If there is one player the Redskins’ defense has to worry about on Monday night it’s Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Since he came into the league in 2008, Jackson has been a thorn in the Redskins’ side. He has four touchdowns from scrimmage that covered more than 50 yards. Two of them were on passes from Michael Vick, one on a Donovan McNabb. The other one came on a 67-yard run on an end around.
Jackson also returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown against the Redskins as a rookie in 2008.
Last year the Redskins bottled him up pretty well in the first meeting between the teams with Jackson catching two passes for a grand total of five yards. But quarterback Nick Foles was making his NFL debut in that game so that certainly was a factor. Jackson was on injured reserve for the rematch in December.
The Redskins’ secondary may not be much better on Monday night than it was last year when the Redskins had the 30th-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Rookie Bacarri Rambo is starting at free safety for the Redskins and it will be a challenge for him to be the last line of defense against Jackson.
The pass rush could help. Last year the Redskins racked up nine sacks against Philly (out of their season total of 32) and they didn’t have Brian Orakpo for either game. Then again, the Eagles had Foles, not the more mobile Vick, at QB, they didn’t have left tackle Jason Peters in the lineup at all last year and they added right tackle Lane Johnson with the fourth pick in the draft. Both the rushers and the blockers should be better.
Given that the Redskins should be able to put up some points against a suspect Philly defense, one long touchdown to Jackson probably won’t damage them that much. But if Vick and Jackson connect on multiple long passes the Redskins could be in trouble.