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Will Eagles' fast-paced offense wear down their D?

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Will Eagles' fast-paced offense wear down their D?

Chip Kelly said that he isn’t worried about the fast pace of his new Eagles’ offense to wear down his defense.

“It’s always about plays run, depending on how man plays the other team can run and our defense [faces],” he said on a conference all with reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ve run into these issues. I don’t know the exact count in the last game but in our other three preseason game we ran more plays than the other teams we’ve played so our defense was on the field less than our offense.”

If Chip is going to talk numbers to make his case perhaps he should be more familiar with them.

In their four preseason games, the Eagles ran 297 plays while their opponents ran 288. That’s a difference of about two plays per game. But the Eagles’ defense was not on the field less than their offense was.

Philly averaged 27:39 in time of possession, meaning their offense was on the field that long every game. The other team possessed the ball an average of 32:22 so the Eagles defense was on the field five minutes longer than the Philly offense was per game.

Even if you look game by game, what Kelly said doesn’t make any sense. In their first preseason game the Patriots ran six more plays than the Eagles and held the ball about two minutes longer. In the second game against the Panthers the Eagles had a big advantage in terms of plays run, 69-58, and a TOP advantage of a minute and a half. The next week it was the Jaguars with three more plays and about three more minutes of possession. In the preseason finale, the game Kelly couldn’t remember, the Jets ran 85 plays to 72 for Philly and New York had a possession time of over 15 minutes.

So, in three of the Eagles’ four preseason games the other team both ran more plays and held the ball longer. That doesn’t exactly fit Kelly’s narrative.

Certainly there are all kinds of caveats here since it was preseason and the first team played about four of the 16 quarters. Things may well play out differently when the season starts. But that is what we have to go on and Kelly brought it up. And, so far, his theory for keeping his defense rested isn’t working.

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Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

An undeniable talent, Reuben Foster seemed for months to be a lock for the Top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Alabama star is a sure tackler, playmaking force and winner of the 2016 Dick Butkus Award as the nation's best college linebacker.

The actual football season went great for Foster, he logged 115 tackles and was named the SEC Championship Game MVP. Since play on the field stopped, things have stalled. Foster had an unfortunate incident at the NFL Combine, where he was sent home after an altercation with a hospital worker. In the time since, it's come out Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample and will enter the NFL in the substance abuse program. 

Still, despite a tough two months, Foster's talent is too rich to pass up for some NFL teams. And per NFL Network's Lance Zierlein, the Redskins could be that team

In his mock draft released Wednesday, Zierlein predicts Foster's draft day slide to end with Washington at the 17th pick. From NFL.com:

Foster could fall due to off-field concerns and worries about injuries, but he fits a need for the Redskins, bringing a tough playmaker into the fold.

Beyond the diluted sample and the combine altercation, Foster also has had stinger issues throughout his career at 'Bama. He has elite speed at the linebacker position and the type of athleticism defensive coordinators dream about, though some pro scouts question if he can handle the calls of a Mike linebacker in the NFL game.

The Redskins are not desperate for interior linebacker help, this season. The team added Zach Brown in free agency, re-signed 2016 defensive captain Will Compton earlier this week and Mason Foster remains under contract. All three players, however, are headed to free agency in 2018. Adding Foster would provide depth this year and a potential star in the future.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

We’re a day away from the start of the NFL draft and all the questions surrounding the Redskins’ intentions will start to get answered when they go on the clock at about 10 p.m. on Thursday.

[More Redskins: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Speaking at the team’s annual pre-draft news conference, Scott Campbell, the team’s director of college scouting, stuck with the company line when he was asked about making picks based on team needs.

“I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said. “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.”

It would be a big “bonus” for the Redskins if a defensive lineman who can rush the passer and stuff the run was the best player on the board when their first-round pick comes up at No. 17. But it doesn’t look like the board will play out that way. That’s OK because the Redskins have plenty of needs.

In fact, it’s not hard to do a mock draft for the Redskins because they have needs at virtually every position. Certainly, some needs are more urgent than others. But once you get past the first couple of rounds there is enough doubt at each position, whether it’s immediate depth or possible free agency holes in 2018, to get that need “bonus” with every pick.

Campbell said that this is a strong defensive draft and this is reflected in these mock selections, with six of the 10 picks going to defense including the top two. The first offensive pick may surprise some but the talent was just too good at that point in the draft.

Go here to see the full seven-round mock draft.

Your comments are welcome, as always. Make them here in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and Facebook.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.