Know Your Enemy – WAS

Posted: November 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 44 Comments »

Let’s take a look at the Washington Redskins, Sunday’s opponent.

They are currently 3-6. The team started 0-3 and since has been on a win-lose trend. They lost last week so that doesn’t bode well for Sunday. Based on the pattern, they should win.

The Skins wins came against the Raiders, Bears and Chargers. They won those games by 10, 4 and 6 points. Washington needed a TD late in the game to beat Chicago and scored a TD in overtime to beat the Chargers. The most recent losses have been by 15, 24 and 7 points.

Sheil Kapadia has all the matchup stats on part of his Matchup column from today.

As you would expect, Sheil focused on offense and defense. This is a game where STs could be significant. Why? The Skins have the worst STs in the league and one of the worst units in the last 20 years. Mike Tanier wrote a terrific piece on just how bad they are. For some Eagles perspective, if you remember how bad the STs were under Danny Smith back in 1995, the Skins are worse. Yeah, that’s bad.

I loved these couple of paragraphs from Tanier on the Skins STs.

The Redskins special teamers may not be bad players, but they appear disorganized and sometimes ill-prepared. Backup receiver Niles Paul has the skill set of the perfect all-purpose special teamer – good size-speed mix, a willingness to engage contact – but he is often out of position or overruns returns. Forbath needs to get his field goals higher, particularly on chip shots, but his interior defenders can do a better job keeping defenders from getting through the line with their hands up.

Every team has backups and rookies on special teams; the key to avoiding disaster is communication and commitment. Rocca’s goofy fake punt pass to an unprepared Paul against the Vikings demonstrated the communication problem: Rocca executed the fake based on a signal from Doughty, but Paul was waiting for a signal from coach Keith Burns. If the Redskins don’t know who is responsible for calling a fake, they are probably not 100% clear on who covers which lane or blocks which defender on returns, either.


The Skins are 31st in the league in points allowed. They have played one less game than the Eagles, but allowed 43 more points. The Skins just broke a 4-game streak of allowing non-offensive TDs last week. They still lost that game, 34-27 to the Vikings. Christian Ponder, who has struggled mightily this year, was 17 for 21 in that game. It is very kind of the Skins to help Ponder try to keep his job as the Vikings starting QB. Most teams are too selfish to do that.

The Raiders are the only team to not score at least 24 points on Washington. The Raiders got out to a 14-0 lead, but never scored again. Heck, the Skins have only held 2 other teams to less than 31 points. If you can’t score on Washington, your offense is bad.

The Washington offense is a more complicated subject. They are 5th in the NFL in yards gained. That group has only been stopped by one team – Denver. The Broncos limited them to just 266 total yards. Chances are that Washington will move the ball on the Eagles. When it comes to yards, take the over.

What about points? The Skins worst game came when Dallas held them to 16 points. That’s pretty good for a “worst game”. You aren’t going to really shut them down. The problem is that the Skins are not scoring as many points as they should based on how productive the offense is. In 5 of 9 games this year, they have scored 24 or fewer points. That’s certainly not a bad total, but it isn’t what you want from a team that regularly posts more than 400 yards on offense. By comparison, the Eagles have scored 27 or more points in 6 of 10 games.

RB Alfred Morris is hot. He’s got 4 straight games with more than 90 yards rushing. He started a bit slow, but is producing big numbers at this point. Morris is the workhorse runner that helps the offense to go.

RG3-and-6 is all over the place. He’s thrown 9 INTs this year, which is almost double what the threw in all of 2012 (5). RG3 is looking good physically, but is erratic as a passer.

He does have one weapon that has emerged, TE Jordan Reed. He is 44-487-3. Reed is undersized, but very athletic. He runs terrific routes and can get open on a regular basis. Reed is now a weapon for the offense.

Fran Duffy did a great All-22 piece on the Skins and what they’re doing on offense.

Duffy also touches on the Washington defense. ILB London Fletcher, a favorite player of mine, has struggled with option plays this year. The Eagles burned him in the opener. Fletcher struggled in that game. This isn’t just run-option. We’re also talking about the pop pass to the TE and the quick screen to the WR.

Fletcher is still solid, but age is catching up to him. He’s not been much of a playmaker this year. Last season he had 5 INTs. This year he doesn’t even have a single pass deflection.

Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo have combine for 10.5 sacks, but the pass rush has been quiet in recent games. The Skins only have 7 sacks in the last 5 games.

Washington’s pass defense isn’t good. They only face the 15th most pass attempts, but allow the 26th most yards. Yikes. Only the Rams and Chargers allow more yards per pass attempt. Opposing QBs have a rating of 98.8 against the Skins. I don’t think you need to be a guru to know that’s bad. The Eagles allow an 83.6 passer rating.

The one good thing you can say about the Skins defense is that they will make some big plays. They have 5 defensive TDs this year, which also ties in to the fact they don’t score enough on offense. Their point total is inflated. The Eagles have yet to score a defensive TD. Maybe Sunday would be a good time to start. Just saying…

I’ll write a game preview later.

* * * * *

Want some good analysis by

Win the turnover battle, time of possession and penalties and the Redskins should walk out of Philadelphia with their fourth win of the season.

I wonder if Sheil Kapadia’s brain just exploded. You could literally write that prediction about every game in the history of football.

* * * * *

Want your brain to explode?

Check out this piece, which shares strange comments from Skins legend Darrell Green and Cris Collinsworth.

Green is questioning leadership and kind of ripping on the Skins in general. This is the kind of generic analysis by former players that drives me nuts. Point out specific issues if you want to have credibility. Former players put on a suit and then throw out general comments that rip a losing team or support a winning team. That crap drives me nuts. Right now Warren Sapp is the master of this. Why not say something specific that shows you’ve done some actual research and truly have a feel for what is happening?

Collinsworth is overly protective of Mike Shanahan and also drops this nugget.

“Don’t fire the coach,” Collinsworth said. “I mean, they’re going to try to fire the coach at the end of the year. It’s crazy. You just take what the system is. It’s perfectly built for him. Let them develop him as a pocket passer; next season, they’re going to be the favorite to win the division….

Say what? Why is Washington going to be the favorite in 2014?

In case you didn’t know it…Shanahan was the offensive coordinator at Florida in 1980. His star WR was a guy named Cris Collinsworth.

* * * * *

If your brain hasn’t exploded yet, it will after reading this nugget from Jimmy Bama.

Wow…and then some.


44 Comments on “Know Your Enemy – WAS”

  1. 1 P_P_K said at 3:53 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    If we accept that the game tight, using DeSean as pr could make the difference.

  2. 2 BlindChow said at 5:44 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    As long as he runs the right direction.

  3. 3 GvilleEagleFan said at 11:59 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    I know you’re making a joke, but honestly this might just be the game for DeSean to pull off his infuriating “let me run in circles for eternity then sprint the length of the field” style of PR’ing. If the Skins are over-running on STs like Tommy’s quote says, buying some time for a few defenders to leave their lanes and have some blocks get made could yield the kind of explosive play we all hate to love.

  4. 4 ACViking said at 4:08 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    Re: Want to Beat the Eagles?

    Stop the Birds from making “explosive plays” — that is, plays of 20 yards or more. Simple as that.

    The Eagles have 16 more than the next best team.

    Stop those, and the Eagles have to grind out TDs . . . which the Eagles’ undermanned defense of DC Billy Davis — like the Vermeil-era Eagles of DC Marion Campbell — is proving can be very hard.

    Lots of luck with that.

    NOTE: The Eagles will go as far this year as Nick Foles takes them — not McCoy, not D-Jax, not the O-line. Period, end of story.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 4:33 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    A lot of truth in what you say about Foles.

    But don’t forget about Brad Smith. He’s going to be the secret weapon that leads the Eagles to the promised land. The last time the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, they had a former Missouri QB in the organization (Jim Johnson). Smith is a former Mizzou QB so that makes us a lock for the big game.

  6. 6 A_T_G said at 9:06 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    I saw this article, which supports your assertion.

  7. 7 Dominik said at 5:30 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    It’s interesting: the Eagles D is improving, no one is doubting that. But one of the goals of this Defense, especially in the passing game, is to prevent the Offense from big plays. They allowed 43 big plays, that’s 28th in the league (the second number is from Kapadia). They don’t achieve a big goal and yet are still improving.

  8. 8 anon said at 10:59 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    They want to stop big plays overtop, which they do a better job of. I think they give up a lot of big plays underneath — which is bad but it’s what they prefer to have happen.

  9. 9 RobNE said at 6:46 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    I read an article that Stanford was using a 3-3-5 to play Oregon and the 3 LB’s primary focus was the run (filling various gaps). I’d be interested to hear if this is viewed as the way to stop Oregon (and therefore the Eagles – though of course they aren’t the same), or requires superior talent, etc.

    When I read this it reminded me of a little of the Giants against the Bills in the SB, when they decided that the key was stopping the RB (it’s early and I can’t think of his name).

  10. 10 RobNE said at 6:52 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    Thurman Thomas

  11. 11 OregonDucker said at 12:14 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    You cannot stop Eagles explosive plays AC. Why?
    Here’s why!

  12. 12 P_P_K said at 1:02 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Wow. Just wow.

  13. 13 OregonDucker said at 1:07 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Please note that the Foles jersey is IN FRONT of the Manning jersey. Canton got it right!

    Bonus article:

  14. 14 ICDogg said at 1:40 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    I assume though that this display is visible from the other side as well

  15. 15 OregonDucker said at 1:49 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Lol, good one ICDogg. The balls and write-ups signify the front of the case. Fole is probably the lead jersey because he is much younger than Manning and so accomplished the 7 TD feat earlier in his career.

  16. 16 P_P_K said at 3:26 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Yea, but doesn’t a square wheel role backwards?

  17. 17 deg0ey said at 3:37 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Yeah, but can Foles punt?

  18. 18 ICDogg said at 1:31 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Foles has been the beneficiary of a strategy focusing on stopping McCoy and Jackson, an approach which some defenses doggedly stuck to despite Foles’ success against it.

    At some point, opposing defenses will come up with a strategy that effectively stops Foles. At that point, it will be up to Kelly and Foles to effectively counter it. And at that point, we’ll really know how good Foles actually is.

  19. 19 OregonDucker said at 1:56 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Actually ICDogg opposing defenses have surprisingly used a nickel scheme which is designed for passing plays. They are stuck by the Eagles tempo and 11 – personnel package. See this article for the surprising stats…

    Perhaps like you, I thought that defenses were using press man and 8 in the box to stop the run. I was shocked by the stats noted above.

  20. 20 Randy said at 4:11 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    Whenever the Eagles get hot, the Redskins always seem to trip them up. 2008 and 2010 are great examples. This will be a tough game. You don’t want to play badly against a divisional opponent going into the bye week. The Cowboys are imploding and the Giants/Redskins are terrible. There is a nicely laid out path for the Eagles, they just can’t trip over their own feet.

  21. 21 sprawl said at 4:20 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    A Washington loss this week would probably be the nail in their coffin.

    They face the 49ers next week, then after NYG they face KC before going on a semi-bye against the Falcons (week 15 and out of the hunt) and facing Dallas again.

    Washington’s defense will probably make Alex Smith look good!

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 8:14 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    The Cowboys should un-implode after their bye week and destruction of the lame Giants next week up in New York.

  23. 23 Joe Minx said at 5:44 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    It’s not often you read a post that makes your brain explode not once but twice.

    Well done, sir.

  24. 24 Weapon Y said at 6:20 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    Tommy, I enjoy it when you rip hack sports writers and former athletes who are wannabe-reporters. Generic phrases like “Team X wanted it more and that’s why they won,” or “Turnovers are important,” make me go nuts. I listen to guys on ESPN and NFL Network say this crap all of the time and I think, “Are these guys really the best we can do?” As a general rule, I think it’s fair to say most of these former athletes who get to be sports reporters are lazy and arrogant. They think they don’t have to do any actual reporting work just because they were NFL players. There are some exceptions like Mark Schlereth and I’ll even give Jaws some credit (he’s arrogant, but he actually does work some times). I don’t even watch the ESPN pregame shows anymore. I can’t stand listening to Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter. You hit the nail on the head with Warren Sapp too. Don’t even get me started with my persona non grata, Merrill Hoge. Trust me, you’re way better than all of these guys Tommy.

  25. 25 Joe Minx said at 6:43 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    They deserve to be ripped. Tommy gets them the same way Chip trolls the Philly media.

  26. 26 A_T_G said at 9:03 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    “They think they don’t have to do any actual reporting work just because they were NFL players.”

    Unfortunately, they are right. Enough people are watching these people to get the shows the ratings they are seeking. Maybe a large portion of the fan base is satisfied with these juvenile assessments?

  27. 27 Weapon Y said at 9:50 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    Valid point. A very depressing point, but true nevertheless.

  28. 28 jshort said at 10:01 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    Not to change the subject, but anyone know where I can get some troll teeth? Have the bat whiskers, mummified toe nails, and eye of newt. Oh, need a cauldron by Sunday morning at the Link.

  29. 29 A_T_G said at 2:15 PM on November 16th, 2013:


  30. 30 SteveH said at 11:20 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    That interception stat about Foles can’t be right… can it? Passer rating is such a confusing stat.

  31. 31 P_P_K said at 3:24 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    You doubt Jimmy?!

  32. 32 GvilleEagleFan said at 12:02 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    Any of you watch the 82-car pileup that is UF’s offense this year? Mostly due to injuries, but losing Jordan Reed was a much bigger hit than many in Gville realize. He’s a true stud TE, just never given the attention of the coaches or emphasis in playcalling that he needed to be a star. Honestly, I think he could eclipse the Criminal from Connecticut as the most famous Gator TE in a year or two. The scary difference between him and Hernandez (as a player) is that Reed was WAY more willing to block and seek contact than Aaron ever was, he just had poor technique in college.

  33. 33 GvilleEagleFan said at 12:27 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    One last note on Reed: Don’t be surprised if they use him as the “pitch-man” on the triple option more as the season goes on. When he was at Florida, we were so talent-poor at QB that he actually started a few games as our signal-caller and took quite a few direct snaps in a Wildcat-esque look in short yardage and goal-line situations. Redskins really got a steal in the fourth round

  34. 34 BlindChow said at 9:37 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    Jordan Reed was their 3rd round pick.

  35. 35 GvilleEagleFan said at 12:06 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    My bad. In that case, it’s a terrible pick. Don’t they know that the third round is where you find franchise QB’s these days???

  36. 36 Anders said at 12:51 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    I doubt Reed ever becomes a true TE. He simply do not have the build. Reed is more like tweener, but still do you cover him with a LB or CB?

    For me Reed is simply a very big slot WR (remember Marques Colston of the Saints is 6-4 235 and he plays the slot). Nothing wrong with it, but calling him a TE is a disservice to true TEs like Celek or Witten (Celek is a poor mans Witten, but still a true TE because he can in line block). Reed will never able to block like a true TE no matter how hard he tries because he does not have the size.

    For me a guy like Reed is the perfect modern day slot WR type (you either need a Reed/Colston type or the Wes Welker type now a days) because he can move, but is still too big for CBs to cover him.

  37. 37 GvilleEagleFan said at 2:01 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    He may not become a “traditional” TE, but that doesn’t mean he is just a big-bodied WR. Hernandez was only 6’1″ and around the same weight (240). Like I said, I think you’ll see him grow as a blocker as he gets better technique and more focus on that element of his game in the pros. I don’t think calling him a TE does a “disservice” to guys like Celek or Witten. That kind of TE is clearly not dying out, if he could stay healthy Gronk would be great example of someone who fits that mold but has the kind of athleticism that coaches come to expect from all skill position players.

    I think we need to get used to using the “Y” TE and “F” TE terminology Tommy brought up when we signed Casey this offseason. What makes Reed special, from watching him at UF anyway, was that he was a much more willing blocker than Hernandez ever was. It was simply poor technique that would let better-coached LBs shed his blocks, which makes sense as his practice reps were split between the QB coach, TE coach, and RB coach.

  38. 38 Anders said at 2:41 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    You are 100% right that we should begin to use the Y and F regarding TE consider we often talk about X, Z and W (slot) WRs.

    Some TEs can fit both Y and F (that is what the Eagles hope Ertz can do down the line) and some WRs can do both X, Z and W (before this year Maclin was always the X, Jackson the z and Avant the W with almost zero movement, now we are moving Jackson all across all 3 spots). There is also some WRs who can only do the slot (Welker or Avant), just as some TEs can only do the F (tho F is often also FB, but consider many teams now use a TE as FB, its not really a problem)

  39. 39 Media Mike said at 8:13 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    The Skins, and their uppity fans, enrage me. RGKnee’s passing “skills” are a joke. Garcon is a career #3 receiver who benefited from 9 players in the box stopping the Skins run game. Morris is a fat and slow piece of garbage who gains garbage yards due to poor tackling technique. We need to smash this team yet again!

  40. 40 P_P_K said at 3:23 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    I just don’t think the Redskins are any good. Their D stinks, we should be able to pile up the points. Their O plays like a mishmash of guys who don’t really sinc up well. RG simply isn’t the qb Wash hoped he would be, at least not at this point in his career. I think this is the one where the Eagles break the home losing streak, and they do so in a big way.

  41. 41 A Roy said at 9:29 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    I know in my mind that this Eagles team is better than Washington. At the same time, I recognize that they dropped a bomb, at home of course, against Dallas. I cannot yet figure out if this team has started to develop what it takes to be a winner.

    Their talent is not near championship level. That will take, probably, two more good drafts which, of course, is not a given. They may be the most talented team in the NFC East, though. And winning games against inferior teams, especially at home, is what good teams do and what they need to do. I attributed the loss to San Diego as growing pains. The loss to the Giants can be attributed to QB injuries. That leaves Dallas as 1) an outlier or 2) the mark of a young team that still doesn’t know what it takes to win.

    These next two games determine how far they are on the continuum of improvement. They should win both. They could lose both. I have no degree of confidence they’ll win either one. Sundays are not yet fun again.

  42. 42 BlindChow said at 10:12 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    Fascinating Grantland article/video from earlier this week: The Coach Who Never Punts

    He’s a high school coach who has embraced the moneyball-esque statistical analysis showing the numbers suggest always going for it on 4th down.

    He also goes for onside kicks on every kickoff.

    Interesting stuff. I’d love to see him get a college gig. This guy could truly revolutionize the game. Maybe in a few years Chip Kelly will have had enough success to where he could try some of this stuff. The science behind it seems right up Kelly’s alley.

  43. 43 anon said at 10:52 AM on November 16th, 2013:

    This is s strategy i generally employ in Madden — it works for me.

  44. 44 Explorer Homes said at 1:32 PM on November 16th, 2013:

    Forget the records and stats. Eagles – Redskins games are often close and this one will be a battle. It may be decided by the Fans if the Linc can make enough noise to disrupt the Redskins Offense and provide energy for the Eagles Defense. If the Homefield Disadvantage continues the Eagles have to execute. Blocking Tackling and Turnovers and no missed FG’s. My prediction Eagles 38 Redskins 35 more due to preparation and execution than homefield advantage.