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Redskins Ready For Challenge Of Eagles' Offense

Posted Dec 19, 2014

As the Redskins look to put a dent in the Eagles' playoff hopes, their defense must find a way to throw a high-octane offense off-kilter in order to score a primetime victory.

Whether it’s their ability to move the ball in chunks or the fact they have so many weapons at all the skill positions, the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense poses quite the task for opposing defenses.

While the Eagles rank eighth in the NFL in total yards per game (387.6) they possess the ball the shortest amount of time per game, at an average of just 26:22 minutes per contest.

The Washington Redskins know they must find ways to throw them off-kilter Saturday at FedExField. In three games against the Eagles with Chip Kelly at the helm, the Redskins have yet to score a victory.

As they look for that elusive first win against a Kelly-led squad, the Redskins do have the benefit of experience. 

“The concepts, the running game, the pass game is basically the same,” said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. “They still do a great job running the football. They do a great job getting their playmakers, they got a lot of playmakers.

“The receivers – [Jeremy] Maclin’s having a great year. The tight ends are excellent. They spread it around and it really hasn’t changed much and they’re doing a nice job with it. ... They got a heck of an offense."

Maclin – who has bounced back from a season-ending ACL injury suffered in training camp last year – has already set career highs in receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,207) and has tied the most touchdowns scored in a single season with 10.

Throughout Saturday's game, either rookie Bashaud Breeland or second-year N.C. State product David Amerson will likely be assigned to cover Maclin.

Amerson already has one-on-one experience with Maclin, as he defended him late in the Redskins-Eagles’ Week 3 matchup after DeAngelo Hall went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.

“He's a big-time play maker, a deep threat, good hands, good all-around receiver period,” Amerson said of Maclin. “You just got to be aware of where he's at on the field and what divisions he likes to get the ball in and stuff like that.”

Trent Murphy, meanwhile, said he's looking forward to the challenge of defending the Eagles’ one-two backfield punch of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles.

While Sproles has more than 600 total yards and six rushing touchdowns, McCoy has really come on lately, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark after struggling to start the season.

The Redskins held McCoy to just 22 yards on 19 carries in their first matchup this season.

“When you have running backs like that ... [the coaches] have put extra emphasis on being able to control those guys,” Murphy said.

At quarterback for the Eagles in Saturday's matchup is Mark Sanchez.

In his first season in Philadelphia, Sanchez has shown flashes that made him top-five pick, but has also struggled at times.

Last week against the Dallas Cowboys, Sanchez had his worst game of the season, throwing zero touchdowns to two interceptions while posting a quarterback rating of 60.4.

Still, while he may be streaky, head coach Jay Gruden understands that when the Philadelphia offense is clicking, they’re very hard to beat.

“They have different things up their sleeve every week,” he said. “They do a great job with the no-huddle and obviously try to keep you off-balance and keeping you basic on defense and running their stuff. [They are] very effective in what they do.

Gruden said he doesn't "see really a lot of difference" in what the Eagles are capable of with Sanchez or the injured Nick Foles under center.

"Both of them [Foles and Sanchez], they ran the read option. They both have the good play-action game," Gruden said. “They’ve got a number of guys they can throw the ball to and they distribute the ball equally amongst all of them and they’re very effective.”

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