The Eagles will begin a 7-game win streak on Sunday by beating the Washington Redskins. In case you aren’t familiar with them, I thought I would share some info on their players and schemes.
The team was founded in 1808 by Irish monks. They sucked until George Allen came along and lost a Super Bowl with the Over the Hill Gang in the early 1970s. The Skins went back to being irrelevant until they hired Joe Gibbs in 1980. He delivered 3 Super Bowl trophies with 3 different starting QBs and RBs. That is amazing. Gibbs left after the 1992 season and the Skins ceased operations. Or maybe they kept playing, but were so bad no one cared. I can’t find any records of activity.
In April they drafted Robert Griffin III who has since earned the nickname of RG3and6. He looks like a great QB, but unfortunately has already begun to show his limitations. He hasn’t helped the run or pass defense this year. No TFLs, sacks, or INTs.
I kid, I kid. RG3and6 (I will abuse that nickname as long as I can) does look like a great player. One concern I had with him and the Skins offense was that they did a lot of creative stuff early on that people simply weren’t used to. They ran the option. They used the full house backfield (QB + 3 others). They threw all kinds of creative play-action passes.
September was great for them. The Skins averaged 31 points a game and looked like an offensive juggernaut. Since then, the team averages just 21 points a game and has been held to less than 20 points three times. The more game tape you put out there, the more defensive coaches and players will start to figure you out. Then it boils down to talent and execution.
The Skins have had some injuries that hurt them and they didn’t exactly start the season with elite playmakers. They had some talented guys, but players that weren’t so good coaches would have to gameplan against them. Losing Fred Davis and Pierre Garcon took a lot of bite out of the passing game. Santana Moss remains productive, but no one fears him.
The running game remains effective. Mike Shanahan can almost always run the ball. He sticks with it and knows how to get good blocking.
The defense is a mess. The Skins are at the bottom of the league in a lot of categories. Losing OLB Brian Orakpo really hurt them. Ryan Kerrigan now is the only front seven player that you really worry about. The secondary is somewhere between bad and awful.
Shanny’s goal with going with the 3-4 was to be creative with a blitz package and create lots of turnovers and big plays. The failure to cover well on the back end hurts the pass rush and has allowed teams to move the ball in big chunks. Just think about the play late in the Giants game. Eli hit Cruz for a long TD to win the game because the Safety was playing too close to the LOS and let the WR get behind him. That is horrible pass defense.
RG3and6 – Looks like the real deal. Accurate. Has been hurt by drops in several games this year. Dynamic runner. Explosive when he gets in space. Had a 76-yd TD run earlier. Still learning how to read NFL defenses. Makes plenty of rookie mistakes, but like our old buddy Donovan, he is protective of the ball. Only has 3 picks all year. (Vick laughs, “Shoot, I can do that in one game.”)
RB Alfred Morris – Violent runner. Doesn’t go down on first contact. Stays behind his pads. Can take hits or give them. Fun to watch, but not to tackle. Lacks the burst to deliver huge gains, but will move the chains.
WR Pierre Garcon – Sounds like he will play Sunday. Inconsistent hands, but outstanding RAC ability. Can deliver big plays. Had an 88-yd TD in the opener.
OL – Haven’t had a chance to study them in depth. LT Trent Williams looks like a stud at times. RT Tyler Polumbus is not a good player. Effective group, but they won’t be mistaken for the Hogs anytime soon.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan – Leads the team with 4.5 sacks. Great motor. Quick, relentless pass rusher. Picked off a pass and ran it back for a TD. (Nick…don’t throw it to this guy)
ILB London Fletcher – Alas, the end is near. One of my favorite non-Eagles. Simply a badass dude. In the opener a Rams player taunted him after a good play. London caused the guy to fumble on the very next play. Don’t run your mouth at this guy. Show respect and hope he’s in a good mood. Age is starting to catch up, though. London has been bothered by dizziness. His game has slipped due to this. The week off may have helped him. We’ll know the first time he knocks the crap out of an Eagle.
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Jimmy Bama has some good Skins posts up.
Here is his look at the Skins use of the Sluggo route (slant & go).
Here is his Q&A with a Skins blogger. The guy picks the Eagles to win 38-34. 38 points? Does he mean this week or the season series?
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For SB Nation Philly, I wrote about who is to blame for the mess known as the Eagles 2012 season so far.
I tried to pin it all on McNabb, Reno Mahe, and Rory Segrest, but couldn’t quite do it.