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Prediction: Will more Eagles plays equal more turnovers?

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Prediction: Will more Eagles plays equal more turnovers?

Week 1 games are difficult to predict. Without looking it up, I’m sure that I picked the Saints to win comfortably a year ago today as the Redskins went to New Orleans for RG3’s debut. I don’t think I saw them beating the Giants behind Rex Grossman in 2011. Perhaps I called the win over Dallas to open the Mike Shanahan era but even if you give me that one out of three isn’t a great track record.

I have to say that it’s tough to be confident about predicting tonight’s game. For a change, the Redskins are the known quantity, assuming that Dr. Andrews’ repair of RG3’s knee is sound. It’s the opponent, the Eagles, that is the mystery. They have a new coach (Chip Kelly), a new offense (some sort of up tempo spread) and a new defense (a 3-4, even though Kelly won’t call it that).

The Eagles do have many of the same players running Kelly’s new offense—running back LeSean McCoy, receiver DeSean Jackson, and quarterback Michael Vick. While there may be very limited game film of the NFL version of Kelly’s offense there is plenty of tape on these players, especially Vick. He has played in 121 NFL games so there is ample data available to study his tendencies.

And if the best guesses on Kelly’s offense are correct, it calls for Vick to do things that he has not done well during the course of his career. It calls for quick decisions and that isn’t Vick’s strong point. Soon after he was hired Kelly said that he wants his quarterback to release his passes within 1.6 seconds after the snap. He hasn’t talked much about that lately as it took Vick about 3.6 seconds to get his passes off during the preseason.

Kelly’s offense is designed to get off more plays. His logic is that more plays equals more yards. Yes, but with Vick more plays could also equal more turnovers. In the past two years he has started 23 games and he has 24 interceptions and 21 fumbles. More snaps could be the proverbial double-edged sword for Philly.

Will the fast-paced attack work in the NFL? Kelly likes to point to a 2010 game when Oregon had 21 minutes of possession time to 39 for UCLA. The Ducks won 60-13. But that was a bad 4-8 UCLA team. There are no such talent disparities in the NFL.

On the other side of the ball, it looks like the Eagles are having a rough go at transitioning to the 3-4 defense. This is pain the Redskins know well, having one through it in 2010 and at least into 2012. They will take many of the 4-3 players who were members of the 2012 Philly defense, a unit that ranked 29th in points allowed and 23rd against the run, and have them adapt to the new scheme.

It seems to be a safe bet that the Redskins will put up some points. Despite the fact that he was hobbled by a knee injury in their second meeting, Griffin was deadly efficient against the Eagles last year. He completed 77 percent of his passes, averaged 10.2 yards per attempt, and threw six touchdowns to one interception.

But the key could be Alfred Morris. There was no sign during the preseason that the Eagles will be any better against the run. Morris didn’t run wild against them last year (167 yards combined in the two games) but if he gets rolling that will help keep the Eagles’ offense off the field and help the Redskins put up some points?

How many will they score? They averaged 27 a game last year. Let’s give them another TD and go with 35 with two TD’s being the result of takeaways.

And they’ll need to score a lot to keep from sweating this one out. Even though a lot of the time the Eagles’ offense will be a lot of movement and sound and fury that doesn’t accomplish much. They’ll break a long play, maybe more than one. McCoy could have a pretty big day. But many drives will die because Vick, the guy pulling the trigger, will make a mistake to kill it. A few succeed, perhaps one or two because of a big play. It won’t be enough.

Redskins 35, Eagles 21

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Jamison Crowder's touchdown dance was better than his touchdown

Jamison Crowder's touchdown dance was better than his touchdown

Among all the darkness and depression that has followed after the Redskins' 31-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, one bright, shining light has emerged: Jamison Crowder's touchdown celebration.

Late in the third quarter, the second-year wideout was on the receiving end of a 26-yard Kirk Cousins strike, which put his team in the lead on the game's scoreboard by three. However, it's what he did post-catch that put his team in the lead by a far larger margin on the swagboard.

Feast your eyes on this dance, and if you've already seen it, feast your eyes on it again. And again. And AGAIN:

Do you see how much Juju he put on that beat? And did you catch how he gave the ref a little somethin'-somethin' right at the end of the sequence? Calling that flawless would be an insult to Crowder.

Apparently, Jay Gruden was heard screaming at his players in the locker room as they were processing the matchup's result Sunday night. Is it possible he was just loudly complimenting Crowder's moves?

MORE REDSKINS: BARRY, COUSINS BOTH COOL OFF IN OUR REPORT CARD

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Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Here is my report card on various aspects of the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. I didn't cover everything, feel free to hit on what I missed in the comments.

A

Week after week Pierre Garçon just leaves it out on the field. All he does is produce.

It’s getting to the point where you can say the same thing about Jamison Crowder.

B

After he struggled against the Cowboys, Rob Kelley was his normal self against the Cardinals. For Kelley, "normal" means getting a couple of yards more than the play was blocked for and popping off a few runs of 10-plus yards. It looks like Matt Jones will continue to be inactive and Mack Brown will continue to look for his first NFL carry. 

This may be a little high for Jay Gruden but I liked that he got angry after the game. He could be heard ripping into his players through closed doors after the game. If a coach does that after every loss the players will tune him out eventually. This was the right time for Gruden to play that card. His game strategy was OK but I might have gone for a touchdown from the one yard line in the first half instead of having Dustin Hopkins kick his second 20-yard field goal in ad many games. 

C

All hot streaks come to an end at some point and Kirk Cousins' run of putting up elite performance on a weekly basis ended on Sunday. Yes, he was under some degree of pressure on many of his dropbacks but even when he had time he just wasn't sharp. He did have some top-drawer passes like the 59-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson that set up the Redskins' first touchdown. But for every one of those, a couple of other throws missed the mark.

D

If you read much of what I write you probably know that I am much more apt to point the finger at the players for defensive problems than the coaches. But on Sunday the Cardinals were a step ahead of Joe Barry's defensive calls all day long, especially on plays involving David Johnson. Arizona had scored over 30 points just twice this season before Sunday.

The offense was bad on third down situations, converting just five of 11. The defense was worse as the Cardinals moved the chains on 10 of 16. And don’t forget that one other Arizona third-down try in the fourth quarter got them close enough to go for it on fourth down and they just about sealed up the game on David Johnson’s run. Just not a good day on either side.