The Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) and Washington Redskins (6-5) are set to play on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field. In order to preview this Week 13 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Hogs Haven. The kind Ken Meringolo (@ItsRainingKen) took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.
1 - What is Washington’s biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?
The Redskins biggest strength coming into the season, and sporadically since, has been its incredibly young and talented defense. They have been worn out on more than a couple Sundays, but Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have actually represented one of the best defensive line groups we have seen in Washington in recent memory. They have gotten to the quarterback and they have impacted games. The offense this season has not really taken off the way everyone hoped when Jay Gruden was paired with Alex Smith, and unfortunately for the Redskins, this would be where our strength for this game should have been. The Eagles have a very banged up secondary, and with linebackers like Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham also dinged up, the Redskins offense should at least feel confident in being able to execute their gameplan. The problem is that Colt McCoy has JUST started taking first-string reps in practice, and it had taken Alex Smith half a season to get in rhythm with the wide receivers. Somehow, the defense is going to have be the strength in this game…
2 - What is Washington’s biggest weakness? What matchup concerns you the most about the Eagles?
While I remain inspired by watching an NFC East backup quarterback take his team to the Super Bowl last year, Colt McCoy at quarterback adds up to a major weakness if for no other reason than he simply has not established any kind of rapport with the outside receivers. I actually hang this weakness on the receivers by the way, and not Colt. We have not seen the wide receivers step up this season, which was at least part of the reason Alex Smith forced the ball to tight ends (the other part has to do with…Alex Smith’s career-long insistence on throwing to tight ends). So even though we know Philly is playing corners this week that are battling injuries and haven’t been on the field a ton, I think those are the matchups that concern me most because the Redskins haven’t proven they can take advantage of that.
3 - What do you make of the Reuben Foster situation?
Candidly, it strikes me as a colossally stupid decision on its face. The NFL is the most PR-conscious league in the world, and the Redskins even admitted that this was the battle they were gearing up to fight after deciding to claim this player. Getting buy-in from Foster’s former Alabama teammates on the Washington roster is simply not “due diligence.” We see sports organizations make mistakes all the time and walk back bad decisions after being publicly shamed. The problem here is that Dan Snyder can’t be shamed. It’s his superpower. He truly gives zero f’s about what people think. Because of all this, and because I don’t think Foster is going to be banned from the league, I fully expect to see him on the field at some point playing middle linebacker for the Redskins.
4 - What’s your big picture assessment of this current Washington regime? How confident are you in this leadership group?
I haven’t had confidence in the front office since Bobby Beathard, but Doug Williams has at the very least SEEMED to bring some guidance to this group. The Foster decision goes on him too, so it definitely raises concerns for me (I mean, Williams basically justified the Foster pickup by pointing to the rather flawed individual in the White House…so add that to the list of reasons to hate Trump if you are looking to fill that bucket this holiday season!). I actually really like Jay Gruden. I have wanted to see what would happen if we kept a coach around for more than two or three seasons, and the results have not been disastrous (currently the bar we measure coaches with here in DC). The strength of the Washington sideline is their position coaches, with guys like Bill Callahan, Torrian Gray and Jim Tomsula leading the charge. If you have ever played football, or closely covered a team, you understand that this can actually cover up a LOT.
5 - What’s your prediction for this game? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Washington season?
My outlook is very much colored by my belief that the football gods are ABSOLUTELY trolling the Redskins fanbase. I can’t think of many worse ways to start an offseason than by having your backup quarterback (that you are probably depending on to start in 2019) opt out of his contract and set off a ridiculously stupid drama. The Redskins making the playoffs would set that into motion, so I have to believe that is exactly what will happen. There’s also a quarterback out in Minnesota having a solid year, and I find it impossible not to think that we are going to be subjected to a Kirk Cousins vs. Redskins playoff game. Again…these are just too easy. As for the game on Monday night, I kind of have a similar line of reasoning. Because I think the Eagles are destined to draft the player that I will spend all offseason pining for, the Redskins will win on Monday night to ensure a draft position right behind Philly. Keep in mind, I don’t root for my team to lose EVER, and certainly not to get a better draft position. I am just not seeing an easy pick for this game between two somewhat middling teams. Therefore, the obvious answer is Redskins fans are being set up to be uber-trolled by the football gods.