might not look very good on paper, but they’ve always played the Eagles tough. They know that Andy Reid is going to be tempted to damage them through the air all day, and they’ll try to take advantage of a weak offensive line and sending waves of blitzes at Nick Foles to confuse the rookie and force him into mistakes.
I like the Redskins in this game. While they’ve got a losing record, they’re a young team that has been in a lot of close games this season and they seem to be headed in the right direction. They’re also going to be fresh off of their bye week, and they’ll be well prepared to knock off the Eagles in front of their home crowd.
For the Eagles to have a chance in this game, they’re going to have to lean heavily on LeSean McCoy, and if Andy Reid hasn’t done that yet this season I don’t know that he ever will.
I don’t know what to expect from Foles. I think he has a chance to come out and play well, but the amount of mistakes he made against Dallas was troubling. If the offensive line turns in another terrible performance, it could be a very frustrating first start for the rookie.
If there’s one thing I am confident in, its that I know this defense won’t come out and do what it takes to shut down the Washington offense. The Redskins won’t face much resistance from this heartless unit, and I think the young Washington squad comes away with the win tomorrow afternoon.
Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter.
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