Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackThe Eagles should be one of the most interesting teams in the league under first-year head coach Chip Kelly and his rapid-fire attack. If Michael Vick can execute the offense effectively, the Eagles could be one of the most surprising teams in the league. Vick still has excellent athleticism and a powerful arm, but he struggled to read coverages last year and turnovers are an issue.The good news for the Redskins is that Robert Griffin III is healthy again and back in the lineup. The hope is that his knee is fully recovered and he will not be at risk to additional injury. Griffin is a remarkable athlete, has an accurate arm and the ability to find the holes in the defense. If he can stay healthy for a full season he has a chance to compete for the Pro Bowl and lead Washington to the playoffs.
- OffenseThe Eagles had many problems last year, but the biggest was the inability to protect Vick and block for the running game. The Eagles must improve in that area if they are going to take advantage of their skill-position player. Running back LeSean McCoy is a dangerous runner and receiver while DeSean Jackson is a gamebreaking wide receiver.There was a lot more to the Redskins’ offense last year than RGIII. Running back Alfred Morris appeared to be just another running back because he didn’t have explosive speed or great moves. However, he was a dominant football player who ran for 1,613 yards. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon is not a superstar, but he will sell out to make every catch he can and so will fellow wideout Leonard Hankerson.
- DefenseThe Eagles have not been one of the dominant defenses in the league for many years and that’s not likely to change in 2013. DeMeco Ryans is one of the Eagles best players and he is coming off a 113-tackle season. The Eagles are hoping that Trent Cole can give them a consistent pass rush.The Redskins played with great effort on defense last year, but that did not translate into building an effective pass defense. Washington ranked 30th against the pass and that’s got to improve if they are going to have any hope of winning the division. Linebacker London Fletcher is a tackling machine who led the team with 139 tackles last year.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles were inconsistent in their kickoff and punt coverage last year and they must find a way to be more effective in that area. Alex Henery has a big leg as a placekicker but he will miss some chip-shot kicks. New punter Donnie Jones gets excellent distance, but he will outkick his coverage from time to time.The Redskins are a hard working team and they did a good job in both punt and kickoff coverage. Sav Rocca averaged 43.9 yards per punt and placekicker Kai Forbath made 17-of-18 FG attempts after getting the job in Week Six.
The Eagles are one of the great unknown teams this year because Kelly’s offense has a chance to turn that franchise around. However, it’s going to take time and the Redskins should have a big advantage in the opening game of the season. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor