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|Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:56 am Post subject: Philadelphia Eagles Strategy and Personnel
|Philadelphia Eagles Strategy and Personnel
|The Eagles benched struggling weak-side linebacker Matt McCoy Sunday and replaced him with rookie Omar Gaither. McCoy was the team's second-round pick in the '05 draft. But he is undersized -- just 5-11 and 220 pounds -- and had great difficulty getting off blocks. Gaither is two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier and played both the run and the pass pretty well in Sunday's 27-24 win over Carolina. He actually played more snaps than expected since he also replaced Mike Lewis as the second linebacker in the Eagles' nickel and dime packages after Lewis left the game with a concussion in the third quarter. Gaither will get his second start this week against Washington.
--DE Darren Howard (groin/knee) was feeling better Friday, according to coach Andy Reid. "He'll be the starter on Sunday," Reid said. "He did pretty good today. We'll see. Now I say he's the starter but we'll see how he does. He handled this practice. He looked good out there. Hopefully he feels good tomorrow."
--LB Omar Gaither will make his second start at "Will" Sunday against Washington in place of struggling Matt McCoy. McCoy has been bothered by a shoulder sprain.
--CB Rod Hood practiced Thursday but still is listed as questionable for Sunday with a sore hamstring. He will try to play.
--LB Shawn Barber, who has missed the past two games with a knee sprain, practiced Thursday and was upgraded to probable for Sunday's game. His absence in the team's nickel package has been felt.
--RB Brian Westbrook hasn't had any major problems with his sore toe in practice and will play Sunday against Washington. Whether the Eagles will limit his touches remains to be seen.
--S Michael Lewis, who suffered a concussion in a collision with Carolina WR Steve Smith Sunday, is listed as questionable for Sunday's game and didn't practice Wednesday. The Eagles have been using Lewis as the second linebacker in their nickel package. If he can't go, either Jeremiah Trotter or Omar Gaither likely would replace him.
GAME PLAN: The Eagles would like to do exactly the same thing they did in the first meeting with the Redskins, which was jump out to an early lead (they jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first 19 minutes) and force the Redskins to throw the ball. Jeff Garcia opened the throttle on the passing game last week and threw downfield a lot more than he did in the previous two games. He'll likely continue that Sunday.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Eagles LT William Thomas vs. Redskins RDE Andre Carter. Carter is the Redskins' best pass-rusher, but Thomas handled him fairly easy in the first meeting.
--Eagles MLB Jeremiah Trotter vs. Redskins RB Ladell Betts. The Redskins want to run the ball a lot and take the pressure off of young QB Jason Campbell. Betts is a tackle-to-tackle runner. Trotter is an inside run-defender.