Although Griffin was rusty in his first game since he tore knee ligaments during a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January, even a top-notch performance from last season’s NFL offensive rookie of the year wouldn’t have enabled the Redskins to overcome their complete collapse on defense. Poor tackling, poor pass coverage, insufficient pass rush — the Redskins whiffed in too many key areas to slow the Eagles.
During a stretch in the first half, the Redskins succeeded in applying some pressure on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
For the most part, however, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had no answers for Kelly, who spreads out opposing defenses and likes to keep the pace quick.
The setback on defense was even more disturbing than the Redskins’ ineptitude on offense in the first half. Despite wearing a knee brace after reconstructive surgery, Griffin impressed teammates in practice with his passing accuracy and mobility. Clearly, though, Griffin, who sat out the preseason games for precautionary reasons, will need time to revert to his superstar form.
How bad were things? Dependable place kicker Kai Forbath missed a field goal that was well within his range. Forbath’s miss was the capper on a bad night for Redskins fans, some of whom bolted for the exits in the third quarter.
For the defending NFC East champion, the awful performance against Philadelphia definitely wasn’t what it expected. The defense set a bad tone — let’s start there.
Under Kelly, the University of Oregon had a video-game-like offense. The Ducks racked up yards and points at a record pace while essentially running a fast break in football. Kelly’s motto? The more plays the better. In his first year with the Eagles, Kelly is off to great start.
From analyzing video of Kelly’s Oregon teams, Redskins coaches figured Kelly would call plays designed to put Eagles receivers, running backs and Vick in individual matchups against Redskins linebackers and defensive backs. Factor in that Kelly would prefer to run a play per second if possible, and the Redskins realized that fatigue could be a major problem — especially along the defensive line — because they couldn’t substitute as often as they usually would against an opponent with a more traditional pro-style approach.
If the Redskins had succeeded in executing Haslett’s game plan, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (184 yards rushing, one touchdown) wouldn’t have gained so many additional yards after would-be tacklers were in position to stop him, wide receiver DeSean Jackson (104 yards receiving, one touchdown) wouldn’t have run free throughout the secondary on so many plays and Vick (203 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and one rushing) wouldn’t have dictated the pace with such ease.