- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 29, 2009

REDSKINS (3-7) at EAGLES (6-4)

Today, 1 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

TV: Chs. 5, 45

Radio: ESPN 980

KEY MATCHUP

EAGLES PR DeSEAN JACKSON vs. REDSKINS P HUNTER SMITH

Not only is Jackson explosive in the Eagles’ passing game, he also leads the NFL with a 14.9-yard average on punt returns. Last week at Chicago, he had a 53-yard return.

The Redskins are eighth in punt coverage and haven’t allowed a return of more than 29 yards, much less a touchdown. Injuries to H.B. Blades and Mike Sellers and the promotion of Rock Cartwright to starting running back could force special teams coach Danny Smith to reshuffle his personnel, so it’s up to Hunter Smith to neutralize Jackson.

Smith averaged 3.28 seconds of hang time on seven punts against Philadelphia last month, and Jackson had returns of minus-1, 29 and 3 yards. Since returning from a groin injury, Smith has averaged a solid 4.48 seconds of hang time, forcing opponents into five fair catches.

Redskins coach Jim Zorn said opponents have mixed up between punting for direction and hang time, but with Jackson, Smith seems to be inclined toward focusing on hang time.

“With guys that good, it doesn’t matter where the ball is on the field as much as it has good hang time,” Smith said.

THREE KEYS

1. Rock rolling early

Redskins running back Rock Cartwright gets his first start in six years because of injuries to Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. The Redskins’ only legitimate chance is to establish the running game and keep Philadelphia’s offense off the field. Two of the Redskins’ three victories have come when they’ve had more rushes than passes.

2. Preventing the big play

Philadelphia has 13 touchdowns of at least 20 yards, and the Redskins’ defense has allowed eight touchdowns of at least 20 yards. The Eagles stormed to a 27-7 lead in the teams’ first meeting thanks in large part to DeSean Jackson’s 67-yard end-around score and 57-yard TD catch.

3. Rogers’ response

Cornerback Carlos Rogers gets another shot as a starter because of DeAngelo Hall’s knee injury. This represents Rogers’ chance either to show management he’s worth keeping around for the long term or to showcase himself to other teams. He played 20 of 121 snaps the past two games following his benching on the first series against Denver.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

Philadelphia’s defense was dominant in its 27-17 victory over the Redskins last month, posting six sacks and forcing quarterback Jason Campbell to scramble or throw the ball away another four times. The Eagles’ 30 sacks are tied for third in the NFL; they apply pressure in a variety of ways from a variety of players. Trent Cole’s 8.5 sacks are tied for fifth in the league, and 14 players have at least a half-sack. The Redskins counter with yet another offensive line combination and a third starting running back (Rock Cartwright).

Edge: Eagles

WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL

The Eagles thrive on the big play, and the Redskins’ injury situation invites Philadelphia to grind it out with LeSean McCoy or take shots downfield with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The Redskins’ defense allowed 153 rushing yards last week without Albert Haynesworth, and this week the secondary is without DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins have to find a way to pressure Donovan McNabb, and the only possible scenario is trusting Fred Smoot or Carlos Rogers in man-to-man coverage against Maclin (while using a safety up top to double-team Jackson) and sending a linebacker or safety in to blitz. The Eagles have too many playmakers for the Redskins to shut them down completely.

Edge: Eagles

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jackson is the top returner in the game, but the Redskins have the overall advantage because of their consistent coverage units. Philadelphia ranks third in punt coverage (the Redskins don’t do anything on punts anyway) but is tied for 23rd on kickoff coverage, which could provide an opening if Devin Thomas takes over for Cartwright on returns. Thomas started the second half last week with a 38-yard return. The Redskins’ coverage teams rank third (kickoffs) and eighth (punts). Although Shaun Suisham was only 2-for-4 on field goals last week - his first two misses of the year - the Redskins get the slight edge.

Edge: Redskins

EAGLES

STARTERS

Offense

WR10DeSean Jackson

WR18Jeremy Maclin

LT71Jason Peters

LG79Todd Herremans

C67Jamaal Jackson

RG59Nick Cole

RT74Winston Justice

TE87Brent Celek

FB43Leonard Weaver

RB29LeSean McCoy

QB5Donovan McNabb

Defense

DE75Juqua Parker

DT98Mike Patterson

DT97Brodrick Bunkley

DE58Trent Cole

OLB50Will Witherspoon

MLB51Joe Mays

OLB57Chris Gocong

CB22Asante Samuel

CB24Sheldon Brown

FS27Quintin Mikell

SS26Sean Jones

Specialists

K2David Akers

P6Sav Rocca

PR10DeSean Jackson

KR39Quintin Demps

Injuries

Out: LB Akeem Jordan (knee), WR Kevin Curtis (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (concussion).

Questionable: CB Asante Samuel (neck), LB Jeremiah Trotter (knee).

Probable: RB Leonard Weaver (ankle), LT Jason Peters (ankle), DE Victor Abiamiri (knee), G Nick Cole (knee), CB Sheldon Brown (hamstring), S Quintin Demps (ankle), S Macho Harris (eye), RT Winston Justice (knee), WR Jeremy Maclin (foot), DT Mike Patterson (wrist, toe).

REDSKINS

STARTERS

Offense

WR89Santana Moss

WR11Devin Thomas

LT76Levi Jones

LG66Derrick Dockery

C61Casey Rabach

RG50Edwin Williams

RT74Stephon Heyer

TE86Fred Davis

RB31Rock Cartwright

FB45Mike Sellers

QB17Jason Campbell

Defense

DE99Andre Carter

DT96Cornelius Griffin

DT64Kedric Golston

DE93Phillip Daniels

OLB52Rocky McIntosh

MLB59London Fletcher

OLB98Brian Orakpo

CB27Fred Smoot

CB22Carlos Rogers

FS30LaRon Landry

SS37Reed Doughty

Specialists

K6Shaun Suisham

P3Hunter Smith

PR82Antwaan Randle El

KR31Rock Cartwright

KR11Devin Thomas

Injuries

Out: TE Chris Cooley (ankle), RB Clinton Portis (concussion), CB DeAngelo Hall (knee).

Questionable: DT Albert Haynesworth (ankle), LB H.B. Blades (knee), TE Todd Yoder (toe), FB Mike Sellers (hamstring).

Probable: RT Stephon Heyer (knee), OL Mike Williams (ankle).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide