Game Balls, Gassers and Observations: Redskins-Eagles — Offense

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Another negative play by Davis: he stumbled during his release on third-and-3 from the Eagles’ 8-yard line in the fourth quarter. It disrupted the timing of a designed quick throw, and Grossman had to throw the ball away and settle for 3 points.

Davis might be the Redskins’ biggest offensive threat right now. The Eagles seemed to think so, at least. On WR Terrence Austin’s 32-yard catch, which set up QB John Beck’s touchdown run, Coleman ran up to cover Davis when Davis sat down in the zone, leaving Austin’s vertical route open.

TE Chris Cooley’s hand injury gives Davis an opportunity to lock down the No. 1 tight end job going forward. He’ll be judged by his consistency.

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The second-string linemen who were called into action struggled. No gassers for those three, though, because it’s unreasonable to expect them to be sharp without extensively practicing during the week.

LT Sean Locklear wasn’t fast enough to block SLB Moise Fokou on the second level in the third quarter, and Fokou slid inside him to stop RB Ryan Torain for a 2-yard loss. DE Darryl Tapp strung out a fourth-quarter run for no gain by getting his hands into Locklear’s chest before Locklear got his hands up to engage. Locklear played right tackle in Seattle, so it might make sense to move RT Jammal Brown to the left side and play Locklear on the right if LT Trent Williams (high right ankle sprain) is out for an extended period.

C Erik Cook had some leverage problems, especially in the running game. He’s 6-6, which is extremely tall for a center. He must take extra care to stay low and maintain his power. In the preseason and on Sunday, he showed a tendency to bend at the waist or stand too tall. Both are components of lost blocks.

LG Will Montgomery might have lost more blocks Sunday after moving to replace injured LG Kory Lichtensteiger than he did in the first four games combined. He was playing exceptionally well at center, and the need to move him to left guard is a huge blow to the offense.

Montgomery surrendered a sack to DT Mike Patterson when Patterson got his hands inside Montgomery’s and drove him back with a strong punch. As Montgomery staggered back, Patterson beat him with a swim move. Montgomery said Monday that playing guard can be more challenging than center because of the additional space a defensive lineman has to operate. Without a long reach, defensive linemen can get into him a bit more easily. He’ll have a week of practice to adjust.

There was one positive play, in particular, that these three could build upon: On the 15-yard screen to WR Santana Moss in the fourth quarter, they each got out in space and executed their blocks.

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RB Ryan Torain was at a major disadvantage because the Redskins fell behind 20-0 and because injuries prompted three-fifths of the offensive line to be filled by second-stringers. There weren’t enough running lanes against an Eagles defense that prioritized stopping the run.

Still, Torain (22 yards on 10 carries) did not have his best game. LG Will Montgomery and C Erik Cook opened up a quality hole for Torain on a second-quarter counter play, but he didn’t get to it, instead running into Montgomery for a minimal gain. It’s difficult to be sure of what Torain was supposed to do on the play, so care is required in breaking that one down. There also appeared to be some sort of misunderstanding between WR Donté Stallworth and Torain on one pass play. They ran the same type of route and ended up in the same area. Again, I can’t be sure of their intentions without talking to them, but Stallworth’s frustrated reaction after the play indicates something went wrong.

Torain had 26 yards after contact and only 22 yards total. Philadelphia was determined to stop the run and took advantage of the Redskins’ backups. The Eagles also tackled much better than they did in their previous losses. Players swarmed to the ball; there were some plays when six or seven white jerseys were within two steps of the ballcarrier at the whistle.

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