The more I hear about the Washington Redskins and examine their season thus far, the more I get worried about Monday night's game. This, of course, is fueled by last Sunday's totally improbable loss to the Oakland Raiders, a futile team in seemingly total disarray. The Redskins have some similarities, but have also played close games every week, albeit against some bad teams.
The Redskins take a 2-4 record into the game, having eked out wins against the Rams and Bucs at home. They lost their other home game against the Chiefs, as well as their three road games. Except for the Giants, all their opponents have losing records and are a combined 1-23 against the rest of the league.
Despite playing such a soft schedule, the most points they have scored is 17. Averaging a meager 13 points per game, only a handful of teams have performed worse. In an unprecedented move, the team announced yesterday that they are going to have a consultant in the press box take over the play calling duties from their current coach.
Perhaps they preferred torturing Jim Zorn rather than simply cutting him loose? Sounds a little dysfunctional, somewhat like the Oakland Raiders. At least detectives and law enforcement officers are not involved, but it is not your typical, sure fire way to jump start an NFL offense. Zorn did say that he gets a chance to walk around and listen in to the play calls.
Are you getting scared, yet? Similar to last week, all conventional reasoning and odds would seem to favor the Eagles this week. A team in turmoil, with a futile offense taking on another team that is supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately, things did not work out as most everyone would have expected against the Raiders. Could the Eagles experience deja vu?
Here is the argument that the Birds could be similarly challenged this week:
- The Redskins are 2-1 at home and the game is in Washington.
- It is a Monday night football game, which provides extra motivation as players know their peers are likely looking in.
- The Redskins swept them last season, including a 10-3 win in Week 16 when the Eagles needed a victory to control their playoff destiny.
- Washington has been in every game this season.
- The Eagles offensive line is hurting and surrendered 6 sacks last week.
- The Redskins have a strong pass defense and have a defensive line that can put pressure on the QB.
- Donovan McNabb and his offense were out of synch all day, partially due to the line as well as the play calling.
- The Redskins are ranked 5th in the NFL in points allowed, so they are capable of making things difficult for the Birds again this week.
- The Eagles have a hole at middle linebacker after losing their starter and back-up for the season. The Raiders were able to exploit Jeremiah Trotter's lack of speed last week and just acquired Will Witherspoon will still be learning his abc's.
- Although they have not scored many points, the Skins do have some playmakers in Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and Chris Cooley.
You can see, despite outward appearances to the contrary, there is ample reason for Eagles fans to be concerned about Monday's game. This is especially true if the Eagles themselves take the game too lightly and do not properly prepare. The team would be wise to ignore the Redskins record and all the stuff about their new "offensive play caller in the press box consultant." Instead, they should remind themselves that this opponent swept them last season, and that they could only muster 3 points in a "must win" game at the end of December.