The Philadelphia Eagles may own a 1-4 record, which comes as a surprise given the team’s offseason spending spree on free agents, and their “Dream Team” billing. But when Washington Redskins players look at the squad, they don’t see a team that’s already on the ropes.
They see the team that came into FedEx Field in Week 10 of the 2010 season – just as the Redskins came off their bye – and embarrassed them with a 59-28 drubbing on national television.
“When we think of the Eagles, we think of that game,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “We know what type of team this is. Regardless of their record, we cannot go in there thinking this is a regular 1-4 team.”
On offense, the Eagles actually rank among the league’s best, generating the third-highest yards per game average (445.6) and the top rushing attack in the NFL with 165.6 yards per contest. Philadelphia has the ability to score (25 ppg) and score quickly, with weapons like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.
But turnovers have crippled the Eagles . Vick has thrown a league-worst nine interceptions while he and his teammates have combined for six lost fumbles – also an NFL high.
“Any time you have a good football team and you lose close games, it usually comes down to turnovers,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said of the Eagles, whose four losses have come by an average of 5.75 points. “That’s what has happened the last four games: they’ve lost the turnover battle. But they’re moving the heck out of the ball, they’ve got some great weapons, they’re scoring some points. All four of those games, they’ve lost because of turnovers.”
The Eagles have struggled on defense as they adjust to a new coordinator and system. At the same time, they are working new personnel into their lineup and trying to compensate for injuries to some key players.
The Redskins expect to face a desperate team that, if they’re not careful, will punch them in the mouth off the jump and then keep rolling.
“A team that has their backs against the wall, it’s going to make for a hell of a game,” said cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was beaten, along with safety LaRon Landry, by Jackson for an 88-yard touchdown catch on the first play of last year’s blowout. “They’re going to pull out all of the tricks that they might’ve been saving for the playoffs and they’re going to try to come in here and win the game. Last time they came in here and embarrassed us. We definitely know the weapons they have, the playmakers they have and the team speed they bring to the table. We’re definitely going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Shanahan said he doesn’t need to use last year’s game as a talking point because all the players left from that team still remember the game vividly. The coach said, “I’m trying to get that out of my mind, so no I’m not going to watch it.” Instead, he and his players have been watching film of the Eagles’ games from this season while working to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen.
“Last year’s in the past, but you definitely won’t forget it,” Landry said. “We’ve still got that taste in our mouth from when they came in here, and we all know what happens. We’ve definitely got to come out here and finish. We know they’re coming in here to give us their best shot, especially with them going on a bye next week and not wanting to go into it with a loss.”