Welcome everyone to your week 6 ExtremeSkins coverage, I'm TSO here in the pressbox with my man Spaceman Spiff (who will be covering the team on the sidelines) ready to provide you the best damn coverage on the planet!
This isn't your one year old baby brother's NFC Least now, is it?
At 3-2, the Redskins find themselves holding third place in the division, looking up at the Eagles and Cowboys. The Cowboys have won 4 straight, starting with their win against the Skins in week 2. The Eagles had won 3 straight, only to fall to Detroit last week after coming off of their bye in a tight game. The Giants started off strong at 2-0, but have lost 3 straight starting with a Skins loss in week 3. Suffice to say, the first month and a half of the regular season has seen a division heavily lauded as the worst in the NFL last year suddenly look like the finest.
Going into the year, the Eagles looked to be rebuilding as they got rid of many players from the Chip Kelly era. They traded Bradford away, the safer bet at QB, and decided to get their rookie QB reps right away. And while many recognized they had a lot of solid pieces on defense, few expected them to play well in all three phases of the game. They've been disciplined, balanced and seemingly well-coached. And while it seemed like they were riding an easy schedule to start the season, they've got a big win against a dominant team in the Steelers showing this might not just be a fluke.
Meanwhile the Skins are winning games they shouldn't be winning. After a terrible start to the season that saw them humiliated against the Steelers and then dropping a game that included too many missed opportunities to the Cowboys, they've reeled off three straight wins to claw their way back into the picture. The wins have come in all shapes and sizes, with the only consistency between them being the resiliency of the team.
Today, they're going to need that.
Many expected a loss in New York, as has been so often the case in recent history. The Skins just don't win there. But, they did.
And while many thought it should be an easy win against the lowly Browns at home, there were equally as many saying it'd be "so Redskins" to lose that game. For almost the entire 2nd and 3rd quarters, it seemed that way, too. You could hear the collective "here we go, again" coming out of Redskin fan's mouths. But, again, they showed their resiliency and came out with the win.
Going against the Ravens in Baltimore? Ahh, forget it! The Skins never win there! They'll run all over our porous defense and they'll be able to stifle our offense with their number one ranked defense. But... yup, the Skins pulled out yet another scrappy win, this time doing it unlike any other game this year; defensively.
So, three straight wins and yet it feels like they're supposed to lose this game. Why? We fans have been so battered we simply expect the worse at this point. When other teams win close games against us, it's because "...that's what winners do, they just find a way". When we do the same, welp, it's just luck. This team has continuously shown us that they're fighters. They won't lay down. Penalties? Missed Opportunities? Injuries? They overcome.
Now, they need to overcome the Eagles.
Offensively, Carson Wentz is playing as well as anyone can expect a rookie QB to play. What's worse, he seems to favor attacking the intermediate middle of the field, which is arguably the area with our greatest deficiency personnel-wise. But that's not all... they're also an excellent rushing offense, which we all know has been our biggest weakness thus far. We're going to need great games from our ILB and Safety corps. In particular; Will Compton, Mason Foster, Blackmon and Ihenacho. With Su'a Cravens out, look for Terrence Garvin to play a significant role. Let's hope we see more of this:
Defensively, the Eagles are playing extremely well under their new coordinator Jim Schwartz. In reality, it all starts up front with the Eagles, specifically right in the middle with their DTs Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan. Their outstanding play has made it easy on everyone else, furthermore, now that Chip Kelly's gone and their defense is playing a normal amount of snaps per game, everyone has benefited.
If our Oline, particularly Long, Sherff and Lauvao can handle Cox and Logan, it'll go a long way in allowing our offense to excel. Matt Jones/Kelley/Thompson and Kirk Cousins having good games will be the key, but our WR corps should have more of a chance to shine now, as well. Losing Reed is big, but the depth at TE has been said to be excellent with Vernon Davis and Niles Paul backing him up, so we'll learn quite a bit regarding just how accurate that claim is today.
The Lions have put out some good stuff on tape to emulate against their defense, so hopefully we see things like this:
Suffice to say, this is a huge game. It's got season-long implications. Though fans should be satisfied with the three game-winning streak, as it's not often Redskin fans have been treated to such delights, the wins have been generally ugly and have allowed the doubts to remain. A win today will give fans something to really celebrate, will put the Redskins right up top of the division with the Cowboys, and everything in their hands moving forward. A loss? Well, this is a Redskin fan blog, I'd rather not discuss that.
Stay tuned here for more updates and exclusive content, only on the ES Coverage Blog!
Announcement of Inactives
The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:
o No. 2 QB Nate Sudfeld
o No. 18 WR Josh Doctson
o No. 35 CB Dashaun Phillips
o No. 36 S Su’a Cravens
o No. 60 OL Vinston Painter
o No. 72 DE Anthony Lanier II
o No. 86 TE Jordan Reed
No. 85 Vernon Davis is expected to start in place of Reed at tight end.
The Eagles declared the following players as inactive:
o No. 16 WR Bryce Treggs
o No. 21 CB Leodis McKelvin
o No. 37 CB C.J. Smith
o No. 51 DE Steven Means
o No. 68 C/G Josh Andrews
o No. 69 G Dillon Gordon
o No. 73 G Isaac Seumalo
BATTLE OF THE TRENCHES
Decided to focus on the trenches since I know most of you will be watching the ball. Here's what I saw:
Oline 1st Half
1st drive for the O. First snap, Logan (or Cox?) does a good job pushing Long back into Cousins forcing incompletion. Second snap, not much push from the Oline on the left side, Eagles stop Thompson for one yard gain. 3rd down, Oline does a great job pass blocking all around, Long getting pushed back a little bit but holds up enough to give Cousins space to complete pass for first down. 2nd snap after that, Nsekhe (we seem to be using him as a 3rd TE initially) does a good job holding the edge at first, but then loses his block, costing Matt Jones only a two yard gain.
2nd drive. Morgan Moses holds on first snap, lost his block either way. Second snap, Oline does a good job pass blocking, Cousins probably could've held onto it longer. 3rd snap, Sherff loses his block against Cox, stopping a Thompson draw play.
3rd drive. Excellent pass protection off of Play Action, big play to DJax. 2nd snap, Lauvao does an excellent job getting to 2nd level and shielding off LBer, 16 yard gain for Matt Jones. Great pass protection all around on ensuing snap, though Long and Lauvao got pushed back a little, TD to Crowder!
4th drive. Eagles Dline does an excellent job moving inside right before the snap and stuffing Matt Jones. Next two plays, Oline does a great job pass blocking in general. Again, a little push on the inside with Lauvao, but still good. Excellent run blocking on the ensuing snap, huge gain for Ryan Kelley. Next snap, Long does a great job getting to the 2nd level, allowing Kelley another good gain. Next snap, Trent Williams with an absolute sick block pulling on the left edge for Thompson to get a big gain. Snap after the next one, Eagles overload and stop the run, not necessarily the Oline's fault, though Long and Lauvao got pushed back. Next snap, Morgan Moses almost pushed back right into Cousins, but he got rid of it quickly for a TD to Vernon Davis!
5th drive. 2nd snap, Lauvao does a great job one on one with Cox, holds his ground. 3rd down, Oline does a great job all around pass blocking. After the loss on the end around that shouldn't have been, Oline does another great job pass blocking, allows Kirk to extend the play for a first to Crowder.
6th Drive. Left side of Trent and Lauvao do a good job run blocking, Matt Jones for a gain of 3. Next snap, another good job on the left side, especially Lauvao, helping Matt Jones to a gain of 22. Ensuing snap, Eagles are able to penetrate this time on the left side, but Kelley does a great job flipping the field and gains 5. Next play after 2 min warning, left side getting pushed back a little now, Thompson does a good job anyway for gain of 5. 3rd down, left side (Trent and Lauvao) both get shoved back into Cousins, who completes to Garcon for big conversion. Ensuing play, Oline does a good job pass blocking, Moses eventually loses his block. Final play of this drive, Oline (left side, once again, including Niles Paul) does a great job sealing the edge, Matt Jones walks in for a TD.
Oline 2nd Half
1st Drive. Long gets pushed back into Matt Jones, 4 yard loss. Ensuing snap, Oline does a good job pass blocking, Trent eventually gives up a pressure but Cousins throws it away. 3rd down, Sherff does a great job riding out his guy, Cousins steps up for big conversion to Garcon. Next play, Long does a great job getting out on screen, but doesn't finish well. Play after that, Long does a great job pulling on a toss to Thompson and holds his block long enough to allow Thompson to get outside. Play after the next snap, Oline does a good job run blocking again, Eagles have no answer except to cheat with LBers., Crowder gets an illegal block in the back. Ensuing play, Fletcher Cox beats Long (I think?) coming off a stunt, gets pressure on Cousins who completes to Garcon. Next snap, Long snaps it high, Sherff pulls and gets no push, ending in a no gainer. Play after the next, Sherff loses on a nice spin move, gives up a pressure, forcing us to settle for FG.
2nd drive. 3rd snap, nice job run blocking on the right side by Long, Sherff and Moses. Ensuing play, Oline does a good job overall pass blocking, but Moses gets slightly beat by the edge rush, still, Cousins gets it off on time for a nice gain to Thompson.
3rd drive. 1st snap, great job all around run blocking from the Oline, especially Long and Lauvao to open a hole for Matt Jones, who gets the first and more. Play after the next, Morgan Moses does an awesome job pulling and getting an edge block to spring Thompson on a toss, showed great speed for a big guy. After a couple penalties, Oline does a great job run blocking but Matt Jones bounces outside unnecessarily. Play after the next snap, Long gives up immediate pressure, Cousins sees it and panics, throws early to Garcon on the outside, incomplete.
4th drive. Left side doesn't get any push, Kelley for only one yard behind Lauvao and Trent. Next play, Sherff and Long pushed back into Cousins, but hold their blocks enough. 3rd down, Cox pushes Long back into Cousins, who escapes the pocket but can't find anyone. Tough three plays at a bad time, 3 and out.
5th and final drive. Oline does a great job on 3rd down opening up a gaping hole for Matt, specifically Sherff and Moses. Way to finish a great game overall!!
Dline 1st Half
1st drive against the D. RJF, Hood and Baker are the starting Dline. Hood at RDE. First snap, sack by Kerrigan and Blackmon! Second and third snaps, Eagles get to the edge too easily, Baker and Hood penetrate but straight up the field and give up gaps, been a problem in our one-gap defense for a long time, they need to recognize when Oline going horizontally. 4th snap right after that, RJF does a great job on the edge, forces RB to lose a yard. Another Kerrigan sack on the next snap! Nice start for the front.
2nd drive. Baker does a great job after play action with immediate pressure, forcing Wentz to throw inaccurately. Next snap, Hood does a great job, as does Kerrigan, beating his man immediately and getting a TFL. 3rd down, Baker and Kerrigan stunting, do a great job getting pressure on Wentz who does well to get the ball off, but incomplete out of bounds.
3rd Drive. Jenkins out there with Hood and RJF. First snap, RJF in the middle, lot of space there for Matthews, but Foster cleans up. Still, a 4 yard gain, Eagles won up front. 2nd snap, better penetration from the front, but they still gain 3 yards. Jenkins with the tackle. Trent Murphy with a terrible neutral zone infraction. Snap right after that, Kerrigan getting a ton of attention, both RG and RT went to block him. Snap after that, 4 yard run from Matthews... but Dline did a good job not getting pushed back. 3rd down, front gets very good pressure all around.
4th drive. Ioannidis in the middle, does a good job, but run goes to the right for 5 yards. After the 2nd snap that went to Matthews for the 1st, Kerrigan talking a lot to the Dline right now during TV timeout. Next snap, bootleg, entire front got fooled. Kerrigan with immediate pressure, another snack on the ensuing snap. Just destroying their RT. 3rd down, Kerrigan stunts to the middle, gets pressure again. We're very exotic in terms of blitzing today, a bit surprising considering Wentz came into the game having some of the best numbers against the blitz in the league.
Dline 2nd Half
1st drive. Baker, Hood and RJF come out to start again. Murphy out there with Kerrigan. 1st snap, RJF up the field quick and forces Sproles to cut, but he gets past LOS anyway for a 7 yard gain. Play after the next one, Kerrigan once again with the quick pressure, but Wentz gets it off for a big gain. Next play, Eagles Oline handles our front and convert a third and short. Next play, Chris Baker does a great job shielding off his block, finding the RB and making a tackle for no gain. 3rd down, they get great pressure on Wentz again who makes an awesome play... but it gets called back for illegal block in the back.
2nd drive. Jenkins, Ioannidis and RJF out there to start. Preston Smith and Trent Murphy outside. Kerrigan getting a breather, hopefully the Eagles don't take advantage as he's been absolutely killing it. 1st snap, Dline does a decent job not getting pushed back, but no penetration either allowing a 5 yard gain. Next snap, Ioannidis gets double teamed and destroyed, Matthews gets the 1st. Next play, Ioannidis takes a bad angle to rush, gets washed out of the play easy. Not good back to back from Iaonnidis, who's had a good game thus far. Ensuing play, no one gets pressure, Wentz goes deep for huge play on 3rd and 20 to Matthews. Play after the next, Hood does a great job reading Wentz and deflecting the pass.
3rd drive. Only two linemen, Jenkins and RJF out there. And, of course, 22 yard gain for Matthews. Ensuing play, they do a great job and make me eat my words . Especially RJF, forcing Matthews back inside and Jenkins also generating a holding call. Next two plays, they're getting pressure but Wentz finding guys in the middle of defense. Next play, Dline does a good job penetrating but Sproles makes it to the edge for another first down. Ensuing play, not a good pass rush from Hood, Baker, Kerrigan and Smith, but Ertz drops the pass. Eagles settle for FG.
4th drive. On 3rd play, Murphy does an awesome job spinning and getting to Wentz, forcing an inaccurate pass. Next play, Hood and Kerrigan do a good job winning their matchups and stopping the run. Huge 3rd down, Baker does a great job and gets quick pressure, but Wentz makes him miss and hits Matthews for a huge conversion. Next play, RJF gets held so embarrassingly bad and STILL sacks Wentz. Huge play, but what the refs? No call!?
Big 3rd down and 15. My man Preston Smith with the initial pressure and sack off an inside stunt! Murphy with the assist! Love to see our two young'ns finish the game that way!
Post game Audio
Photos (by Spaceman Spiff)