This is the next part in our series of previews of the Eagles 2009 opponents. Joining us for this feature is Dave Schwab, who writes about the Eagles at his site Eagles Lincs.
This week it's a Monday night NFC East showdown between the 3-2 Eagles, who are coming off an upset loss at Oakland, and the Redskins, who are replete with problems of their own. The Skins have had the Eagles number in recent years, will this Monday night mean more futility in Washington for us or them?
Dave's full analysis is after the jump.
The 3-2 Eagles will try and erase the memory of their dismal performance against Oakland when they travel to our Nation’s Capital to play the 2-4 Redskins in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. As far as the Birds go, I’m going to chalk up last week as a bad day at the office. They are a team that knows how to bounce back from adversity and quickly get back to their winning ways. Unfortunately for Washington fans I cannot say the same about their team. Last week’s loss to the Chiefs marked the third game that a winless team got their first win of the season against the ‘Skins. First it was Detroit, who hadn’t won a game in 19 tries, then Carolina who was 0-3 at the time, then finally Kansas City who got their first win after five straight losses. These losses have led to the speculation that head coach Jim Zorn is about to be fired any day now. It appears he will survive long enough to coach Monday night’s game, but he will no longer be calling the plays on offense as he was relieved of those duties as of this week. In his place, offensive consultant, Sherman Lewis who has been out of football for a couple of years, will be calling the plays for the Redskins.
Given the fact that their offense is currently ranked #29 in points scored and 23rd in total offense there appears to be a need for this change. Another change will possibly be at QB, since Jason Campbell was benched at halftime of last week’s game and replaced with Todd Collins. It has been announced that Campbell will get the start on Monday night, but you never know how short a leash he may be on. The main problem with the Redskins is not at quarterback; rather it is with their aging offensive line. The loss of T Chris Samuels to injury only makes matters worse. They have already given up 17 sacks which is 5th worst in the league and the running game is ranked 23rd averaging only 99 yards per game. Perennial Pro Bowl RB Clinton Portis is having a decent year averaging 4.2 yards per carry, but has earned every yard he has gotten. Another major problem for this offense has been third down conversions especially in the red zone. They are converting less than 30% of third downs which is probably a combination of poor play calling and poor execution.
The Redskins defense is still the strength of this team as they have kept them in every game they have played as their four losses have been by a combined 22 points. They are ranked 5th overall and in points allowed per game, giving up less than 300 yards and 16 points a game. Where they have been soft is against the run as they are giving up an average of 118 yards on the ground. Given the amount of time they have been on the field in many of their games, it is no wonder that they have had some late game breakdowns that have contributed to their four losses.
The Redskins are still a team with quite a few talented players. It is their overall chemistry that is leading to their downfall this season. They have an embattled head coach, a potential quarterback controversy, a meddlesome owner, and no clear direction from a management perspective. The unrest in the locker room is spilling out onto the playing field as is evident in so many close losses to teams they should have beaten. This combination does not bode well for them in this week’s game against the Eagles. The one thing you can count on from the Birds after a bad loss is a strong showing the following week.