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The Philadelphia Eagles received more good news the day after snapping a four-game losing streak with a 20-13 win over Washington. In his Monday press conference, head coach Andy Reid said defensive end Brandon Graham will most likely return to practice following the Eagle's bye week. Graham is currently on the physically unable to prepare (PUP) list after having microfracture surgery on his right knee this past December. The Eagles have until Week 10 to take him off the list.
"He's worked so hard, and you can't help but be pulling for him," Reid said. "He spent so much time rehabbing and getting out there running around and doing the things that he does coming off tough surgery. We'll see how he does."
Reid also said that offensive tackles King Dunlap and Jason Peters, and defensive end Trent Cole have all made progress with their respective injuries and should benefit from the rest and rehab provided by the bye week. Though Reid would not say for certain, he said it's possible Cole and Peters could begin practicing again after the bye week.
"We'll just see how it goes," Reid said. "They made good strides here. The thing I've done with the players is we met today and went over the tape, and I have them out of here until next Monday. The injured guys will remain up here and continue to rehab. We'll just take it day by day here with those guys and see how they do."
The Philadelphia Eagles stopped the bleeding today when they picked up their second win of the season and the first since the opener. LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick kept the offense going while the defense held the streaking Redskins from coming back in the fourth quarter. The win opens up the NFC East which has seen some change with the Giants picking up their own win over the Buffalo Bills today.
Kurt Coleman is the third player in team history to record three interceptions in a single game. He is the first Eagle since Joe Scarpati on 10/23/66.
Running Back LeSean McCoy scored his eighth touchdown of the season. He also rushed for 126 yards on 28 attempts. It was McCoy's third 100+ yard game of the season and sixth of his career. He has scored a touchdown in every game of this season.
Jeremy Maclin caught 5 passes for 101 yards today. It was his sixth career 100+ yard game.
Tight End Brent Celek scored his first touchdown of the season. He also contributed 42 yards receiving.
The Philadelphia defense picked up two sacks in the game. Defensive Tackle Mike Petterson picked up his first sack of the year and 14th of his career. Defensive End Darryl Tapp had his second sack of the season. The defense also limited the Redskins to 42 total rushing yards and and allowed them to convert on only one third down attempt.
Michael Vick threw for 237 yards and a touchdown while also contributing 54 yards on the ground. He now has 5,000 total rushing yards and is the first quarterback to break the 5k mark in NFL history.
Sitting at 1-4 and facing a must win game against the first place Redskins, the Eagles finally responded, finally protected a fourth quarter lead and finally put in a consistent defensive effort as they defeated the Skins 20-13 at FedEx Field. The win gives the Eagles some good feelings they head into their bye and put them just two games back in the division with three straight home games on the horizon.
The game started with the Eagles looking like the rested and prepared team coming off a bye and the Redskins looking like the beatdown disappointment as the Eagles surged to a 20-3 halftime lead. Kurt Coleman picked off Rex Grossman on the Skins' first possession and the Eagles made them pay when Michael Vick hit Brent Celek for a 7 yard TD thanks to a nifty playcall (video here). LeSean McCoy would all another TD on the ensuing possession as the Eagles ditched the cutesy red zone playcalling and simply lined up in the I formation and ran Shady off tackle. Take a look at the video and enjoy, that's what red zone football should look like folks.
LeSean McCoy has now scored a TD in six straight games, the first Eagle to do so since Ricky Watters in 1995. Steve Van Buren holds the team record with 8 straight games with a TD in 1947.
In all, the Eagles dominated time of possession in the first half 21:38 to 8:22 and outgained the Skins 250 yards to just 75. They led 20-3 at the half, which was the same score of the 49er game that they blew two weeks ago. And as the first half began, it looked like it was going to be yet another nightmare. The Redskins got a big play to start the half and scored 3 points quickly to make it 20-6. Michael Vick was picked off in the red zone thanks to yet another tipped ball on the ensuing drive and suddenly all the mistakes the Eagles didn't make in the first half were back and no one felt good. However, unlike in previous weeks, the defense stood firm and forced a three and out.
The Eagles get the ball back and the unthinkable happens. Michael Vick takes a shot to the head at the end of a run, looks kind of woozy and needs to be pulled from the game. In comes Vince Young for his first action of the season and two plays later he throws a ridiculous pick to give the Redskins the ball inside the red zone. Crisis back on right?
Wrong, Kurt Coleman brought the good feelings back when he picked off Grossman for the second time to end the threat. Coleman and Nate Allen would each pick off Grossman again and Coleman became the 3rd Eagle to post 3+ INTs in a game. The last guy to do it was Joe Scarpati in 1966.
Rex Grossman was pulled from the game and John Beck actually led a scoring drive to close the gap to 20-13, but the Eagles offense protected the ball and fed LeSean McCoy to grind it out for their second win of the season, ending their four game slide.
It certainly wasn't the prettiest win, but at this point any W looks like a million bucks to us. And while there's no doubt we would have liked to see the offense keep up their first half domination, we can't have any complaints about the fantastic defensive effort, easily the best of the season so far. The Eagles D forced four turnovers and held the Redskins to just 42 yards rushing. They made big stops after the offense faltered and generally owned the line of scrimmage. They really did everything they hadn't done in weeks previous.
So it's onto the bye week with an eye toward the Dallas Cowboys coming to town on October 30th.
The Eagles have had their struggles in the end zone this season, many of which have been blamed on some overly cute playcalling. Certainly the Ronnie Brown option play disaster comes to mind as one such overly cute call... So it should warm the hearts of all Eagles fans to see them line up LeSean McCoy in the I formation and simply run him off tackle from the one yard line for a TD. This what football is supposed to look like folks.
LeSean McCoy has now scored a TD in six straight games, the first Eagle to do so since Ricky Watters in 1995. Steve Van Buren holds the team record with 8 straight games with a TD in 1947.
NFL Network previews Eagles Vs Redskins
The Eagles announced their inactives for today’s game against the Redskins. Curtis Marsh, Jarrad Page, Keenan Clayton, Trent Cole, King Dunlap, Jason Peters and Julian Vandevelde are all out.
Darryl Tapp, will start at DE for Trent Cole, Kurt Coleman starts at SS for Jarrad Page, Todd Herremans slides to LT and Winston Justice makes his first start of the season at RT.
The 1-4 Eagles travel down to FedEx Field in Virgina this afternoon at 1pm to face the 1-3 Washington Redskins, currently the leaders in the NFC East. Sam Rosen and Brian Billick will have the TV call locally on Fox 29 and as usual Merrill Reese and Mike Quick have the radio call on 94.1-FM and 610 WIP-AM. You can find the NFL TV map to see if the game is on your neck of the woods here. Despite their fortunes this season, the Eagles have had quite a bit of success at FedEx Field in recent years. They've won 9 of their last 11, including 4 of their last 5 on the road against the Skins.
QB Michael Vick said this week that he thinks it's important that the team feels loose going into what is surely a must win if the Eagles have any hope of getting themselves back in contention for a playoff spot.
"I think being loose is probably the best way to be right now. Vick said. "I think when everyone is tense and uptight, it creates more pressure and we already have enough pressure on ourselves. We just need to go out and focus on playing good, mistake-free football, and trying to come out with a win."
RB LeSean McCoy added that there's no doubt that this is indeed a must win for the Eagles.
"Definitely. I think out of all the games we've had so far, I think this is the biggest game that we'll play. Especially now, since we're 1-4 and going against the division. This is one of the biggest games we'll play."
If things shake out well for the Eagles today, they could amazingly see themselves just a game and a half out in the division by the end of the day. If they beat the Redskins and the Giants lost to the Bills, at worst the Eagles would be a game back in the win column. With Dallas on the road against the Patriots this week as well, the Eagles really are in good position to take advantage. But it all starts with getting a win in Washington.
Philadelphia left tackle King Dunlap's back spasms caused him to miss practice for the second day in a row Friday, leaving him questionable for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. For more on what Dunlap's absence could mean for the Eagles, click here and here. Defensive end Trent Cole (calf) and offensive tackle Jason Peters (hamstring) are also listed as out for Sunday's game.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (tricep) participated fully in Friday's practice after a limited practice Thursday, while defensive end Juqua Parker (ankle) had a limited practice for the second day in a row. Both players are listed as probable, along with safety Nate Allen (knee), wide receiver Jason Avant (hip), offensive tackle Winston Justice (knee), safety Jarrad Page (stinger), wide receiver Steve Smith (knee), defensive end Darryl Tapp (pectoral) and guard Julian Vandervelde (elbow).
The Eagles offensive line situation has been further complicated this week due to the injury to King Dunlap and his uncertain status for Sunday. Dunlap was quite good last week filling in for Jason Peters and basically shut down Shawne Merriman (which isn’t as hard as it used to be but still commendable). However, Dunlap had a flare up of back spasms in practice this week and has been sideline. Andy Reid said this week that Dunlap will play this weekend if the spasms go away, but if not, we’re going to see some shuffling around.
Todd Herremans will slide over from RT to LT and Winston Justice will play for the first time this year at his familiar RT spot. Herremans talked today about the challenges of the move.
“Yeah, I mean, we don’t have too many other options right now, so just making the transition like that, more than anything is, I know the technique, I know the steps I’m supposed to take and everything, it’s just getting my body used to doing them on that side. I kind of got used to being over on the right again, and then the switch up. The main thing is we want to get our five best guys out there possible, whatever arrangement we have, you know, then go out there and win the game.”
One of the biggest challenges is of course the matchup he’ll get. He said that Brian Orapko is a different kind of rusher than Ryan Kerrigan.
“That’s probably one of the changes. You know, [Redskins DE Ryan] Kerrigan is a real good player. He’s more of a power rusher. You watch him, and he’s getting off the ball and trying to get you on your heels and get your weight rolling, and then he just kind of plows into you. Orakpo is a really, really good player. He just has an arrangement of moves that he can give you. He can bull you if he wants, he can rip up field, or he can come underneath.”
Philadelphia left tackle King Dunlap missed practice Thursday with back spasms, which could shove Winston Justice back into the starting lineup. If Dunlap misses Sunday’s game against the Redskins, the Eagles will have to move right tackle Todd Herremans to Dunlap’s spot, with Justice filling in at the vacated right tackle position.
Justice started 13 games in 2010, but did not play in three of the Eagles’ last four contests due to a knee injury that required surgery this past offseason and forced him to miss most of training camp. Now, he’s eager to get a crack at returning to the starting lineup.
“If you’re an active member of this team you have to prepare like you’re going to play,” Justice said. “The goal is to be the best player you can, and you can’t do that if you’re not starting.”
Defensive end Trent Cole (calf) and offensive tackle Jason Peters (hamstring) also did not practice, while defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (tricep) and defensive end Juqua Parker (ankle) had limited participation.
Nearly every Eagle that has stepped in front of a microphone this week has stressed the importance of limiting turnovers. Clearly, it’s a major point of emphasis for the team as they prepare for Sunday’s game against the Redskins. But if the team is worried about not turning the ball over, can they still be aggressive and make plays? Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg addressed that very issue this week.
"Oh, absolutely, you’ve seen it in the past. Taking care of the ball is a conscious mindset in every way. And so, it’s just that simple. And again, I do know this, emphasize it [because] it’s crystal clear [and] typically that part of it gets better. And the aggressiveness part, the natural instinct is to kind of [scale back] and become conservative and that’s the wrong approach, I think, normally."
Mornhinweg stressed that the turnovers haven’t been a result of taking big risks or doing things well out of the ordinary, "If you look at the turnovers, these are not plays where we’re taking big risks."
Certainly, that’s been the case for Michael Vick’s league leading 7 picks. The Washington Post took a look at them and found that it was tough to blame all but maybe one or two on a poor decision he had made.
A day after Eagles head coach Andy Reid denied reports that the team had been looking for a defensive consultant, Philadelphia’s first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said Thursday he’s blocked out all the talk and remains focused on stopping Washington’s potent run game.
"Well, you’re working 19, 20 hours, you’re not watching TV. I have a TV where I watch the tape. I’ll go home tonight to see my kids, then I’ll go to sleep because I have to get back early in the morning, but I haven’t really been paying attention to the TV or radio. I’ve got an iPod, you know, I’ve got some music there I listen to, that my boy likes. I’m focused on one thing, that I have a responsibility to [Head] Coach [Andy] Reid, to [Eagles Owner] Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie, and to the city of Philadelphia."-Juan Castillo, Eagles defensive coordinator.
Keeping the Redskins’ offense at bay will be no small task. Washington comes into Sunday’s game with a 3-1 record, eighth in the NFL with 126.8 rushing yards per game. By contrast, only Indianapolis and St. Louis have allowed more rushing yards per game during the Eagles’ disappointing 1-4 start.
The theme for all Eagles this week, from coaching on down, is clearly about limiting mistakes and preventing turnovers. With the Eagles leading the league in turnovers, it's about time turnovers became an emphasis. Andy Reid more or less called it the #1 issue facing the team, which was a sentiment echoed today by QB Michael Vick.
"We need to just not commit the same mistakes over and over again." Vick said. "I think it’s just guys trying too hard and being to the best they can be at that position. We’re going to try and limit that and just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve been very productive, but at the same time, we’ve beat ourselves. We have to knock that out."
There's been some suggestion that the mistakes have come as a result of the team pressing and that the huge expectations on them this season had maybe dented their confidence. However, he says that despite the team's struggles, they remain upbeat.
"I think we still have a very confident group. We’re going to continue to be that way, and keep working hard and keep fighting to be the best. We need to go out there and play a complete game in all three phases of the game and not turn the ball over, get some turnovers, and make some plays on special teams. We’ll be okay."
Vick is also well aware of what a win this weekend would mean for the team and the fanbase.
"It would be big to win this game this week. We just have to get our minds right and focused to go out and do so. It shouldn’t be any other way with any other train of thought. We go out and play with confidence, and play the game to win. Not to turn the ball over, we want to play the game to win. You focus on going out and trying to play mistake-free football. Sometimes, it’s not that way and things don’t go the way you want them to go. Every play is not going to be a perfect play, but you have to learn to keep pushing it and keep moving forward. Guys just have to take up that mindset."
While much of the concern around the Eagles has centered on their porous defense, Andy Reid's focus today was something equally, if not more harmful to their season so far. Turnovers. At his Wednesday press conference, Reid stressed that turnovers were the major thing killing their chances of winning games. In fact, he's got percentages!
"Let me explain that to you real quick. When you have five turnovers you have a six percent chance of winning a football game. Simple. When you're gaining 500 yards of offense and the other team is not, you've got to take care of business. Now listen, both sides of the ball need to do better, absolutely do better. We've got to take care of little things, everybody's got to do their job a little bit better, we've got to put the players in a better position to make plays. That's what we have to do. We're all in it together doing this thing. Both sides of the ball and special teams. We need to block better on special teams. We've got two good returners, we need to make sure we put those guys in the right position to get their blocks. Simple."
He makes a fair point. No team generating the kind of yardage and points the Eagles are should be 1-4. It's literally unprecedented. However, it was only Monday when Reid was blaming those turnovers on more or less bad luck. In fact, he literally said "I don't see a problem with turnovers."
"I don't know if it's pressing." said Reid "Do they want to win a game? Yeah, absolutely, the players want to win a game. So do the coaches and everybody else. But there's a certain process you go through, and you go through it. I wouldn't say a tipped ball is pressing, I wouldn't say that. I don't see that as a problem with the turnovers, I see other things."
So... which is it?
The Redskins say the Eagles are no typical 1-4 team and are still wary of their offensive threat
Philadelpia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole is expected to miss Week Seven against the Washington Redskins, according to head coach Andy Reid.