Found December 21, 2012 on
Philly Sports Nut:
Depressed Eagles fans, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are almost through it. The Eagles may be 4-10, but the regular season has just two games left. After Sunday, Eagles fans can just focus on one more game. They will have plenty to look forward to with an offseason of a few major changes, but nothing that would signify a complete rebuilding job. A new coach here, a new player there and this team is back to respectability.
Even with most Eagles fans counting down the days until this dreadful season is over, there is still plenty to watch for this weekend. Here are 5 things to watch for in Sunday’s Redskins/Eagles game:
Andy Reid’s Last Game in Philly
Andy Reid and his entire coaching staff will be gone after this season. Maybe running backs coach Ted Williams stays (he survived one coaching change in Philly before), but the rest are already packing their bags and updating their resumes.
The big question remains, how will the fans treat Reid on his final home game? Most fans want Reid out as coach and by most fans I mean 99.9%. Still, he has had the most success of any Eagles coach in the Super Bowl era and has won 6 division titles and made the playoffs 9 times in his first 12 seasons. He also will finish his Eagles career with a 13-1 record after the bye week.
He took over a 2-14 Eagles team in 1999, drafted a very unpopular quarterback in Donovan McNabb and won a playoff game in his second season. You ask any Kansas City or Jacksonville fan if they would take that. The answer would be yes before you even finished the question.
Hopefully Reid gets a standing ovation after the final whistle, but poor play and several bad decisions over the past two seasons might make that hard. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Bryce and LeSean
LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are both healthy this week. McCoy starts, but Brown figures to get some carries as well. Before LeSean got hurt, Brown never had more than six carries a game. Will the Eagles give both backs their fair share of carries?
It’s in everyone’s best interest to give both backs around 30 carries on Sunday. The Eagles have a second team offensive line (outside of Evan Mathis) and a rookie quarterback. The more the Eagles run the ball, the less the pass rush can just focus on getting after Foles. Sometimes it isn’t about the success of your running game, it’s about the threat of it.
The Eagles are 3-0 when LeSean McCoy gets at least 20 carries this season. He hasn’t received 20 carries since Week 4. Will Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg finally trust their running game? Maybe just this once.
Life After the Wide-9
The play of the Eagles front four has been night and day since Andy Reid fired defensive line coach and dumped the wide-9 scheme. It was long overdue and everyone knew it. In the two weeks without the wide-9, Brandon Graham has 2.5 sacks, Fletcher Cox has 2.5 sacks and Cullen Jenkins has 2 sacks. In the previous 12 games Graham and Cox had just 3 sacks and Jenkins had 2.
Graham and Cox are both potential stars on the line. We saw it in 2010 from Graham before he tore his ACL late in the season and we have seen it all year for Cox. Now that the wide-9 is gone they look even better. Trent Cole has also played much better in the more standard scheme. He had 5 solo tackles against the Bengals. He is a stout run defender and was a bad fit in the wide-9.
This Eagles front four could be the story on Sunday. They are physical, they are athletic and they have turned things around in a hurry with 8 sacks over the past 2 games. They had 20 in the previous 12 games.
Philadelphia vs RG3: Round 2
The last time these two teams met Nick Foles actually outplayed Robert Griffin III-if you only go by passing yards. Foles threw for 204 yards on 46 attempts while Griffin had a measly 200 on 15 attempts. RG3 also had 4 touchdowns off those 15 attempts, completed all but one of them and ran for another 84 yards.
The Redskins won that meeting 31-6, despite the Eagles running 20 more plays on offense and winning the time of possession. It was a cake walk for the RG3 and his offense. Will it be that way again? The Eagles defense has played better as of late. A better showing against RG3 is a must for the fans in Philly. They don’t want to feel like RG3 owns them after only one season.
To the Victor Goes the Spoils?
The Eagles will have a major say in the NFC East title race this season. They can’t win it, but they can say who does. If they beat the Redskins on Sunday, they will need some help. The Giants or Cowboys (who play Washington next week) could win out and win the division with a Redskins loss this week.
Some fans are going to wish this team would just collapse and earn a top 3 or 4 pick in next Apri’s draft. This isn’t the year for that. There isn’t a prospect worth stinking it up for. A 6-10 finish means they won 3 out of their last 4 and are on the right track. That means less roster turnover is needed and the elite coaching candidates will want to come here. Last year would be the year to stink for a top 3 pick. This it just means you can’t draft Star Lotulelei, but you can still get a Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan or Dee Milliner.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
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