The Washington Redskins will face their divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles this Monday, at FedEx Field. Kick-off for the ESPN Monday Night Football game is scheduled for 8:30 P.M. The game will be televised to a national audience and will be the second year in a row the Redskins host the Eagles on Monday Night Football. This will be the second game in a home-and-home series that dates back to 1936. The Washington Redskins are coming off a bye week, while the Philadelphia Eagles are fresh off a 26-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts led by QB Michael Vick who was returning from a month long injury suffered in Philadelphia's last meeting against the Redskins.
When the NFL's 2010 schedule was released the week four match up between the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles it was billed as McNabb's return to the city that booed him on draft day then traded him within the division eleven years later. It was to be McNabb versus his replacement Kevin Kolb, but by kickoff Kolb had lost the starting job to Mike Vick, whose acquisition McNabb had lobbied for. In the end, Vick only threw seven passes before being knocked out of the game with chest and ribs injuries and . McNabb was just 8-of-19 for 125 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Kolb was the top performing quarterback as he completed 22-of-35 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but quarterback play had little to do with the outcome. The Eagles couldn't stop the almost non-existent ground game and Washington gained 169 yards on 35 carries in a 17-12 win.
Donovan McNabb versus the Shanahans:
After quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched in the closing minutes of the last game before the bye week, the Redskins dominated the national news during their time off. Corneback DeAngelo Hall said: “Everywhere I was, that’s all I saw was stuff about Donovan, I don’t think the bye week gave it a chance to go anywhere instead of just sitting there and letting it fester.” Coach Mike Shanahan's stated reasons for sitting McNabb (knowledge of the 2 minute offense and “cardiovascular endurance.”), was questioned on every pre-game show that aired although the Washington Redskins did not have a scheduled game. Coach Shanahan was still answering questions related to the McNabb benching eight days later because of “leaks” that report McNabb and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan aren't getting along and that the play book has been trimmed down to accommodate McNabb's difficulties in learning it.
With McNabb saying he'd like to put his benching behind him and that there's no lingering bad feelings between him and the organization, hasn't much really changed after a week off.
-- Last week coach Shanahan said a series of hamstring injuries had slowed McNabb and was part of the reason that led to benching McNabb, this week he says the quarterback is still not one hundred percent. Donovan McNabb gave few details when asked about his hamstrings on Thursday, saying: "I'm good. I'm good. Thanks for asking."
-- The hamstrings lead us back to the two-minute drill issue, is McNabb’s hamstrings healthy enough to perform at the pace required to run the two-minute drill? McNabb says he has no problems with the two-minute offense and stated “We have a tempo at practice in which it’s like the two-minute drill, we’re in and out of the huddle, We’re all accustomed to it, we ran it through the off season. … It’s nothing spectacular or new to it.” Not practicing the two-minute drill was also a part of the reason that led to Rex Grossman's appearance in the final minutes of the Redskins last game yet it appears they still have not practiced the drill. Said Shanahan: We just haven’t had time to run it. This week gives us an extra day and we’ll hopefully work on that Saturday.” When asked if McNabb would be his guy in a two-minute drill Monday night he was vague, saying “It all depends on how he feels. If he’s full speed, ready to go and I feel we can do it, he’ll get some reps Saturday. I don’t want to overdue it in a two-minute [practice] situation. I’m not going to take the chance of injury to put him through that.”
Quotes and Notes:
- The Redskins finished the game against the Detroit Lions with Keiland Williams as the only healthy running back, after Ryan Torain suffered a hamstring injury and couldn't continue. With a week off the Redskins running back situation remained unclear, Torain returned to practice this week, along with Clinton Portis (who has been out since October 3rd with a groin injury) and they both felt they could be ready to go on Monday night. Portis experienced some soreness after is first full workout and the team has limited his participation, Torain, who has been starting in place of Portis, has also been limited in practice. Other than rookie Keiland Williams, return specialist Chad Simpson and newly signed James Davis took reps in practice. Simpson and Davis have a combined total of zero carries this season. Davis is on the practice squad and turned down an offer to join the Carolina Panthers' 53-man roster this week and may be elevated to the active roster before Monday's gamesmanship
– RT Jammal Brown played his best game of the season against Detroit, according to coach Mike Shanahan. Stephon Heyer started the game, but Brown rotated in. “Sometimes when guys go on second team in stead of first team, all of a sudden they get better in a hurry, He played much better. I don’t know what loosened him up, but whatever happened he played at a much higher level.” Shanahan said.
– If return specialist Brandon Banks is out of Monday night's game following knee surgery during the bye week (Coach Mike Shanahan would not rule out Banks) the Redskins must find replacements both on kickoff and punt returns. Chad Simpson, who handled kickoffs for the Indianapolis Colts last year is the obvious replacement on kick offs and Phillip Buchanon began the season as the Redskins' punt returner should be the choice on punts, but lately decisions making at Redskins Park hasn't lead to obvious choices. When discussing the possibilities of the return duties for Monday night, Shanahan brought up wide receiver Anthony Armstrong name. Armstrong has been among the group of Redskins who have fielded punts in practice and while he was at West Texas A&M, he returned kickoffs.
– "Four and four, it ain't the best spot, but it's a good spot for us, We've got new schemes on offense and defense. Who would've even figured that we'd beat some of the teams that we beat. I know nobody figured that we'd lose to some of the teams that we lost to (St. Louis and Detroit), but we're .500. We'd rather be 5-3 or 6-2, but it's a good spot for us." ….. Defensive end Phillip Daniels on the Redskins 4-4 start
– Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett says the switch to a 3-4 alignment as the base defense for the first time in franchise history has been overblown although the Redskins defense has allowed the second-most total yards and passing yards in the league. He said: "You're never going to be happy with the numbers because they got blown out of the water early because of the teams we were playing, I don't know if you could ever recover from that. We're getting turnovers (tied for second in the league with 19). We're getting off the field on third down (second in the league), trying to keep the points off as much as we can (16th in the league). The big thing is that if we continue not to give up big plays and keep getting turnovers, then we'll be pretty good."
– In Washington’s four wins, neither team scored more than 17 points, in the Redskins’ four losses, the winning team has scored 27 or more points.
– Donovan McNabb had this to say about the ongoing controversy: I like to handle my business behind closed doors. I don’t go through the media and vent or react to certain situations. That’s not truly professional. My professional manner is to talk to you man to man and try to find out what the problem is. You find out the problem, you come up with a solution, and you move on. I think for a lot of guys it’s a hard deal to manage because they want to vent. But what, really, do you get out of the deal before it becomes an ongoing battle of he said, she said. That’s just not how I go about business. Shanahan had this to say: “I think Donovan’s done a good job this week getting ready to play. There have been a lot of distractions. We’ve fought through it as a group and we’re ready to go on. Sometimes you make decisions that you feel are in the best interest of your team, you’re not always right. Sometimes you go with your gut. But the bottom line is that you make it and you go on and hopefully we’ll play our best football here in the second half of the season.
– "When you have sacks, there are so many factors other than the offensive line, A lot of the sacks are because the guys miss a block and the quarterback can't do anything about it. A lot of sacks are because it is a bad play call and nobody is open and there is nowhere to go with the ball. A lot of sacks are because it was a good play call and the receiver couldn't beat the coverage. A lot of sacks are because the quarterback held onto it too long trying to make a play, which he does, and then got sacked. When you have a lot of sacks, it means your offense isn't doing as good as they need to." ….. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan saying his offensive line isn't solely to blame for all the sacks the team is giving up
– QB Donovan McNabb has been sacked 23 times this season, right guard Derrick Dockery has been inactive for the last four games. Seventeen of the Redskins 23 sacks were allowed over the last four games.
– Tackle Jammal Brown is nursing a bad hip and his back up Stephon Heyer has a sore ankle, if they can't play Monday night Artis Hicks would move from right guard to right tackle, and Will Montgomery will start at right guard.