Eagles' defense presents a challenge for Redskins

Jason Reid
Copyright 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009; 8:11 AM

The Philadelphia Eagles are tied for third (with Pittsburgh) in the NFL in sacks and rank fourth in interceptions. That means that, obviously, pass protection and ball security will be two important keys Sunday when the Redskins face the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins' offense, and its offensive line in particular, face another challenging situation. "We definitely have to do our best to protect the football," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "But at the same time, we can't be afraid to make plays. We can't be afraid to have fun and play at a high level. "With that being said, we understand that we are playing with a defense that moves around a lot and causes a lot of issues and problems. So everybody has to make sure that we are on the same page. If things get a little rough, we can't get frustrated. We have to continue to stay on course." The Eagles are adept at stripping the ball, Campbell said. "They do a good job of that," he said. "A lot of teams try to get to the running back, quarterback and the receiver and just try to make the tackle, but these guys try to get the ball out. "One guy is making the tackle and the other one is trying to get the ball out. So we have to be very cautious of that and make sure we put two hands on the ball. When I'm in the pocket I have to make sure that there are no hands around me." The view from Philly There's a big difference in performance when LeSean McCoy knows the week before a game that he'll be the starter, Les Bowen writes. Four times this season, McCoy has prepared all week to start. The Eagles are 3-1 in those games, in which McCoy has rushed for 319 yards, on 54 carries, 4.98 yards per carry. Some of the other six games, McCoy split duty with Brian Westbrook throughout. Others, Westbrook left early with injuries, making McCoy the main guy for at least part of the day. The bottom line on those games: The Eagles are 3-3, and McCoy has rushed 42 times, for just 133 yards. That's 3.17 yards per carry. This will mark the first time McCoy is seeing a team for the second time in a season. The last meeting with the Redskins, Oct. 26, was the night when [Brian] Westbrook suffered his first concussion, midway through the first quarter. McCoy ended up getting 19 touches - 14 carries, for 37 yards, and five catches for 30 - but he was not as productive as he has been when preparing as a starter. "I know some of their tendencies, some of their blitzes and whatnot, and also some of their players - how they play. I think it helps me out a lot," McCoy said. "It's different, though. It's weird, to play a team twice in the same season." McCoy said he remembers the Redskins as "an aggressive group," particularly No. 59, middle linebacker London Fletcher, the guy whose knee collided with Westbrook's head. [Offensive coordinator Marty] Mornhinweg yesterday said Washington's defense, officially ranked fourth in the NFL, is "fast and physical." "You could argue this is the best defense in the league," Mornhinweg said. Speaking of the Redskins' defense, the Eagles are giving up a lot of sacks and that's something that concerns Mornhinweg, Jeff McLane writes. Mornhinweg was concerned enough that he spoke to Donovan McNabb about his tendency to take sacks.

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