Let’s take a look at the Eagles to keep an eye on Monday night:
Offensive player to watch: Quarterback Carson Wentz
Wentz is having a good season. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, the second-year quarterback ranked third in the NFL in touchdowns (13) and fifth in passing yards (1,584) heading into Week 7. Over his past two games, Wentz recorded seven touchdowns and just one interception, with passer ratings of 110.7 and 128.3 against the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals.
Wentz, the No. 2 draft pick in 2016, is a dangerous, dual-threat quarterback who is difficult to bring down. In his previous matchup against the Redskins, he threw for 307 passing yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard score to Nelson Agholor. Two defenders had an opportunity to bring him down in the backfield on that one, but Wentz scrambled around and made an incredible play.
This will be a difficult matchup for Washington’s defense. The defensive line has to bring pressure and contain him in the pocket, and the secondary can’t have lapses in coverage and allow big plays.
“He’s a mobile quarterback, and that’s what you get from mobility in quarterbacks,” cornerback Josh Norman said. “You going to give a guy that can elude the pocket all that time; what you expect is going to happen? He’s going to find somebody, and they’re going to do like a scramble drill — the same thing they do over in Seattle, in a way. They’re going to find a way to make a play, and he always has eyes downfield. That makes him even more of a threat.
“But you got to understand that you got to contain guys like that; force them to step up in the pocket and make some plays. He does a great job of scrambling and finding guys when he can, but we’ve got to put the containment lock on him and see what he does.”
Said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky: “He does a great job of scanning the field. He does a great job of getting out of some pressure situations. I mean, we had him a couple times harassed in the backfield, and he got out of there and all of the sudden he made some big plays. He does a great job of keeping his eyes up the field. He feels pressure and he knows exactly where it’s coming [from], and he scoots through the lanes and he extends the play. So we can’t let him do that.”
Defensive player to watch: Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox
Cox returned last week after missing two games because of a calf injury. He logged half a sack, a pass defensed and two combined tackles in the Eagles’ win over Carolina. Cox was a full participant this week in practice and expected to play Monday night. In four games this season, Cox has 2.5 sacks.
The 26-year-old is one of the most dominant interior defensive linemen in the game. During the season opener against Washington, Cox recorded a sack and a forced fumble and scored on a 20-yard fumble return to put the game away. At 6-4 and 310 pounds, Cox has the strength and skills to create havoc as a pass rusher up the middle. He was a handful for Washington’s offensive line and, even as he returns from a calf injury, Cox will be a tough player to contain.
“For how big he is, he moves really, really well,” right guard Brandon Scherff said. “Obviously, he’s a big, powerful, violent pass rusher. I’d put him up against anybody in the league. He’s an incredible pass rusher, and he’s going to be a great challenge for us up front. We’re excited for the challenge and, everything he does, he does it well. That’s why he’s known for what he’s known for.
“He’s tall, he’s long. He uses great leverage. When he gets into your chest, you’re pretty much screwed. . . . He’s got the complete package for a NFL defensive lineman.”
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