By Rich Tandler
Here is what we will be talking about this week at Redskins Park:
59-28—It was awful at the time but the whipping the Eagles laid on the Redskins last November 15 could be the best thing that happened to them, at least as far as this week is concerned. If there was any chance at all that they might be lulled into overconfidence by the Eagles’ 1-4 record, the show that Michael Vick and the Eagles’ offense put on at FedEx Field last year should eliminate it.
Stopping Michael Vick—Yes, he’s throwing a lot of interceptions (7 this year after throwing six in 12 games in 2010) but he’s still one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the game. We’ll talk to defensive players about how they will work against him, even though the details will be kept tightly under wraps.
Injuries to Young, Armstrong, and Hightower—Last week before the bye Tim Hightower told us that he was going to be sticking around town to get treatment on his injured shoulder. He said today that it was doing better and although he said he would play, that remains to be seen. Mike Shanahan seemed confident that Darrel Young will be back to start at fullback after missing two games with a hamstring pull. Anthony Armstrong has missed a game and a half with a hammy; Shanahan said that he has not yet tested the injury all-out. We’ll find out about practice participation on Wednesday, more details on the final in injury report on Friday. The Eagles have some key injuries that will bear watching as well.
The Eagles’ struggles—Whether we are talking about their minus-10 turnover ration or making mistakes like jumping offside on fourth and inches, the Eagles have only stopped shooting themselves in the foot during games long enough to reload. Will they stop at some point? Or is this a deeply flawed “Dream Team”? No doubt they are one of the most talented 1-4 teams you will ever see. Shanahan mentioned yesterday that they can score on you from anywhere on the field in an instant. The question is if they can stop playing their sloppy brand of football in an instant as well.
The mix at running back—If Hightower is ready to go, Kyle Shanahan will have to figure out how to utilize three running backs against what has been a porous Eagles rushing defense (140 yards/game, 30th in NFL). Hightower, Ryan Torain, and Roy Helu (pictured) have all had shining moments in the first four games. Although the Redskins will have to mix up their play calling, a key to the game should be a healthy dose of runs to keep the clock moving, forcing Vick and company to be spectators.