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Redskins vs. Eagles - Keys to the Game

What will the Redskins need to do to be successful against the Eagles Monday night?

Rob Carr

It's pretty obvious what it will take for the Redskins to beat the Eagles on Monday night - A healthy Robert Griffin III. Aside from the obvious, there are many other parts that will be deciding factors in Monday nights game.

Generating a pass rush: With a few key members of our secondary being rookies, it will be very important to put those players into a position to be successful early. This all starts with a consistent pass rush up front. Jim Haslett is know for some pretty creative fronts and blitz packages, and we saw some of what might be this preseason, with Orakpo, Kerrigan, Tapp, Jenkins and Cofield all on the field together. This personell package could be one to watch against an aggressive Eagles offense. It will be equally important to generate pressure from our traditional 3-4 look, with Cofield, Bowen and Baker collapsing the pocket, and Orakpo and Kerrigan closing the ends. If the Redskins can be successful in this area of the game, it will make things much easier on the defensive backs, and will allow them to do what they do best - create turnovers.

Create turnovers: This is obviously tied into having a good pass rush, but the team who wins the turnover battle usually leaves with a victory. The Redskins did a great job winning the turnover battle last season on their way to a 10-6 record, and this should be a top priority against the Eagles, and turnover-prone Michael Vick. Vick turned the ball over 21 times last season in 10 starts, so look for the Redskins to tackle the football when/if he runs, and sit on some in and out breaking routes in the passing game.

Establish a solid rushing attack: This sounds pretty generic, but it may hold the most water for this Redskins team. Everything we do offensively is built around the run. Our play-action passing game will not be successful without the threat of the run. Most importantly, a solid running game takes pressure off RG3. Although Griffin can be an intregal part of the rushing attack, most Redskins fans will be happy to see Morris and Helu shoulder the load.

Protect Griffin: This one goes without saying, but the importance is paramount. We have one of the most dynamic young quarterbacks in the NFL who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery, and giving him a clean pocket to operate out of is a must. The only position that scares me is right tackle, where Tyler Ploumbus has regularly struggled against quality pass rushers. If we need to, Shanahan must be willing to help Polumbus by either leaving a tight end to his side, or having a running back chip. Either way, it will dictate every aspect of our passing game(and our quarterbacks health)to keep Griffin clean against Philadelphia.

Produce big plays on offense: There is nothing that deflates a defense more than giving up the big play. Philadelphia has the ability to be a very quick-strike offense, but so do the Redskins. We have playmakers on this team who are capable of taking it to the house whenever they touch the football. Morris is consistent, and will gain you the tough yards, but guys like Garcon, Robinson, Helu and even Fred Davis will be counted on to produce mismatches, and gains large chunks of yards at a time. Wearing this suspect Eagles defense down by controlling the time of possession will be huge, but showing the ability to score from anywhere on the football field is what separates the good from the great.

Shut down McCoy: LeSean McCoy is the one player who really scares me on this Eagles team. Either on the read option, out of the pro set, or as a receiver out of the backfield, McCoy has the ability to generate big plays anytime he touches the football. The Redskins would be smart to have a linebacker or safety spy the dangerous running back whenever he is in the football game.

Take away backside passing combos: Chip Kelly's offense has been predicated on backside play passing combos. He loves to run bubble and black screens away from the strength, and loves to overload the frontside, and get a favorable one-on-one matchup backside. The Redskins defense must be able to play tough, discipline coverage with their backside defensive backs, and take away a portion of Kelly's wheelhouse.