Washington opens the season against the rival Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField tomorrow night. The team which the Redskins managed to sweep during their seven game win streak on their way to their first division title since 1999. The question however is can they began where they left off in 2012 with a new Philadelphia Eagles team?
With Chip Kelly joining the Philadelphia Eagles as head coach after an interesting runaround during the offseason, Philadelphia is expected to be better offensively, and rightfully so they should be. While experts and fans suggest the offense might not be effective in the NFL, it’s important to note they said the same thing about the read-option, which needless to say proved to be quite successful and has no plans of leaving anytime soon.
Chip Kelly’s offense might not be an exact replica as to what was seen at Oregon, as Kelly now has to face defenses that at their worst are still faster and better than some of the best in college. One of the immediate things noticed with Kelly is the fact that their team in Philadelphia is going into huddles, which wasn’t the case at Oregon.
That’s not to say the Redskins shouldn’t expect Philadelphia to run no-huddle offenses, as that will be in the plans, but they might not run them as much as expected.
Jim Haslett isn’t worried what they do, as he says the Redskins have not had any issues with fast tempo offenses so far. Additionally, he said the defense will be ready “all day against everything,” and that he watched film on Oregon to plan against the Eagles.
Though Haslett wasn’t liked immediately, especially at the beginning of last season, he managed to turn around a sputtering Redskins defense to one that helped take the Redskins to the playoffs, while also holding the number five run defense in the league.
One of the major concerns for Haslett will be how the team contains Michael Vick, since Haslett’s arrival in 2010, Michael Vick has contributed to 954 yards, 10 touchdowns (two rushing), and 154 yards rushing. Needless to say, since Vick’s return to the NFL, he has been a headache for the Redskins in just four games started (one of which he was knocked out of late in the first quarter).
Unless you count the 2010 game in Philadelphia as a win against Vick, who was lost in the first quarter, the Washington Redskins have never beaten him during his entire career in the NFL.
Michael Vick knows this, and with his confidence level already through the roof with an offense believed to be the real deal in Philadelphia, the Redskins will need to be on their A game in order to keep him under control.
That could be an issue with DeSean Jackson looking like the Jackson of old, and LeSean McCoy doing what he’s been known for his entire football career. Three players naturally don’t make a team, but they are the three most-dangerous players Philadelphia can throw at the best and still come out victorious.
Washington ranked 30th in the league last season against the pass, and though they were able to sweep the Eagles, the Eagles still led them in both games passing, with 204 yards at FedExField, and 345 yards at Philadelphia.
If that happened to be Michael Vick, you might understand it, however it wasn’t. Instead, it was with their rookie Nick Foles, who during his first game in Week 11, managed to surpass Robert Griffin III in passing.
All that matters is who’s on the side of the win column, and obviously that was Washington, but would that have been the same case with Michael Vick as starter? Possibly the first game, as the Redskins routed the Eagles 31-6, the second game, a 27-20 victory which the Redskins had to squeak out late in the game? Maybe not.
With a new look offense under Chip Kelly, the Eagles could be a much more dangerous team, but as the Eagles have improved offensively, so have the Redskins.
As has been stressed all offseason, the defense could be at risk with the health of Brandon Meriweather, who according to injury reports still isn’t 100% ready for Monday Night. That doesn’t mean he won’t play, but he certainly might not be full-go.
Meriweather, who doesn’t have an issue with his knee this time, has had an issue with his groin, which so far has kept him limited in practice throughout the week. Barry Cofield on the other hand, who has a fractured bone in his hand, has been full-go and is expected to play.
With Phillip Thomas lost for the season, Brandon Meriweather needs to stay healthy in order for the Redskins to have a dangerous backfield, without him, Reed Doughty could make things a little harder for the Redskins secondary.
Don’t be surprised if the Eagles open up with a deep post as they did during the 2010 matchup to test the Redskins and see where they stand. A completion early in the game like the one during the Monday Night Massacre could call for disaster the remainder of the game.
Thankfully, a pass rush that was missing in 2012 due to injuries is for the most part back and should cause issues for Michael Vick, assume Jim Haslett is correct in saying the Redskins are indeed ready for any type of up tempo offense.
Offensively things shouldn’t change for Washington, the offensive line is back, and the receivers are 100% healthy. The Redskins only lost one game during Pierre Garcon’s 10 starts last season, and with a healthy Joshua Morgan and Fred Davis, Griffin has two new lethal targets.
While the game could be close early, Washington should be able to pull away in the second half to win the game by a touchdown or two.
Let’s not forget Mike Shanahan is the King at getting players ready for Week 1 matchups, and so far the Redskins haven’t lost under him. The Redskins also haven’t lost a home opener season the 2006 season opener, which ironically happened during Monday Night Football.
Robert Griffin III is the King of breaking streaks; it’s time to see if he’s not only healthy, but also able to break a losing streak against Michael Vick.
If you’re looking to be there Monday night, you can find Redskins tickets available here.
Tags: Alfred Morris Bacarri Rambo Brandon Meriweather Brian Orakpo Chip Kelly Eagles FanSided Joshua Morgan Mike Shanahan NFC East Philadelphia Eagles Pierre Garcon Redskins Redskins Blog Redskins Football Redskins News RG3 RGIII Robert Griffin III Ryan Kerrigan Washington Redskins