The one positive to take away from the Eagles offense this past Sunday against Arizona was the play of quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford hung in the pocket and took some big shots, but delivered the ball with accuracy. While he turned the ball over three times it could have been twice that with the lackluster play of his surrounding cast. Left tackle Jason Peters was beat by Markus Golden leading to a blindside strip sack of Bradford. The pick six to Deone Buchanon is all I’ll really fault him for in this ugly loss. Bradford finished with 361 yards and two touchdowns on the evening. Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz had nice games as well and that’s pretty much where the positivity ends. The offense line was awful as the running game never got cranked up and as I mentioned Bradford was under constant pressure all night. At this point in the season there’s really not much you can do but hope the line play suddenly improves. This is the group you have and there’s nobody else on the bench who’s going to come in and make any difference. The running back committee continues to be a saga as Demarco Murray only saw the field for 8 snaps. Ryan Mathews was the lead dog and Darren Sproles saw his usual role as well. To be honest I don’t believe it would have mattered who was the running back because the offensive line was creating no running room. In a key division battle this week against Washington the Eagles will be facing the 25th ranked defense in the Skins. Washington wins the NFC East if they defeat the Eagles so the implications run deep.
Player to Watch: Matt Tobin
Tobin is the worst starter on this team and it shows week to week. Barrett Brooks commented on the postgame radio show for 97.5 Fanatic that Tobin doesn’t even belong in the league. I think he’s pretty spot on and knows what he’s saying as a former linemen in this league. I’m not saying Tobin has to become a world beater all of a sudden, but for the Eagles ground game to be successful he needs to hold his own more times than not. The ineffectiveness of Tobin means the offense can’t run to the right side behind tackle Lane Johnson as well if Tobin is struggling to block his assigned defender. It’s apparent the loss of previous starting right guard Andrew Gardner has loomed larger than most of us previously had thought. Jason Hatcher, Ricky Jean Francois, and Pot Roast Knighton are three faces Tobin will see on Saturday night. Washington ranks 29th against the run allowing 129.8 yards per game to opposing offenses.
Matchup to Watch: Nelson Agholor vs. Bashaud Breeland
The rookie wideout from USC has been a massive disappointment for all Eagles fans this season. Agholor played 53 snaps against Arizona and did not register one target his way. Chip admitted Patrick Peterson shut down the rookie all night long taking him completely out of the attack. I really don’t know what to make of Agholor. We all saw the downfield ability he displayed against Buffalo for his first NFL touchdown and also the big play he made against Washington in Week 4. However, too many times he simply disappears from the offense like in Week 15. Agholor’s season was derailed in the middle of the year when he missed games with a leg injury, but even before that his wheels were spinning. Breeland is the best defender in Washington’s secondary and will likely draw the task of Agholor on the outside. In order for the Eagles to win this game I believe Agholor needs to make some plays to take attention off Jordan Matthews in the slot.
Player to Watch: Ryan Kerrigan
The fifth year outside linebacker from Purdue is the pass rush specialist off the edge for Washington. He’s recorded 8.5 sacks on the season thus far. One of those sacks came in Week 4 when the Eagles traveled to FedEx field. Lane Johnson struggled to keep up with Kerrigan and was beat with leverage routinely. Kerrigan has been a thorn in the Eagles side with 6 career sacks against the team. The Eagles offense specifically tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson will need to do a better job keeping Bradford comfortable in the pocket this week. Kerrigan sees action on both sides of the line so each we’ll lineup across from him. Kerrigan has been hot in recent weeks with 4 sacks in his past 3 games.
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