Game Preview – WAS

Posted: October 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 31 Comments »

This is a must-win game.

At 2-4 we are still alive and in the hunt for the NFC East title.  At 1-5 and 0-2 in the division, we’re all but toast.  We’re on life support at that point.

Enough big picture talk.  Let’s focus on the game.


It looks like the Skins play better pass defense than run defense.  They’re in the Top 10 in both categories, but allow opposing RBs to average 4.3 ypc.  QBs have a low rating against them and the Skins have 15 sacks this year.  They’ve given up 3 TDs on the ground and in the air.

There is no easy way to beat them.  Skins are playing good D.  Andy Reid will remain aggressive on offense, but I think LeSean McCoy will be a bigger part of the gameplan.  McCoy averaged 19 carries a game in the first 3 weeks.  He’s had only 20 combined in the last 2.  Circumstances affected that number.  Reid isn’t ignoring Shady.

WAS doesn’t have speedy ILBs.  I think you want to test them against Shady.  This could mean runs and screen passes.  Let’s get the ball to him and see what he can do.

There’s another reason to run…to protect the OL.  BUF didn’t have a great pass rush so Reid was smart to throw against them.  WAS does have a good pass rush.  And LT King Dunlap has a bad back.  He missed Thursday and Friday’s practices.  Todd shifted to LT and Winston Justice took his place.  Jeff McLane said on Twitter that Justice is still visibly sore.  Uh, that’s not great news.

OLBs Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are going to be a handful to deal with.  As my friend Matt said, tip for fantasy football players, don’t use Brent Celek this week.  He’s going to be doing a lot of blocking.  We’ll need him to double on the pass rushers quite a bit.

The Eagles said yesterday that they expect Dunlap to start.  Not sure if this is legit or they are trying to keep the Skins confused.  Dunlap doesn’t need practice in order to play.  He’s started before and is a veteran.  Sounds crazy to say, but keep your fingers crossed that Dunlap can play so that Todd stays at RT and the OL has some cohesion.

Our WRs have the speed to get deep, but WAS may keep Safeties deep and try to force us into driving the ball down the field.  They’ve done some of that in the past.  Plus, we lit them up with big plays last year.

If the OL blocks well and Vick has time, I think we should move the ball okay.  This is the best D we’ve faced, but we’ll also be the best O they’ve faced.  We’ll find out who is for real and who is better.


Can we play the run?  WAS is 19th in passing and 8th in rushing.  They want to run the ball.  They use primarily a zone blocking scheme.  We must get penetration on the front side and good pursuit from the back side.

Our DTs haven’t been getting as much penetration as I hoped this year.  I’m not sure why.  Guys have to get up the field and be more disruptive.  Critical this week.

The LBs must be disciplined.  This is going to be a serious challenge.  Fokou, Chaney, and Rolle are aggressive players that like to attack.  They must be smart and follow the ball.  Just running with the flow of the play is what the Skins want us to do.  That helps to create cutback lanes.

The Safeties will be critical.  They must come up and tackle well.  Nate Allen did a good job of this last week.  Jarrad Page sits.  Kurt Coleman starts in his place.  Rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett saw his most time in practice this week.  Might that mean he gets mixed in?  That’s something to watch for.  He would be perfect for this game.

The Skins do throw the ball some.  Play-action passes to TE Fred Davis scare me.  Our LBs will be focused on the run.  Davis can deliver big plays when he gets the ball in space.  Very athletic TE.  I’m also nervous about them running double moves at Asante’s side.

Juan Castillo said some interesting things yesterday.  “We’re not going to change our wide-nine scheme for our front four,” he said. “We feel that it gives us a good opportunity to pressure the quarterback. In game, we’ll have to make some adjustments, but going in there are some things that we’ll be doing differently. I can’t get into the particulars, but you’ll see some new wrinkles that will help us, especially in stopping the run.”

What new things?  Will we blitz the LBs more?  That would let them be aggressive and could help.  Will we play more bump ‘n run coverage, freeing up a Safety to stay in the box?  That would help us numbers wise.  8 defenders against 5 OL, a TE, and a FB or other TE.

I’m very interested to see what is done.  We played well the final 20 minutes of the Buffalo game.  I don’t think that was a fluke due to circumstances, but it is possible.  We need to see how the guys play on Sunday.

If we have another game where the D gets shredded and the Skins put up 30 points, maybe Castillo does get fired or re-assigned during the bye week.  He really needs a good showing in this game to stabilize things.  If we hold WAS to 300 yards and 20 points, that’s fine.  Give up 350 and 28…not so good.

I have no idea what to think will actually happen.  I don’t trust the Eagles right now.  I don’t believe in the Skins.  This game will really give us a huge hint about where both teams are headed.  A win for us means that maybe we did bottom out and we’re headed in the right direction.  It would make Skins fans question how good their team really is.

The flip side is that a win for them will only make those players and fans start to believe they’re a team of destiny.  It would shovel a big batch of dirt on our coffin and create a miserable atmosphere heading into the bye.

Huge mid-season game.

* * * * *

About Signgate.  I don’t see the big deal in what Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis did.  They’re supporting their coach.  Frankly, if they didn’t, I’d be pissed at them.

Do fans have the right to speak their mind?  Absolutely.  But think fans should want the players to respond like that.  A team is players and coaches working together for a common goal.  Reid covers for his players in the press.  I like the fact guys are trying to get his back.  Solidarity is a good thing.

* * * * *

Someone in the comments section asked about why we made the OL switch.  Howard Mudd.  Andy wanted Howard to be his OL coach.  Andy strongly believes in Howard.  Well, Howard wasn’t going to come here unless he could bring in his system and his kind of players.

I’m happy with it.  Never liked the way Castillo ran the OL.  We had fat underachievers all too often.  Now we have smaller guys, but grinders who work their tails off.  I like this kind of O-line.  Peters looked terrific prior to his injury.  Mathis is playing well.  Kelce could prove to be a special player if he continues to develop.  Watkins showed a lot of promise last week.  And Herremans has been solid at RT.  I’d love that to be the starting O-line for the next few years.  The group has the potential to be outstanding.

Be sure to check out the comments section for a better and more accurate answer from Sam.  

* * * * *

I’ve come up with the solution to the hacking issue.  I’m going to turn this into a sunglasses/lens blog and then the hacker will be forced to write articles on the Eagles in order to truly be a hacker.  Pretty genius, huh?  I didn’t graduate from high school for nuttin.  Almost graduate is probably the more accurater phrase.

31 Comments on “Game Preview – WAS”

  1. 1 Sam Lynch said at 2:15 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    I think the OL switch was a little more complicated than just Howard Mudd. Reid allegedly preferred Mike Munchak, before he was named HC in Tennessee. (See Domo article: ) Munchak also uses smaller linemen.

    I think this was a shift based on a) the fact that his elephant line had not protected Vick well in the prior season and b) Vick’s mobility suggested that a more athletic approach to line play made sense. In fact, point b had been clear to many based on Reid’s offense for a while. So it really isn’t a question of why Reid would choose this type of line, but rather why now? And I think the answer there is the opportunity to make a change in style without having to fire a good, loyal coach. If Castillo had been hired away earlier, I wonder if this sort of change would have been made then?

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 2:18 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Great point about Munchak. Forgot about that.

    I’ve always wondered about the big OL. I guess that was more Castillo than Reid.

  3. 3 ike said at 2:54 PM on October 14th, 2011:


    You wrote: “BUF didn’t have a great pass rush so Reid was smart to throw against them.”

    So during the game, Buffalo constantly blitzed Vick — just like every team since the Giants started that last year.

    And, despite Buffalo’s lousy stats in pass rushing coming into last week’s game, the Bills — like every other team since the Giants last year — had Vick running around, getting pounded and forcing turnovers.

    At this point, does it make sense to analyze Reid’s game plan — or to project what to expect — based on the opponent’s pass-rushing success against OTHER TEAMS?

    At this point, is it fair to ask why the Eagles would game plan their offense around what the upcoming opponent’s defense does against OTHER teams. Historically, Reid cannot resist throwing the ball. And — since J-Jax blew out his knee in Denver in ’09 — the O-line hasn’t been able to protect the QB and, with Vick, stop the blitz. (Or Vick can’t make the quick read-and-thrown on the blitz a la Manning/Brady/Brees.)

    It just seems that you could throw Shippensburg or Slippery Rock out there, and they’d blitz Vick with success.

    So — bottom line — we get blitzed every week. No matter who we play. Or what they do against every other team. And we don’t make them pay.

    It’s just maddening.

    What can we do — consistently — to get teams to stop? Because, despite running screens, teams have not stopped.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 5:59 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Giants blitz a ton, but against us they played more conservatively.

    I do agree that most teams have been blitzing quite a bit. Complex subject. Vick actually posts good numbers against the blitz. Problem is that when blitzes work they’ve led to big plays for the defense. A blitz that leads to an incompletion or forces a punt isn’t a huge deal. A blitz that leads to a pick-6 is.

    I think you have to build gameplans around what you’ve seen, but definitely agree that you must anticipate the opposition treating you differently. Teams don’t play us the way they do others. They come up with exotic ideas. They shift the lineup around. We get special treatment.

    Bottom line on offense…we’re 3rd in the NFL in yards. Take away the TOs and turn a FG or 2 into a TD and we’re in great shape. No need to overhaul something that works pretty well.

  5. 5 Mac said at 3:19 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Eagles live had a guy on from pro football focus today who was making the claim that Mathis is possibly the best LG in football right now.

    I really don’t get why some people are so down on our O-line. In my opinion, they have been pretty good. I am concerned about the Dunlap injury, but nothing much can be done, the other guys just have to step up and play.

  6. 6 the guy said at 4:55 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Personally, I’ve been down on the line because they seem inconsistent. They’re tied for 5th place with sacks allowed (8) sure, but are tied for 5th worst when it comes to QB hits (29). You can blame that on Vick’s mobility, and say he holds on to the ball to extend plays so he takes more hits, and that’s a valid argument. But you can also argue that his mobility lets him avoid sacks — but not hits — from guys the OL let through.

    My concern about the injuries is less to do with the quality of the backups than the quality of the Redskins pass rush. Despite having played one less game than their competitors, the Skins are still tied for 3rd in sacks (15). They have two young 1st round draft picks that already play like All-Pros. WAS is #1 in sacks/game (interestingly the top 4 teams in sacks/game is the NFC East).

    All that said, I’m done with excuses. I don’t care if the line they play is injured Dunlap, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles, Stacy Andrews, and injured Justice. I don’t even care if the D-line is missing T. Cole and C. Jenkins. No more excuses. Good teams find ways to win. I’m tired of watching a team find ways to lose.

  7. 7 Mac said at 12:42 AM on October 16th, 2011:

    I agree. I am sick and tired of watching the Eagles play down to the level of their opponents and have been for years…

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 4:29 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Sorry way off topic but I just saw on PFT that the Aaron Curry trade for the Raiders is extremely low risk high reward, and it seems like his contract isn’t even guaranteed for 2012. I don’t know much about him or the Seahawks to be honest, but Tommy would a move like that have made any sense for the Eagles to pursue. And I guess what I’m wondering in the bigger picture is, are we prepared or even trying to make any sort of outside moves, or do you think we are content with what we have. I just don’t see any reason not to try to make a move as long as it is financially feasible.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 5:54 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    I don’t know what is going on at LB, in terms of plan and vision. The Eagles had very high hopes for Jamar Chaney. That hasn’t worked out. They thought Casey Matthews could be a solid starting MLB. He might prove to be okay with a full offseason and time to learn/adjust. He did get better each game.

    The team thought Moise Fokou would be okay. They hoped Brian Rolle would be a solid backup. Fokou started slow, but has been okay. Rolle has exceeded expectations. He’s not great, but has shown good potential.

    The Eagles haven’t worked out any LBs that we’ve heard about. They’ve checked other spots, but not LB. Interesting. This could be a sign that the personnel guys like the talent we have. If so, does that mean the players are just slow in adjusting or does that mean coaching is a huge issue in their minds? We can only speculate.

    One thing is true…there aren’t good options available. Maybe the personnel guys are going with the old theory that “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t”. After all, the guys are young and it is possible they’ll get better each week. By December 2019 we’ll have Pro Bowl LBs. (rimshot)

    Curry? Don’t know. His game tape wasn’t good. SEA benched him for a reason. Curry would have been awkward here. He’s big at 6’3, 250. At his best playing on the line and being aggressive. We keep our LBs back. He couldn’t play MLB, our biggest hole right now. If he was on the street, maybe you take a flier on him. The Raiders love fast LBs and former 1st rounders. Curry fits them in that sense. It will be interesting to see if he pans out.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 6:42 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    I’m normally comfortable giving the benefit doubt to front offices or coaching staffs when acquisitions don’t work out. “They figured they’d be able to dumpster dive for enough help to complement Lebron, Wade and Bosh.” Or, “they looked at what Gates had been able to do with an injured foot in the past and figured they’d be able to make do.”

    Teams need to make difficult decisions based on the risk-reward spreads at every position on the field while projecting player development and the randomness of injury. It’s a hard job and I understand that it’s a cheap practice to sit around externally and fire arrows about the result of their decisions.

    But it’s also important not to wipe away criticisms across the board on the simple explanation that so-and-so thought something else would happen, or Joe GM made a decision hoping for blank.

    Jamar Chaney didn’t look good last year. I know that wasn’t the collective opinion in the offseason, but I can say comfortably that there were more than a few over on Iggles Blog last year who joined me in being absolutely perplexed about the optimism surrounding him. Lost doesn’t begin to describe the way he looked in coverage. He was universally untouched on the plays in which he made plays in pursuit. He was a fine prospect, one you’re happy to have found in the 6th round. There’s no question. But if you ever find yourself with this guy as your most trusted starting LB on paper, something’s gone terribly wrong.

    Casey Matthews? What else needs to be said. Clearly whoever thought he was the guy was on an island, or else Casey would have been drafted earlier.

    We could run the same game with the safeties. There were more reasons to believe they’d be terrible than to believe they’d be good at every step of the offseason and every moment of the regular season. It isn’t hindsight to say the team wasn’t constructed responsibly.

    I firmly agree with the mindsight that good processes are more important than good results. Who can say that the offseason processes that led to this team are defensible? As long as that’s the case, why should we absolve bad decisions by pointing out that those in charge hoped for a better outcome. This is hardly the equivalent of giving $160 million to Carl Crawford following a 7 WAR season only to inexplicably see him devolve into a replacement-level player.

  11. 11 ike said at 5:30 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    The Offense is not the problem. (Yes, there’s T.O.s — but those will stop . . . these are not the 1972 Eagles here.)

    The Defense is the problem.

    And more specifically . . . the LACK of turnovers.

  12. 12 the guy said at 6:01 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    The problem is the team, and offense is most definitely a large part of it. Regardless of circumstances, I don’t get why an offense turning the ball over is acceptable, but a defense failing to generate turnovers isn’t.

    Even if that were the case, the offense has other problems. The O-line has been unable to deal with blitzing. Skill players have been careless with the ball and make poor decisions at key moments. Drive killing penalties have been a problem. The offense is #2 in RZ scoring attempts per game, but #23 in RZ scoring percentage. They are #28 in 4th quarter points/game, which is forgivable in wins but not when you’re losing. They are #18 in average team passer rating, behind teams like SF, TEN, KC, CAR, OAK and SEA.

    To sum up:
    Offense – highly talented, consistency in skill players and coaching (except O-line)
    Defense – talented in some areas, gaping holes in entire units, LB and S starters averaging 1 year of NFL experience, new coaches and scheme

    They’re both underachieving, but the offense gets a pass?

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 6:06 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Let’s not forget about fans with frog related avatars. Those guys haven’t come up with one big play this year. Very disappointing.

  14. 14 the guy said at 6:22 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    I just gotta take it one week at a time.

    This website put me in a position to make plays, and I just haven’t done it. That’s not on the guys who run the website, that’s on me. Tommy can’t comment for me. Sam can’t go out there and cherry pick the stats to support my arguments. They can only give me what I need: a place to post snide comments. Don’t put this on them.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 8:37 PM on October 14th, 2011:


    And personally, I am glad to see that Tommy brought in contact drills this afternoon. They should help you see things in front of you better.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 9:22 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    It’s all about fundamentals.

    And having dinner with Casey Matthews family.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 6:16 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    I actually feel pretty good about this game. The Skins have played good, but they haven’t been tested. Their wins came against the banged-up Giants, the Cardinals and Rams. Plus, they have Rex Grossman as their qb. Is there anything else that needs to be said? It is unfortunate that Trent won’t be playing havoc with Rex. If Babin has a good game and Juan can figure out how to use blitzes, we could see interceptions on the proper side of the ball.

    Also, The Eagles know they have their backs to the wall. Lose this game and forget about the playoffs. Football is an emotional game, and from everything I can tell the team has circled the wagons. A fired-up Eagles team should be the winner.

    As for your comment on hackingate, Tomny, your genius is noted. Nearly as impressive as Jethro Clampett graduating top of his class at Oxford.

  18. 18 Zachary said at 7:41 PM on October 14th, 2011:


    Whats your cofidence level (as vauge as that question is)….

    Since the week two loss, I just haven’t felt like this team was going to win. I keep picking em, but it’s more because I’m a gulten for punishment and love the Eagles, even if they are in a sad state. I want to be hyped for this week, but I’m not….how about you?

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 9:32 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    Sex Panther confident. I’m 100 percent confident 60% of the time.

    Seriously, I’m curious not confident. No idea what to expect each week from this team.

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 9:29 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    The Eagles have 9 OL and potentially 3 of them may be out of action Sunday. If Dunlap and Justice can’t play, you have Vandervelde at RG and Watkins at RT. They didn’t add a tackle to the PS. If they wanted to sign Austin Howard to the roster they’d have to keep him on for the minimum (3 weeks?) cuz he’s on the Ravens PS. This may be a good idea as they could turn the Page on a certain safety.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 9:50 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    Forgot about DeVan – they could do DeVan and Watkins at the two guard positions and Mathis at RT.

  22. 22 Dan said at 11:16 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    Has anybody else noticed that the first half of Andy Reid’s coaching tenure was marked by tons of talent along the offensive and defensive line, with a dearth of talent at the skill positions…and the second half of his tenure has been marked by a dearth of talent along the offensive and defensive lines and a plethora of talent at the skill positions? How about a post on why he can’t seem to find some kind of happy medium with his draft strategy???

    If you ask me the problem is they keep drafting either for the short term, or drafting for the trees and ignoring the forest. Their draft strategy of “just get the best player available” is failing miserably. THAT’S the real reason they always end up coming short, I think.

  23. 23 Dan said at 11:35 PM on October 14th, 2011:

    If you want a good example, just look at their approach to the secondary over the last couple of years. They release Brian Dawkins, draft Nate Allen. They release Quinten Mikell, draft Jaiquawn Jarrett. They know they won’t be resigning Stewart Bradley, so they draft Casey Matthews.

    News flash, Andy:It would be a good idea to plan more than a few months into the future and draft replacement players a little earlier than, say two or three months before they’ll be called on to be full time starters.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 9:31 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    Let’s talk about this kind of stuff during the bye week. Interesting stuff. Don’t have the time to properly discuss it now.

  25. 25 Boomy Wongwan said at 8:31 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    We can use the headline for the O-Line situation as “Everyday I’m shufflin!”

  26. 26 Steve H said at 9:32 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    What I would love to see this game is for the Eagles to get a tough, gritty win. It’s always nice when everything goes right and you blow the doors off the other guys like we did against the skins last year, but more than anything I’d like to see the Eagles show some mental toughness and win a knock down, drag out battle. That would make me feel much more comfortable about this team.

    I will settle for another drubbing though, if I must *sigh*.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 9:33 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    My apologies for the lack of a sunglasses post. Hacker took the night off.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 7:27 PM on October 15th, 2011:

    Personally, I am waiting anxiously for the laser eye surgery post. I am not going to get ripped off on some black market fake Ray Ban’s. When I take the bandages off my eyes I’ll know immediately if those guys are real surgeons or a bunch of fakes. See, I am smrt. (I am so smart. S-M-R-T)

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 10:52 AM on October 15th, 2011:

    I love how the Eagles are still favored to win this week, it’s time to put those Skins into their place. I am also liking what Castillo is saying, it sounds like he is starting to learn from his mistakes. First admitting he misused Nnamdi and now talking about adding some wrinkles. Only time will tell if he has the right plan but I sure hope he really is heading in the right direction.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 11:12 AM on October 15th, 2011:


    With an athletic QB who has great escapability wouldn’t it be best to protect his blind side and not worry about the other side? Moving their best RT Herriman (to where Vick can see what’s going on), putting Justice who’s not completely healthy, as well as never playing in Mudd’s system, next to two rookies(one of which is coming off his first start) doesn’t make any sense to me. Wouldn’t it be better to put anybody at left tackle and protect the blind side the best you can so that Vick could see who’s coming at him and have a chance to do something with his athleticism?

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 3:20 PM on October 15th, 2011:

    As much as I want the Eagles to win this game, I equally just want to see Washington LOSE this game. I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of putting the final nail in our coffin. If our death has to come–and hopefully it doesn’t–I hope it comes at the hands of a non-division rival. If we’re gonna end up nosediving this year, I want everyone else in the NFC East to crash and burn as well. Thats not too much to ask, is it?