Know your Eagles enemy: The Washington Redskins

USATSI_13246256_168382939_lowres

ALERT, ALERT!!!! THE SEASON STARTS ON SUNDAY!!!

September 8th is just a few days away. It’s time to get excited, Eagles fans!

The Eagles start off their season with a division game against the Washington Redskins. Let’s take a deep dive into the opponent and see what they’ve been up to since last season.

Key additions: 

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins (first round draft pick), defensive end Montez Sweat (first round draft pick), safety Landon Collins (free agency – Giants), quarterback Case Keenum (trade – Broncos), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (free agency – came out of retirement) running back Wendell Smallwood (traitor – Eagles), defensive tackle Treyvon Hester (traitor – Eagles), tackle Donald Penn (free agency – Raiders), guard Ereck Flowers (free agency – Jaguars)

Key departures: 

Linebacker Preston Smith (free agency – Packers), safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix (free agency – Bears), wide receiver Jamison Crowder (free agency – Jets), linebacker Zach Brown (released – signed with Eagles), quarterback Alex Smith (injury), linebacker Reuben Foster (injury), wide receiver Josh Doctson (cut – signed with Vikings)

Welcome Back

Missing from the additions is a player coming back from injury, Derrius Guice. The second year running back is going into his “Ben Simmons” rookie year after missing all of his first year with a torn ACL. Guice has a ton of talent and is capable of carrying the Redskins offense, and he may need to with what’s in front of him. 

Case of the Yips

Quarterback Case Keenum was named the starter for this game and the Eagles defense should be excited.  The last time the Eagles faced Keenum this happened:

That was Keenum’s only game against the Eagles in his career and finished with 271 yards passing on a 58% completion rate with one touchdown and two interceptions. He recently stated that he remembered the feeling after the loss at the Linc:

The Eagles will certainly be fine with reminding him of that feeling.

“Protection”

Protecting Keenum’s blindside will be guard Ereck Flowers and tackle Donald Penn. Do I need to say more?

Flowers is a castoff from the Giants and Jaguars and any Giants fan will tell you that he’s in the running for worst lineman in Giants history, especially at his draft position (NINTH OVERALL). In his career against the Eagles he has five penalties in six games, three of which were holding. According to ProFootballFocus, from the time of Flowers’ first game with the Giants to his final game with the team, week two of last season, he allowed 180 quarterback pressures. 180.  Fletcher Cox may have a career high in sacks this Sunday.

Penn only played in four games last season, but he is a three time Pro Bowler. In those four games, he accumulated a ProFootballFocus grade of 47.0. That’s out of 100. He gets a slight pass because he was moved from left tackle to right tackle, but that’s still an abysmal grade. He was just signed by the Redskins in late July, so he may still be getting acclimated to the playbook. Expect Derek Barnett to have a strong start to the season. 

With how mediocre this offense looks, does their defense look any better?

Scroll down to find out. Continued on the page below.

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The big ticket signing for the Redskins this offseason was safety/linebacker Landon Collins. Formally of the Giants, he has played eight games against the Eagles and averaged 7.9 tackles per game. He has never forced a fumble against the Eagles and only has two interceptions, safe to say the Eagles offense won’t shy away from him. 

“I feel like we play better on the road”

This is a direct quote from cornerback Josh Norman last season after beating the Buccaneers. He was referencing how the home crowd doesn’t support the Redskins when they lose (which is often) and gave praise to how the other NFC East rival fans support their teams. 

Well Josh, you’re going to see those Eagles fans in full force on Sunday. 

Norman isn’t quite the stud corner he once was, but when he plays in off-man coverage he’s still one of the best. 

However, with Kendall Fuller gone, will the Redskins still deploy an off-man scheme and trust the other corners to guard the likes of DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside while Norman shadows Alshon Jeffery? It might be a long day for those other corners if so. 

If the Redskins decide to keep Norman on one side and play press coverage, he isn’t nearly as good. He has allowed a passer rating of 99.5 when he’s in press coverage, as opposed to a 62.1 rating when in man coverage. If the Redskins choose press, look for all of the Eagles receivers to have an opportunity to break out. 

Underrated monster

The heart and soul of this defense is defensive end Ryan Kerrigan. He is a four time Pro Bowler, yet he always seems to be on the back end of the “top pass rusher” discussions. 

Since coming into the league in 2011, he is fourth among edge defenders in quarterback pressers (507) and third in quarterback hurries (357), according to ProFootballFocus. 

In 16 career games against the Eagles, he has 11.5 sacks, 58 tackles, 20 QB hits, and this pick-six against Wentz:

Kerrigan has been stellar against the Eagles and offensive tackle Lane Johnson knows how much Kerrigan means to the Redskins:

It’ll be a tough test for the Eagles going against Kerrigan and the new look defensive line for the Redskins, but will it lead to a victory? 

The Redskins and Eagles have a long history.  The Redskins lead the regular season series 85-78-6, while being 1-1 in the playoffs.  However, the Eagles have won the last four match ups. 

With this being the first game of the season, at the Linc, crowd going nuts, expect this to be an easy win.  Eagles win 34-17.

Stat line predictions:
  • Wentz: 31/39 for 330 yards.  3 touchdowns.
  • Sanders: 12 rushes for 50 yards. 1 touchdown.
  • Howard: 10 rushes for 44 yards.  1 receiving touchdown.
  • Jackson: 5 receptions for 110 yards, 75 yard touchdown catch to begin the game.
  • Jeffery: 8 receptions for 70 yards.
  • Ertz: 7 receptions for 50 yards.
  • Goedert: 1 red zone touchdown.

Start fast, finish faster. Go Birds!

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites