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.
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