Redskins-Eagles keys to the game: offense
Monday night's game against the Eagles will be a test for the Redskins. Can this team bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to the Lions and put the decision to bench Donovan McNabb for the final two minutes behind them?
Here's what the Redskins' offense must concentrate on this week if they want to win:
I know you've heard this before, but once again, the Redskins must run the ball effectively. The Eagles' pass rush was relentless last week against the Colts. If the Redskins hope to slow them down, they will need to keep them honest by running the ball. Ryan Torain has had a week to heal from his hamstring injury, and Clinton Portis has been practicing too. I think Torain will be the guy, despite reports that he might not play. Running the ball will also benefit the defense by eating up the clock and keeping Eagles quarterback Michael Vick off the field.
The passing game will start with protecting McNabb. If he has time to throw, players such as Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Anthony Armstrong will have more opportunities to make plays this week. Look for McNabb to throw short quick passes early and often to avoid the pass rush.
The Redskins didn't give up very many sacks until the Lions game, when their play took a turn for the worse. Hopefully these guys will come out of the bye week poised and ready to do better. If not, against a pass rush that had Peyton Manning on the run last week, McNabb will have another long day at the office. Trent Cole, Brodrick Bunkley and Juqua Parker are forcing bad decisions by collapsing the pocket. With McNabb's health perhaps a question, the Redskins want to avoid situations where he's forced to scramble. At the very least, they'll want to force the pass rush to the outside and out of the middle.
I believe this will be the Redskins' biggest challenge thus far. With all of the drama from the last game, this team needs a great showing to help them move on and pull back together. This offense has shown itself to be vulnerable at times with penalties, poor blocking, and a lack of production in the running and passing game.
The Eagles will enter this game knowing if they stop the run, the Redskins will abandon it for the pass. If this happens, McNabb will have to deliver accurate passes.
The edge goes to the Eagles' defense
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