The Redskins will beat the Eagles this Sunday, says Thomas Jackson, one of our oldest blogging friends, who covers Philadelphia on Eagles Eye blog. His description of what ails the Eagles will sound very familiar to Redskins fans.
Redskins-Eagles after the Gibbs I era has not been a happy affair for Washingtonians. It wasn't that easy even then. Washington has never beaten a Michael Vick-quarterbacked team when Vick played a complete game. Vick looks to be OUT against the Redskins after suffering a traumatic brain injury against Dallas last weekend. Nick Foles will start in his place. Problem is that the Redskins are 1-7 against rookie quarterbacks, and they have no home field advantage in the Age of the Shanaclan.
The 'Skins are 3½ favorites over the Iggles. Hog Heaven dares not take a win for granted. Washington underwhelmed against the Rams, and played stupidly against the Panthers. Teams like Philadelphia and Cleveland fill us with dread. My Magic 8 Ball says the Redskins will beat the Eagles "without a doubt."
Better to go to Eagles Eye for answers. I like the part where Eagles Eye thinks the Redskins may challenge for a wild card. Read on.
RHH: I picked the Eagles for Beast of the East in a story for This Given Sunday. How did this go so horribly wrong?
Anthony, it really all goes back to something you wisely stated in September of 2011---"You can't buy a championship in the NFL..." The big free agent spending the Eagles have done over the past two seasons could not negate some fundamental problems in scheme and communication on the defensive side of the ball. Combine that with the loss of All-Pro LT Jason Peters (Achilles tendon) in the offseason, and then the loss of center Jason Kelce (ACL) and RT Todd Herremans (ankle) during the season, and the offensive line collapsed...resulting in the ultimate TKO of Michael Vick, who was simply pounded into turnovers and physical submission over the course of 9 games.
RHH: Give me the name of a rising star that Redskins fans have never heard of. Explain...
One bright spot has been the emergence of rookie Bryce Brown, a big running back at 6-0, 223, who was drafted as a project out of Kansas State in the 7th round. Brown barely played at all his last two seasons in college due to a variety of personal reasons. But, he has emerged as the 2-back the Eagles have been seeking for a long time. Brown will get between 5 and 9 carries against the Redskins, and he'll be looking to burst between the tackles and then sprint past the second level. He's a very good pass-pro blocker, too. He's opened some eyes in Philly as the 1-2 punch the Eagles have needed behind Shady McCoy.
Note: Bryce Brown wears jersey No. 34.
RHH: Some Philly reports have Kyle Shanahan on the short list of potential replacement for Reid. How does that strike you?
I think the Kyle Shanahan to Philly rumor is interesting... Kyle would have the proven ability to make better use of the offensive pieces the Eagles already have. I think he'd want the running game to be the team's driving offensive force. A lot of fans in Philly would like that. I also think he would modify the defense to more of a 3-4 look...many fans would love that. What I don't know about Kyle is his ability or willingness to deal with the relentless pressures of the Philly media. This town eats coaches for breakfast.
Note: Redskins fans would wish Kyle every success that he has so far enjoyed here.
RHH: How will the Eagles attack the Redskins defense?
Tentatively at first, they're going with a rookie QB in Nick Foles, a 3rd-round pick out of Arizona, 6-6, 243, and this is Foles' first start. I think they'll start with a lot of handoffs to McCoy, screens to their tight ends, and some quick-hit slants to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. I think they want Foles to stick to that kind of script until they get a feel for just how much they can trust their offensive line, which right now is a patchwork mess.
If Foles can absorb the different looks the Redskins will be giving him, and if he can get any kind of decent protection in the gun, they will eventually open up the game plan. Foles has a strong arm and a decent release and can go deep to Jackson and Maclin. He also has a large target in wideout Riley Cooper (6-4, 3rd year, Florida) who will be trying to get open deep.
(RHH note: Will Reid run a read-option offense to help his rookie QB? Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.)
RHH: How should the Redskins attack the Eagles defense?
Assuming RGIII has Shanny's blessing to do whatever he wants (including pass) from the option, I honestly think the Redskins should establish the run early, especially with Alfred Morris who I think is ideally suited to find the holes in the Eagles' "over defense nine technique". If the 'Skins establish the running game, they can play-action all day long against the Eagles' secondary, who have been prone to bite on the double-move all season long.
If the game is close late in the 3rd or 4th quarters, the Eagles should be tired from chasing Morris and Griffin. The Eagles have not shown they are a good tackling team, either. They have some deficiencies of depth at the safety and linebacker positions, and a rookie (Brandon Boykin) playing the nickel corner. RGIII will have the edge with misdirection, play-action and the option if this game stays close to the end. In nearly every one of their 6 losses this season, the Eagles have lost or blown the game late in the second half.
RHH: Your prediction for the game, and for the division order of finish.
I predict the 'Skins prevail in this one, 28-14.... and all hell breaks loose in Philly with demands for Andy Reid's resignation. (Yeah, and all hell will break loose around here if Washington loses.)
I predict the 2012 order of finish in the NFC East as: Giants, Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles... Hopefully, Redskins sneak into a Wild Card.
Hog Heaven has followed Tom Jackson for years. He is an Eagles fan, but unsparing in writing what's good and bad about his team. I've never seen him more discouraged about Philadelphia. It does seem an era is ending up there. For all we know, Reid is a potential future head coach of the Redskins. He owes us something for the McNabb swindle.
For genuine insight on the Philadelphia Eagles, visit Eagles Eye Blog often.
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Thanks for the interview, Anthony... If nothing else I think this will be a very entertaining game, because there are still good athletes on both teams, and RGIII will bring a lot of extra excitement and drama to the mix.
It is discouraging to be covering the end of the Andy Reid era in Philly. It had to happen sooner or later. But we had been promised a happier ending.
@Tom Jackson Lombardi is the only coach I can think of who quit when he was ahead. Most of these guys burn out or are pushed out. It's just how it works in the NFL.
Even Belichick got fired in Cleveland.