Rich Tandler points out that RT Jammal Brown, who doesn't actually play NFL games, didn't actually practice yesterday due to soreness in his hip. Look, we can go on and on and on with this, if that's what the Redskins want. Head Coach Mike Shanahan gave up valuable draft picks to obtain Brown and so he is desperate to prove he got something in that trade instead of just getting fleeced the way he did in the deal with the Eagles for Donovan McNabb. But by now it should be clear that Jammal Brown is a broken man. His body is broken. It doens't work the way it has to work for him to play in the NFL. The sooner everyone accepts that and gets on with the rest of their lives, the better.
Another Redskins player who is essentially a cripple right now is WR Pierre Garcon, the team's hugely expensive free agent acquisition. He's practicing, but just barely, and is a shadow of the person the Redskins thought they were getting when they gave him over $20 million in guaranteed money. It wouldn't surprise me if Garcon plays this week, but because I think the Skins have decided that additional rest won't help Garcon much so they might as well try to get something out of him before he does the inevitable and finishes the season on injured reserve.
Safety Brandon Meriweather was limited in practice, but Shanahan said he was feeling better about his chances to play vs. Philadelphia on Sunday.
“[Wednesday] it was a little sore, but he pushed through it and he had a good practice today,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping there’s no setback [Friday].”
Keim has a fascinating article on how Philadelphia's unusual defensive alingment along their front four will alter the Washington running attack.
"They crash the O-line every play whether it's a run or pass," Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "It's hard to get outside on it. It can be a tough defense to run on. It can be a real tough defense to drop back and throw on."
The Eagles' defensive ends line up one to two yards outside the offensive tackles. Other teams have used this alignment vs. Washington -- St. Louis, for example. But the Rams played it differently. Their ends read the play, then reacted. The Eagles' ends align in a four-point stance with one goal in mind: get to the quarterback.
"Everything changes when you play a team that uses this technique," Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen said. "You can't take your normal footwork. You have to block for where they end up."
The Redskins like to run outside the tackles in their zone stretch scheme. But in two games against the Eagles last season -- when they first started using this defensive line technique -- they ran outside only seven times combined (for 14 yards) compared with 28 times between the tackles. In the second game they ran between the tackles on inside zones 19 times for 118 yards. With better vision and subsequent cuts, the Redskins could have gained more yards.
There were times last season when the Eagles had five defenders on the Redskins' side of the ball after the snap. But Washington still was able to gain positive yards. The Redskins ran a couple draws but often solved the issue with a fullback/tight end in the backfield blocking to the other side of the play. Or the tackles or tight ends would head to the outside linebacker, with the fullback cutting the end.
"Penetration scares a back. It can disrupt things," Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris said. "But as a runner you have to adjust and adapt on the fly. A lot of games we get penetration, and a lot of times I make a cut and just keep running. It's not like I get shocked and freeze up in the backfield."
The tricky part could be running the zone read option. Philadelphia has yet to play Carolina, which also uses the zone read, to know how it might be impacted by this tactic.
"We'll run it a couple times and find out Sunday," Shanahan said. "It'll be interesting to see."
ESPN bloggers discuss the rookie QB competition between Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.
The Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles fired their defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, last week and replaced him with former Redskins safety Todd Bowles, who has been coaching the defense through three games. The comparisons between the defense under Castillo and under Bowles do not augur well for Bowles.
♦ Opposing teams are converting third downs at a nearly 50% rate over the last three games. They were under 30% for the first half-dozen games.
♦ Bowles' defense (6.01) is allowing nearly a full yard more per play than Castillo's defense did (5.13).
♦ The last three QBs have completed 75% of their passes (62-82). That goes a long way to contributing to the 7.53 net-yard-per-plass-play number they have put up.
♦ Bowles' defense has as many sacks (7) in three games as Castillo's did in six games ...
♦ ... But Bowles Boys have yet to record an interception. Castillo's Cubbies had seven, although they bundled four of them in the Game 1 escape against the Browns.
There is more stuff from the Philly Inquirer so check it out.
Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall was fined $30,000 by the NFL for his tirade against an NFL official near the end of Washington's loss last month to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Interesting that Hall was not suspended and the fine is, all things considered, relatively mild. It makes me think maybe Hall was telling the truth when he said the official he was screaming at was also screaming obscenities back at him. Hall didn't want to talk about it, though, when the subject was going to come up yesterday:
As he came off the field following Thursday’s practice, reporters approached Hall regarding the fine, and he said, “Back up off me, bro,” and didn’t break a stride.
Football analyst and former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi went on the HTTR 24-7 podcast and ripped Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan a new one. Well, actually, he ripped Redskins GM Mike Shanahan a new one. I'm going to have more on this later today, but check it out for yourself right now.
Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett hopes his bye week meetings with defensive players pay off this Sunday. I'm not counting on it.
The Redskins face a rookie QB in Nick Foles making his first start this Sunday. Seems ideal for the defense, right? Just as likely it is idea for Foles, considering the Skins have strugged againt rookie passers and just don't have a very good defense anyway.
Washington has surrendered 301.7 passing yards per game, which is on pace to break the NFL record of 299.8 set last season by Green Bay. The Redskins have given up eight passing plays of at least 40 yards; only Tampa Bay has surrendered more.
Rich Campbell asks five pretty good questions about the upcoming Redskins-Eagles games. My favorites are whether or not the Skins can generate a pass rush with Philly missing starting center Jason Kelce and RT Todd Herremans, and whether or not the Skins defense can start forcing turnovers again. Philly has committed 21 turnovers this year -- second to the KC Chiefs -- but Washington hasn't forced a turnover in the last two games.