Semi-Coherent Eagles vs. Redskins Preview: The One Where They Try to Win Before the Bye Week

Robert Griffin III

. Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

During Andy Reid’s coaching tenure, the game immediately preceding the bye week was often a bad one for the Eagles.  Everyone knows about how successful Reid‘s teams were immediately after the bye, but for some reason, they didn’t do nearly as well the week beforehand.  Considering his overall record as coach, it seems a bit strange that Reid was only 6-8 in games before a bye.

Perhaps it can simply be explained by the fact that byes often fall in the first half of the season, and Reid’s teams tended to be better in the second half.  Or maybe it’s just a strange fluke that doesn’t mean anything.  Either way, it’s Kansas City’s problem now.  (Well, not really, as the Chiefs just won their pre-bye game)

This week’s game against the Redskins will be Chip Kelly’s first attempt at a pre-bye win, and it would be a very good thing if he succeeds. With a win, they will have swept the season series from the Redskins, effectively removing them as a threat in the NFC East.  It would also be nice to end that pesky ten-game home losing streak that they’ve got going on.

What’s the Deal with the Redskins?

When these teams met in the opening week of the season, things went well for the Eagles.  The Chip Kelly offense looked like it was set to revolutionize the NFL as the Redskins couldn’t seem to keep pace with the Eagles’ high-tempo offense.  The Eagles’ defense also looked good as Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III looked very shaky coming off of his knee surgery.

Because I never like to pass up an opportunity to say “I told you so,” I’d like to point out that I predicted that Griffin was probably not going to look like his old self in the early going.  Many Redskins fans were in denial.  I heard quotes like, “But look at how well Adrian Peterson came back from a similar injury.”  I countered with, “That’s one guy.  Look at how EVERY OTHER ATHLETE EVER has recovered.  It usually takes players about a year to get back to their old selves (assuming that they ever do).  I said that Redskins fans shouldn’t look at Peterson as a comparable, but rather 2007 Donovan McNabb.

Others claimed that “it didn’t matter if Griffin can’t run well because he was effective as a pocket passer.”  Those people are missing the big picture.  Part of the reason that Griffin succeeded in the pocket was because teams were concerned with him running.  As soon as that threat was removed, teams began to defend him differently.

Mike Shanahan. Image Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Theoretically, Griffin – and as a result, the Redskins offense – should be improving as the season progresses.  And Griffin did throw three touchdowns last week en route to a 27 point outing.  But the kinks don’t appear to be completely worked out, since the Redskins only scored three of those points in the second half and lost the game when a late drive fell short.

The Redskins are now 3-6, and not surprisingly, head coach Mike Shanahan’s seat is starting to get a little bit hot.  This is his fourth season with the Redskins, and spending four years as the Redskins coach is like making it ten years with an NFL team that’s not owned by one of the worst people alive.  It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Shanahan get fired if the Redskins don’t make the playoffs.

Featured Player: London Fletcher

London Fletcher made news this week when he said that the Eagles were likely the best team in a bad division.

Fletcher  has certainly seen a lot of losing football in his time.  After leaving the St. Louis Rams in 2001 (You know, back when they were actually good), he has spent the rest of his NFL career in Buffalo and Washington, two franchises that haven’t exactly been synonymous with winning recently.  (Then again, Takeo Spikes would probably kill someone to experience the level of winning that Fletcher has seen) So Fletcher is certainly an authority on bad football.

The bad football that the Redskins are playing is not Fletcher’s fault.  He’s slowed down a bit after sixteen (Sixteen!) years in the NFL, but most linebackers would strive to reach even his current level of play.

How is it possible that a linebacker who plays like Fletcher has lasted sixteen years and not missed a single game?  Perhaps Fletcher is not human, but rather a robot that was programmed to play good football.  (Not to be confused with Cleatus, the beloved robot mascot of the NFL on Fox)

Key Eagles Storyline

The Eagles are dealing with some injury concerns.  Jason Peters, Earl Wolff, Mychal Kendricks, and Bradley Fletcher are all banged up, and are listed as questionable (at best) for this week’s game.

One of the big stories of last week’s win was how well those players’ backups performed. While it’s impressive for a backup to come in and play well, it can be much tougher for them to sustain that success.  Many times, the reason that these guys are backups is because they aren’t capable of doing it over a full season.

If Allen Barbre, Roc Carmichael, and Najee Goode are forced into duty once again this week, will we be reading stories about the team’s quality depth, or will we be hearing quotes from the coaching staff about how urgent it is that the starters return quickly?

The Foles-o-Meter

Time for my weekly check on how the fans are feeling about Nick Foles.  Last week’s performance wasn’t as good as his seven touchdown outing in Oakland, and it definitely appeared that Foles got lucky on a few of his throws.  On the bright side, in a week where he wasn’t at his best, he still threw three touchdowns and the offense scored 27 points.  That has to say something, right?  For this week, the Foles-o-Meter does not change.

Elsewhere in the NFL

So does everyone want to read more about Richie Incognito?  No?  You’ve gotten just about as much of that story as you can handle?  Okay then.  Moving on…

Chappelle’s Show Skit that Relates to this Week’s Game

Redskins owner Dan Snyder is notorious for his poor ownership.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the man in charge of the Popcopy corporation:


Tweet of Importance

The Week in Andy

After 13 years together, many Eagles fans are feeling some Andy Reid withdrawal.  I’ve decided to help them out by providing a weekly look at what Big Red is up to in Kansas City.

The scene: Andy is in a meeting room talking to offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and quarterback Alex Smith when general manager John Dorsey enters.

Dorsey: Hey, guys.  What’s up?

Reid: Not much.

Dorsey: It was nice of you to give everyone off for the bye week.

Reid: What else were we going to do?  Sit around the stadium and watch film?

Dorsey: Well…yeah.  Maybe?  Isn’t that what most coaches do?

Reid: I used to do that, but then I figured meh.  Why bother?

Pederson: Yeah, bro.  Only losers sit around and watch film.  I bet that’s what you did, right, Dorkey?

Dorsey: Um, no, I –

Image Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson: (Throws an empty beer can at Dorsey) News flash, Dorkey!  Nobody cares!  I’ll tell you how I spent my bye week: Pounding brewskis! (Opens a can of beer)  Hey Smith, want one?

Smith: I really shouldn’t.  It might hurt my preparation.

Pederson: Coach already told you not to worry about that.  We’re not gonna beat Manning.  Might as well get hammered, right, Reidster?

Reid: Right.

Dorsey: But that’s the thing: Peyton Manning is hurt!

Reid: What?  Is he out for the game?

Dorsey: No, he’s expected to play.  But he’s got a bad ankle that might limit him.

Reid: Oh, then never mind.  He’ll still destroy us.  I’d take Manning with only one leg over a completely healthy Alex Smith any day.

Smith: Um, coach, I’m right here.

Pederson: Shut the hell up, Smith and pound some brews with me!

Smith: (Looks at Dorsey who shrugs, and then at Reid) Um, coach?

Reid: Better do what he says.

Final Take and Prediction

At first I thought this was a “kitchen sink” game for the Redskins in which they know it’s an absolute must win and throw everything they’ve got at the Eagles.  If the Skins lose, they’ve essentially been knocked from the playoffs, right?  Then again, I realized that it’s pretty much a must-win for the Eagles too.  If they lose here, it’s hard to see them overtaking the Cowboys for first place.

The Redskins are coming off a Thursday night game, and have had a few extra days to prepare.  In a battle of two teams that probably don’t differ much in talent, that may make a difference.

Redskins 23 – Eagles 21