By Danny Cox
The Philadelphia Eagles are now ready for a new season after a tumultuous year in 2012 and an offseason that was filled with confusion, injuries, and new hires. They’re starting the season off with a bang though, and heading into hostile Washington Redskins territory that is led by Robert Griffin III.
Washington started off the 2012 season with a 3-6 record, and it appeared as if the team was headed for a poor season. Then they rattled off seven straight wins and literally ran their way right into the playoffs.
The Redskins led the NFL in rushing last season with close to 170 yards per game. They have RG3 to thank for that, along with an incredible season from Alfred Morris in which he racked up 1,613 yards on the ground. Don’t forget the 13 rushing touchdowns he had to go along with all those yards.
Now, the running game for the Skins may be a little less spectacular this season. Well, it may at least be left in the hands of just the running backs.
Eight months ago, RG3 had surgery to repair damage to the MCL, ACL, and LCL in his right knee. Specialist Dr. James Andrews has expressed concern with how the quarterback is being used in the Washington offense. This all adds up to the young signal-caller slowing things down a bit.
That may not happen as Griffin is determined to be himself and Coach Mike Shanahan has already said that Griffin is “full speed” and ready to go.
Whether he’s dealing with a bum knee or not, the Eagles will have to keep their eyes on Griffin at all times. Not only is he dangerous on the ground, but he’s also unlike the mobile quarterbacks of the past. He can throw the ball very well too, and with plenty of accuracy to a group of wide receivers that do their job very well.
Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan will be starting for Washington, and having Santana Moss as your third receiver is a gift that any NFL team would love to have. Philly is going to have to have their defense running on all cylinders to just keep up with the Redskins’ weapons and the sheer speed that is on the field.
When the Eagles have the ball, there are a number of big-time names that will oppose them that include London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall, and Brian Orakpo.
Fletcher and Orakpo help keep the second line of Washington’s 3-4 defense in complete check, and it is extremely hard for any team to do anything across the middle of the field. If teams decide to go through the air, they’ll have to deal with Pro Bowler Hall and a host of others in the secondary.
The Redskins may be dealing with a problem though if Brandon Meriweather can’t play. As of now, he is listed as “Questionable,” and that will cause a hole that Michael Vick could try to expose.
But with almost countless injuries to the wide receiving corps of the Eagles, they may not even have the weapons to beat upon a weakness from Washington. DeSean Jackson is going to have to step up his game and use his speed to create some distance between himself and the Redskins defenders.
The last time these teams met was in Nov. of last year, and the Redskins decimated the Eagles 31-6 in Nick Foles’ first NFL start. That wasn’t the biggest problem though, as it was RG3 who went almost perfect on the day with 14-of-15 passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns.
If the Eagles aren’t focused, their season opener could turn into another debacle.
For more news and updates, visit Philadelphia Eagles Central
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.