Barry Cofield: Physicality will help Redskins vs. Eagles’ speed

Overall team speed ranks among the strengths that the Philadelphia Eagles boast, and Washington Redskins inside linebacker London Fletcher and nose tackle Barry Cofield believe that this week’s opponent may be the fastest team on their schedule, if not in the NFL.

“I don’t think we’ll see a team that’s any faster than them,” Fletcher said.

Said Cofield: “They’re definitely the fastest team. They’re the fastest team in the league. I don’t doubt that at all — on both sides of the ball.”

Both cite strong discipline as a key to holding the Eagles in check. The defensive linemen must try to clog running lanes, and the linebackers must fill the gaps and maintain their rushing lanes to help eliminate running room for Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, and the cornerbacks and safeties will have to work together to keep DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant from running free on pass routes.

Cornerback Josh Wilson joked that he had trained with Michael Johnson during the bye to get ready for the Eagles’ speed.

Cofield has confidence that he and his fellow defenders can get the job done thanks largely to their physical style of play.

“I think we have a chance to be the most physical team in the league, so it’s gonna be a great matchup,” Cofield said of his team, which ranks third in the league in total defense, limiting opponents to 291.8 yards a game, eighth against the pass (212 ypg), sixth against the run (84.5 ypg) and third in scoring (holding foes to just 15.8 points per game). Washington also ranks fourth in the league with 15 sacks.

“We feel like if we play mistake-free football and play physical, we can match them,” Cofield added. “The field’s only so big. They’re going to utilize every blade of grass out there with their athleticism, but if we stay disciplined and limit the big plays, and hopefully create some turnovers, I think we got a great chance.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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