“Spock…there’s something…out there…on the wing…” In the Eagles’ current case, it’s not necessarily a wide receiver.
It might be tight ends Zach Ertz and Josh Perkins, or running backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
We’re down to two healthy players – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward – at WR. Nelson Agholor is still very questionable with a bruised knee. Alshon Jeffery is gone for the season with what I’ve heard described as an ankle-foot ligament tear (not exactly an Achilles tendon tear, but close).
That leaves us with 3 practice squad receivers as backups— Robert Davis, a sixth-round draft pick by Washington in 2017 who has appeared in four NFL games, including three this season with Washington (one reception); Marcus Green, a sixth-round draft pick by Atlanta this year who has been on the Eagles’ practice squad since September; and Marken Michel, who played for two seasons in the CFL, was signed by the Eagles to a futures contract in January, waived when the roster was cut to 53 players, and added to the practice squad last week.
The Great JB99 says we should bring up Davis, especially since our next opponent is his former team, but also because JB99 rates him as a better receiver than Green or Michel.
Whomever they call up, it appears the team wants to stay in-house and wing it through the current shortage of receivers. It’s not an ideal situation to say the least, but it could have a galvanizing effect on the team’s psyche heading into the Redskins game. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
We’ll be back to update with a preview look at the upcoming game.
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REDSKINS WILL GIVE EAGLES ALL THEY CAN HANDLE
With their 20-15 defeat in Green Bay last weekend, the Redskins were officially eliminated from playoff contention. But with three games to play, coaches and players maintain there’s still plenty to play for.
“I want to see us compete in the divisional games,” interim head coach Bill Callahan said Wednesday. “We’re 0-7 in our last divisional games, and that hits hard. We’re 0-5 against Philly in the last five games. So I’d like to see a competitive effort against the division. This is a chance to kind of redeem ourselves in a lot of ways and really set the tone for next season.”
In Week 4 against the Giants, their offense failed to show up at all. Rookie QB Dwane Haskins made his NFL debut that day, replacing the struggling Case Keenum in the second quarter, but he too was ineffective in the 24-3 result.
A lot has changed since then, however. When the Redskins and Eagles meet up Sunday, Haskins will be making his sixth-career start. There’s also a new head coach (Callahan) and a new play-caller (offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell). Under their guidance, the Redskins have become a run-dominant team behind Adrian Peterson while relying on a trio of rookie wide receivers: Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims Jr.
“I feel way more comfortable, but I know it’s a long, long road ahead for me to where I feel like I can be in the future,” Haskins said after the Packers game. “I’m excited for the last three games against the NFC East and to play at home for the next two weeks. Hoping we can get a couple more wins and finish off strong.”
Defensively, the team has also made strides. Its allowing fewer than 20 points per game over their last three contests and has totaled 17 sacks, which is among the most in the league during that stretch. That’s helped the Redskins secure wins in two of the past three weeks, with their only defeat coming by five points on the road against the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers.
Perhaps the biggest motivator for Washington is the playoff implications of these late-December games. The Cowboys and Eagles are tied atop the division at 6-7, and the Redskins get to play both teams over the final three weeks.
So, while the burgundy and gold will be watching the postseason this year, at least they’ll have a say as to who will be joining them.
“Let’s take somebody home with us,” Ereck Flowers said.
At least the Eagles won’t have to deal with two of the Redskins’ best players.
Redskins running back Derrius Guice has been placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season just four games after returning from a torn meniscus.
Guice, who had rushed for 227 yards in the four games since his return, was injured on a 23-yard run in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Bill Callahan initially ruled him out only against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend, but Guice’s MRI results were enough to convince the organization to shut him down for the rest of the season.
“I know what he’s been through, and that’s the last thing he needs,” Adrian Peterson said after the Packers game. “I told him to take the positive side of things. It could have been worse.”
The injury is a heavy blow to a Redskins team that is trying to end the season on a positive note. After starting with a 1-9 record, they won two out of their last three games, with Guice’s workload increasing each week.
The injury is especially frustrating because Guice was starting to show signs that he was every bit of the back the Redskins expected him to be when they drafted him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Guice was averaging 7.1 yards per rush and had three total touchdowns.
Also, linebacker/pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan (calf) will miss his second game in the past three weeks.
Match-ups to watch:
- S Landon Collins vs. TE Zach Ertz — With so many injuries at the wide receiver position, Carson Wentz will likely have to rely heavily on his tight ends Sunday. Pro Bowler Zach Ertz is a great option and is coming off a nine-reception, 91-yard, two-touchdown game in a 21-17 Eagles win over the Giants on Monday night. Redskins safety Landon Collins, who expects to match up with Ertz at times, will look to limit his production.
- Redskins wide receivers vs. Eagles secondary — Washington’s young receiving corps has an opportunity to exploit an Eagles secondary that’s been victim to the big play several times over the past few weeks. Notably, Terry McLaurin scored a 69-yard touchdown when the teams met in the regular season opener.
- Redskins defensive line vs. Eagles offensive line — The Redskins defense, led by lineman Matt Ioannidis, has had nine straight games with at least two sacks. Facing off against a mobile quarterback in Wentz, applying pressure and setting the edge will be an area to watch Sunday.
- P Tress Way vs. P Cameron Johnston — Neither team wants to use its punters often. But when needed, they’re in good hands. Both Johnston and Way are top 10 in the NFL in net average per punt, often flipping field position for their respective defenses.
I sincerely doubt the Eagles will under-estimate the Redskins. The tone of this game will be set early with physical statements from both sides. The key will be to play under control and avoid dumb mistakes. Set the edge and maintain it on defense. It’s gonna be old-fashioned grind and pound for every yard from both offenses, until someone blinks. Force Haskins to have to deal from lousy field position as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be pretty— just effective.