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Redskins-Eagles keys to the game: the defense

Sunday's loss in St. Louis added more questions to a growing list. The Redskins' defense had a poor outing against a struggling, young offense. Now the Redskins will face Mike Vick, once again the scariest offensive weapon in the NFL.

Here's what the defense must do to have a chance to win this game. The Redskins must win the battle up front. In the running and passing game, the D-line must work to push the Eagles' O-line back. They must be disciplined this week staying in their up-field lanes. If they have any breakdowns and let running lanes develop, Vick and LeSean McCoy will find the lanes and make the Redskins pay.

The defense will need to make Vick scramble to his right. Vick is a left-handed QB, so moving that way will make running and throwing very difficult. Look for someone with enough athletic ability to shadow Vick during this game, maybe Brian Orakpo or Rocky McIntosh.

The linebackers are going to have to play solid in pass coverage. They were exploited last week with simple seam routes and crossing patterns. So I fully expect Eagles Coach Andy Reid to call these easy pass plays to help Vick get comfortable while setting up the deep ball.


The secondary has a very tall task this week. This may be the best receiver tandem in the NFL. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin get upfield in a hurry and are very skilled at getting the ball. DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers are physical corners. They can tackle, and if they are able to keep the receivers limited to shorter routes, tackling will be exactly what they have to do, especially on third downs. The safeties will need to be very active in coverage. If they show the corners that they are over the top in coverage, it may give them enough confidence to take a shot at making a play on the ball.

In the running game, McCoy is the new Brian Westbrook of this team. He is very versatile; he can run the ball; and he also can catch very well. The defense can not let McCoy get downhill or around the edges of this defense. This is the game the defensive front must clog up the line of scrimmage, or else. I look for LaRon Landry to offset the speed of Vick and McCoy in the running game.

If the Redskins can win the turnovers battle, get off the field on third downs, limit their mistakes, limit the big play, and stay consistent they can win the battle on defense.

By LaVar Arrington  | September 29, 2010; 9:16 AM ET
 
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Comments

The 3 - 4 is not working so far. We were competitive against Houston and stunk it up against St. Louis. The next four weeks will be tough. My hopes for this season are starting to fade.

Posted by: cowbell | September 29, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Its too early to give up. New coach, offense and QB. New defense. Give them 5 games. Then see what happens after that. The 3-4 is doing what it should be doing which is to stop the run. The idea is to force a team to pass. Unfortunately the pass has been too successful against the Skins. They are getting turnovers. But its an accumulation of little things that are causing the Redskins problems. Mistakes, miscommunication. The team isn't on the same page yet. However, if the redskins win next week then they are in first place with two wins against division rivals and that would be a pretty good start. The season is just beginning.

Posted by: firemetalrat | September 29, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I would also to comment that Lavars speed rush from outside the left end position that resulted in e clothes line hit on Stewart, an extremely fast back, before he even reached the line of scrimmage was so impressive I have never forgotten. The speed, the hit that stopped him in dead in his tracks. Wow! I didn't think Stewart was getting back up again. The Redskins need more of that type of play. I also remember what Lavear did to McNabb in one game. A sack of McNabb that was so brutql I am certain McNabb didn't know where he was the rest of the game. He didn't look right after that sack and that was the reason the Skins won that game. I wonder if McNabb remembers that hit. Maybe not. He might not remember the game.

Posted by: firemetalrat | September 29, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Dirty30 will break that fast little girl #10 inside out on that square in route. He knows if he gets squared up on...he breaks. ST21 would have already broke that guy, like the luge guy in the Olympics.

Posted by: sdtxyz | September 29, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"...the D-line must work to push the Eagles' O-line back. They must be disciplined this week staying in their up-field lanes. If they have any breakdowns and let running lanes develop, Vick and LeSean McCoy will find the lanes and make the Redskins pay."

I like the analysis but I know the Redskins D-line will not be pushing ANY O-line back, it's a shame, I love this team but damn.

I see lots of Defensive breakdowns and a huge game for mcCoy and Vick running.

Skins lose, unfortunately.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | September 29, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Skins have no answer for DeSean Jackson adn Jeremy Maclin. I say both WRs go over 100 yards receiving and a TD.

Posted by: owiz | September 29, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Coach Shanahan took a top five defence that play with the offence going 3 and out many many time and change it to a 3- 4 where all a team offense need to do is throw at the team top defensive end who both had over 10 sack and now linebacker and let the back catch the ball in front of them and run. wow, what a coach. and now the worst defence in the league.

Posted by: lostdogrwd101 | September 29, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Lavar, here's my nightmare. Our defense comes out fired up and gets after Vick. Vick goes down with an injury after a jarring momentum capturing hit. Then Kolb comes in. Our preparation all week has been for defending Vick, Redskin defense isn't prepared for Kolb, Kolb has something to prove, and Kolb goes wild and tears up our defense.

Posted by: ChinTurret | October 1, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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