5 Keys to the Game for Eagles Monday Night Showdown
September 8, 2013 in Philadelphia Eagles
By Guest Writer Phil Thompson:
For the Eagles to come into Washington against their division rivals and get a victory on Monday night, here are 5 keys to the game for Chip Kelly and the Eagles:
1. Use LeSean McCoy:
The Chip Kelly offense at Oregon was many things, but at its center was having a dynamic running back. McCoy is a perfect fit for Chip Kelly in the NFL because of his speed, agility and vision. Under Andy Reid, the Eagles didn't rely on the run as much, which partially wasted a talent like McCoy. McCoy is arguably a top 5 back in this league, and he should be getting 20-25 carries a game easily. McCoy can also be a very effective weapon out of the backfield for Michael Vick and a match-up nightmare for Redskins linebackers.
The Redskins run defense has been susceptible to big plays this preseason and has been plagued with poor tackling. This is an area the Eagles should look to exploit. The Redskins run defense looks overrated on paper since they didn't give up a lot of yards last season. The problem with that is that no one ran on them because they had such an easy time throwing the football. In fact, the Redskins run defense was slightly below average in terms of yards per carry, which is why this should be an area the Eagles try to get an advantage. The added benefit is they keep RG3 and Alfred Morris off the field.
Last year turnovers plagued the Eagles and more or less ruined their season. This year it has become a point of emphasis for the team, particularly Michael Vick, who has had major turnover issues in the past. For Chip Kelly though, this is unacceptable and could lead to a quarterback change if Vick can't protect the football.
The Redskins defense last year struggled overall, but one area they were strong in was creating turnovers. This was a major emphasis in the draft as they added ball-hawking defensive backs David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo. The Eagles need to be careful with their decisions throwing the football, especially as these young DBs will make them pay for any mistakes.
3. Keep using up tempo to put pressure on the Redskins defense:
Chip Kelly and the Eagles are looking to take the up-tempo offense to a new level this season. The Eagles are hoping to see this turn into a major advantage for them as they wear defenses down and use the lack of substitutions to create mismatches. Michael Vick appears to be the perfect quarterback for this style of system. Between him and the rest of the offensive skill position players, they can create major problems for the Redskins' stamina. The Redskins could be needing to platoon their strong safety position as Brandon Meriweather is questionable for the game. That could lead to the Eagles catching the Redskins in a poor personnel group, stopping their game plan.
4. Contain Alfred Morris:
Though much of the hype is on RG3, the real key for the Redskins offense this year might be running back Alfred Morris. The Redskins are a run first team who struggled in games where they had to throw the ball more than 30 times last season. For the Eagles to force them to throw the ball that many times, they have to contain Alfred Morris. That will be even more key this year, as Griffin is less likely to run coming back from the knee injury. This could be a tougher task for the Eagles given how much the struggled against the run in some of their preseason contests. But if they come up with a good game plan, they should be able to slow Morris down enough.
5. Get consistent pressure on Robert Griffin:
One thing that some teams did that were able to contain the Redskins offense last year was attacking the quarterback and putting pressure on him. Sometimes Griffin still made them pay with a big throw or run, but if you were able to get pressure on him without having to blitz too many players, you were able to slow down the Redskins offense. With Griffin coming back from the injury he likely won't be able to escape as easy and make a play with his arm or legs. The area to attack the Redskins offensive line is at the right tackle position, where Tyler Polumbus has proven to be a major liability.
If the Eagles can accomplish these 5 things, they can get a win on the road against a division rival to start the season 1-0.