Photo: Keith Allison on Flickr
Welcome to Fly Eagles Fly, a weekly column on all Eagles news, injury reports, key headlines, and a preview/prediction for the upcoming game.
Eagles at Redskins
The Eagles are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014. They upgraded at many positions including wide receiver where they signed former Bear, Alshon Jeffrey. One of the team’s biggest weaknesses going into the season is cornerback, although they improved there by trading for Ronald Darby, the third-year player out of Florida State. The Eagles have high expectations this year, and let’s hope the Linc gets to host a playoff game this season!
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 7, 2017
The Eagles went 2-2 in the preseason, but in the limited plays that the first-team offense had, they didn’t look great. But, as always, preseason is not a reflection of what’s to come for that team’s real campaign. The preseason is meant for the undrafted guys, who have to fight for roster spots. Teams also experiment with different formations and plays, so no big deal if the starters struggle in preseason.
Although they struggled, the Eagles preseason was a huge win. They are heading into week 1 with everyone at 100%. That is very rare for a football team, and the Eagles are very lucky. The Redskins had the same luck as the Eagles, in regards to injury concerns. Staying healthy is the number one concern for teams’ in the preseason and both of these teams are strong in that regard.
Notable Roster Cuts
Bryce Treggs was cut after spending last season with the team. He recorded 3 receptions for 80 yards last year. He cleared waivers and signed with the Eagles practice squad.
Nate Gerry was cut after transitioning from safety to linebacker this training camp. He was the Eagles 5th-round pick this year and re-signed with the practice squad.
CJ Smith was cut after being on the roster bubble for most of the preseason. The cornerback was on the Eagles practice squad last year, and will again this year.
The Eagles have no one on their final injury report.
WR Jamison Crowder (hip) is questionable but expected to play. He should be featured as the number 2 receiver for the Redskins, so him not playing would be a big loss for the Redskins.
C Spencer Long (knee) is questionable. He is the starting center and expected to play this Sunday.
Keys to the Game
Stopping Jamison Crowder
This may come as a surprise, as Terrelle Pryor is the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver. But that is exactly what makes Crowder such a big player. The Eagles will most likely put Ronald Darby on Terrelle Pryor, which leaves Patrick Robinson to guard Crowder in the slot. Robinson, in his first season with the team, isn’t the ideal player to be guarding the other team’s fastest player. Newly acquired cornerback Dexter McDougle should provide some help, but Crowder might be an issue for the Eagles defense.
Pressure Kirk Cousins
This is a major key for the Eagles, as it’s well-known that Kirk Cousins has a weakness for pressure. That’s a good thing because the Eagles deepest position is the defensive line. In the interior, they start Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan and have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry rushing from the outside. That’s 89.5 career sacks among the starting defensive line. Not only that, they also have great depth with Derek Barnett, Chris Long, and Beau Allen. If the Eagles can get to Kirk Cousins, it will be a long day for the Skins.
There’s no doubt that Carson Wentz is going to be one of the deciding factors in Sunday’s game. He can only be effective if the offensive line can protect him. The top picture is an example of what happened last season, and what will cause the Eagles to lose this year, should that happen. The Eagles have 4 veteran’s on the offensive line and quite a few all-pros. During last season’s matchups, Ryan Kerrigan tore apart the Eagles. But with Lane Johnson back from suspension, hopefully, he can be neutralized.
Eagles 21 Redskins 18
Games between these two games are never pretty. I think the Eagles might struggle on their first two drives but then pick it up. Carson Wentz will finally utilize his new weapons, and LeGarrette Blount will have a solid debut. I think Patrick Robinson plays up to the challenge and plays well against Jamison Crowder surprising many Eagles fans. The defensive line has a ton of talent, and I think they sack Cousins 5+ times. The Redskins defense will look good, just not as good as the Eagles, and the Eagles start the season with a win in week 1.