- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Philadelphia Eagles are reeling as they prepare to visit FedEx Field on Sunday, scrambling to save their season after a 1-4 start.

“The only people who knew that this thing wasn’t going to be a perfect, well-oiled machine overnight are the people that are here,” said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the the offseason’s most coveted free agents. “The criticism is going to come from the people who think that all you have to do is snap a finger, and this thing is a perfect winning deal, and that’s not the way it is.

“The only people who know what we’re going through are the people who have been here. There’s growth to this process. We’re 1-4. By the end of the season, our goal is to be 12-4.”

In contrast to Asomugha’s candor, Eagles coach Andy Reid offered only short, evasive answers Wednesday regarding Sunday’s game.

“We just try to get better,” Reid said. “You can’t worry about things. You just have to move on.”

Tackling has been a large part of the Eagles’ problem so far, shining the spotlight even brighter on Reid’s controversial decision to move 13-year offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator during the offseason. Reid on Wednesday denied a report that the Eagles had considered bringing in a consultant to assist the defense, while Asomugha went on a rant when asked about the team’s tackling problems.

“We’ve all missed tackles, I’ve probably missed two, but coming from the experts, it can sound like you’ve missed 100,” Asomugha said. “The thing is, we’ve got to run to the football. No, you don’t have to teach how to tackle, yes we know how to tackle, we’re football players, we’ve been doing it our entire lives.

“When you run to the football, you get guys down. Every single team in the National Football League missed tackles, and there are missed tackles on the majority of plays in the game. The thing about it is, when everybody is getting to the football, those missed tackles aren’t as blown up as when it’s one guy, and not everybody else is around it.”

Barnes expects to keep job

Cornerback Kevin Barnes does not expect his role to immediately change now that Phillip Buchanon has returned from his four-game suspension.

“I’m still the nickel,” he said.

During the first four games, Barnes played in the slot against formations with more than two receivers. He intercepted a long pass against Dallas. He also has been an active blitzer from the slot, pressuring the quarterback three times according to Redskins coaches.

“I did what the coaches asked me to do and made a few plays here and there,” Barnes said. “I think I staked my claim that I should be playing.”

Last season in multi-receiver sets, No. 2 cornerback Carlos Rogers shifted to the slot, and Buchanon took Rogers’ place on the outside. Current No. 2 cornerback Josh Wilson has experience playing the slot. So does Buchanon, who played it at the University of Miami and early in his NFL career.

“If my number is called and I’m suited up [on Sunday], I’ll be ready to play,” Buchanon said.

Extra points

• The Redskins have been careful this week to look beyond the Eagles’ 1-4 record and to praise the talents of Philadelphia’s explosive playmakers. Mike Shanahan was no different when speaking about running back LeSean McCoy.

“Very seldom will I ever say that a guy like McCoy is probably the best back in the league. You can argue if it’s [Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian] Peterson or it’s him,” he said. “I know one thing: Any time they touch the ball, they’ve got a chance to go the distance. Not too many people can do that.”

• Shanahan earlier this season said the team’s indoor practice facility was scheduled to be completed by Nov. 1. Given that construction still appears to be in the early phases, though, that deadline might not be met.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much rain in a three-week, four-week time period in my life, even if you’re in Seattle,” Shanahan said. “And I know one thing about construction: You cannot lay a foundation if it’s raining outside. So there’s nothing we can do about it.”

• Receiver Anthony Armstrong (hamstring), tight end Chris Cooley (knee), running back Tim Hightower (left shoulder) and cornerback Phillip Buchanon (neck) were limited in practice. Fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) fully participated.

Rich Campbell contributed to this report.

• Carla Peay can be reached at cpeay@washingtontimes.com.

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