Eagles vs. Redskins: Pre-game notes

Looking forward to today’s game; here’s what is important to watch for:

-A cynical note:  It’s close to impossible to actively root against the team during the game, but a win here could prove hugely expensive.  Just remember, a top 3 pick in the draft is a lot more fun than a meaningless win in December.  Also, though I’ll never actively root for a division opponent, I think I’m in the majority when I say I’d much rather see RG3 in the playoffs then Eli Manning or Tony Romo (though watching Romo fail is hugely entertaining if a bit predictable.)

– Nick Foles.  Foles is coming off a relatively weak performance…expect him to bounce back.  The Redskins are among the worst pass-defenses in the league, allowing 285 yards per game through the air.  Their pass-rush has also struggled, notching just 25 sacks, tied for 28th in the league.  All-in-all, Foles should have the time and space to move the offense, so there will probably be a lot of fans trying to jump back on the bandwagon after today.

-Emil Igwenagu.  This is a bit of a wildcard, as there is still no clear indication of how he will be used or how much he will play.  However, Igwenagu has the strength/size/toughness to be a good blocking fullback.  Normally this wouldn’t mean much, but if we take Andy Reid out of the picture for next year, it’s not difficult to see the offense transitioning to more run-emphasis.  Imagine a full-speed McCoy/Brown tandem running behind a rejuvenated O-Line.  Add in a powerful run blocker out of the fullback position and it becomes a very intriguing prospect, especially when you remember DeSean will be there to keep defenses honest.  It probably won’t amount to much, and this could easily be the most we ever talk about Igwenagu, but for today I’m paying close attention and hoping he gets a chance to play.

-Fletcher Cox.  Assuming RG3 starts and plays without any noticeable limitations, this should be a tough assignment for Cox.  To date, he has proven himself as a strong pass rusher, either with the straight bull-rush or by using his hands to get separation at the snap before using his explosiveness to blow by his blocker.  Normally this is great, as collapsing the pocket from the inside disrupts just about every play.  However, against a QB like RG3, this can be an issue as it creates running lanes and makes it harder to contain the QB (assuming he can avoid Cox’s initial pressure).  I’m not sure how they’re going to play RG3, but if it were me, I’d be focused on containment and rely on the DBs to cover (the Washington WRs shouldn’t really scare anyone.)  If that’s the case, then we may see a dip in performance from the rookie DT, as he’s more successful when he can attack rather than react.

-The LB’s. Should be a rough day for Demeco and Co.  The RG3/Alfred Morris combo is a bad matchup, since they put a lot of pressure on the LBs (not exactly the Eagles’ strength.)  Morris is a strong runner both inside and out, and can be tough to bring down.  Hopefully Kendricks can use his speed to make a few plays, but in a one-on-one Morris-Kendricks battle, you’d have to bet on Morris coming out on top.  Also, I think we can safely assume that The Invisible Man (Jamar Chaney for those who forget) will remain invisible.

-Colt Anderson.  This should be a fun game to watch Colt.  He’ll either make a few big plays or look ridiculous.  The running attack of the Redskins plays to Colt’s strength, but he also has a propensity to lose his angle when attacking, making him vulnerable to missed tackles.  He played a solid game last week, but this offense is an entirely different challenge.

-RG3. I typically don’t highlight opposing players because it’s not within the purview of this blog, but RG3 is special.  For any fans who don’t have RedZone or Sunday Ticket, you’ve been missing out.  It’s possible RG3’s career gets derailed by injury or that he adjusts his game to avoid contact, but for now he might be the most entertaining player in the league.  It sucks that he plays for the Redskins, and I’m sure we’ll all grow to hate him if he kills the Eagles over the next 10 years, but for now I encourage everyone to enjoy the show.

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