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Game Preview: Eagles at Redskins


Game Preview: Eagles at Redskins

What: Eagles (3-6) vs. Redskins (3-6)

Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Fox WTTG-5

Redskins Kickoff and Postgame Live: Comcast SportsNet noon and 4. 

Mike Shanahan called the Redskins’ last game a ‘must-win.’

In reality, though, this week’s contest against the Eagles is far more important to his team’s faint playoff hopes.

At 3-6, the Redskins still have a puncher’s chance of rallying down the stretch and making the postseason for the first time since 2007. But such a scenario likely would require  "winning out," as nose tackle Barry Cofield put it. Or, at the very least, winning six of the season’s final seven games.

Either way, that run must begin at home against a Eagles’ team that hasn’t won a game since September and will have a rookie backup quarterback, Nick Foles, making his first career start in the place of Michael Vick (concussion).

Historically, the Redskins have failed to beat rookie signal callers. In fact, they’ve lost eight straight games, a drought stretching back Vince Young in 2006. (Their last win against a rookie was over Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Rams in 2005, according to STATS Inc.)

From an Xs and Os standpoint, the key to preventing ninth consecutive letdown figures to be effectively disguising alignments and confusing the 23-year-old. But Cofield chose to keep it simple when asked about the challenges of facing a young quarterback for the first time.

“Complacency is probably the No. 1 issue,” the recently-elected defensive captain said. “You go against a guy who you think is going to be at a lower level. Then you go out and not play your best ball, and they look like a Pro Bowler.”  

Foles “can make all the throws,” according to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, and he’ll be facing the NFL’s third worst pass defense. He'll also have plenty of weapons at his disposal, including standout wide receivers DeSean Jackson (16.3 yards per catch) and Jeremy Maclin (team-high four touchdowns) as well as tight end Brent Celek (8 receptions of 20 or more yards). And don't forget running back LeSean McCoy, who ranks 11th in the league with 705 yards and has the third most runs over 20 yards (7). Given the Redskins’ susceptibility to big plays, keeping McCoy from breaking off large chunks of yardage will be critical.

It’s probably too much to ask the Redskins’ reeling defense to shut down both the run and pass. But if they can contain one, they should have a chance. 

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris must get the Redskins’ previously potent offense going again. The team averaged more than 26 points per game through the season’s first seven games, but has tallied a meager 12 and 13, respectively, in the past two.

Whether it’s a lack of complementary playmakers, opposing defenses catching up to Shanahan’s innovative offense, penalties and other mental miscues, or some combination of the three, they’re going to need more than a single touchdown to beat the Eagles and breathe life back into their staggering season.

“The rest of the NFL definitely helped us out by having teams in our division lose,” Griffin said. “I don’t think [the playoffs are] an unrealistic goal. But for us, the biggest thing is you don’t look into the future because you have to take care of what’s in front of you.”

Here are three other areas the team at csnwashington.com will be monitoring:

1-Will wide receiver Pierre Garçon play? He’s missed four straight games with a plantar plate tear in his right foot, but he’s practiced this week like a player who wants to suit up.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan also hinted that the team is okay with their No. 1 wide receiver playing at less than 100-percent, saying, “We would definitely rather have him out there than not have him at all. We think he can help regardless of what [percent] he is.”

2-How about safety Brandon Meriweather? He reported soreness in his twice-sprained left knee earlier this week and has been limited in practice. But the veteran has been working with the first team and, barring a setback, is expected to make his season debut.

“He can do a lot of different things,” Haslett said. “He’s an ex-corner, so he can cover. He’s got good rush ability. There’s a lot things you can take advantage of – if he’s healthy.”

3-The Redskins’ margin for error on any give Sunday is slim enough without self-inflicted wounds. Against the Steelers, receivers dropped 10 passes. Against the Panthers, they were whistled for a season-high 13 penalties. Entering the Philadelphia game, the Redskins are tied with the Cowboys for most penalties per game (8.3), according to www.teamrankings.com. 

Will having last week off result in a physically fresher, mentally sharper Redskins’ team? Is this is a bad time to mention they’re 0-4 coming off the bye since 2007?

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.


The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.