Eagles and Redskins Show Many Parallels

There was a bullet with the Eagles' name on it headed straight for them Monday night. A key interception late in the game helped them dodge the bullet, but the Redskins hope to fire off another round Sunday in D.C.

As the Eagles look to get their backs a little further away from the wall, they know that things won't be easy for them this weekend in our nation's capitol. The Redskins have the ability to play top-notch football, especially at home. Add to that the division rival factor and Sunday won't be a walk in the park for the Eagles. "Their season has been a little bit like ours where it has been up and down," said Andy Reid. "They've played some great games and three out of four of those great games were right at their place. It's a tough place to play. It's loud and our guys will have to be sharp going in there."

The Eagles will also be seeing a quarterback that they haven't seen before in Washington's Jason Campbell. Brian Dawkins is looking forward to the challenge and he knows that it definitely will be a challenge. "He's a young guy, learning on the job and doing a good job thus far. [He's] not turning the ball over a lot. It's going to be important for us as a secondary to move around, myself and [S] Sean [Considine] and try and catch him guessing a little bit. Hopefully he'll make some mistakes." The Redskins are showing a lot of confidence in Campbell. They've also been forced to put a lot of faith in running back Ladell Betts, who has taken over for the injured Clinton Portis. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has been impressed with both Campbell and Betts, but thinks that the Redskins have been forced to simplify their attack. "I think they've limited their offense a little bit compared to what [Redskins QB Mark] Brunell was playing in there. [Campbell] is a big, strong quarterback, stays in the pocket. So, I think the difference is they're just trying to find things that he's capable of making plays and the biggest thing he does right now is stand back in that pocket and throw the ball downfield," said Johnson. "He's got a little mobility, so I think they're gearing their offense a little bit more around him than they are the running back."

Campbell has been able to put his tight end Chris Cooley – one of the better tight ends in the league – to good use. "He's just a hard worker. He's not going to run past you or run through you," said Dawkins. "He's shifty. He can move in and out of his breaks but I just consider him to be a real hard worker."

The Eagles' offense looks like it may be coming around behind Jeff Garcia. After a slow start against Carolina, the offense clicked just enough to pull out a win that brought the Eagles back to .500 (6-6) on the season. Nine wins might be enough for a playoff berth. If they're going to make the post-season though, they'll need the offense to officially click. "I think we come into this week where we just need to continue to grow off of what was established Monday night," said Garcia. "This is a shorter week for us, so it's so important that everybody is fresh and ready come Sunday. As much as we won the football game Monday night, there are so many things that we need to correct and improve upon and if we can continue to build on those things then we're going to be a much better team on Sunday." Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is seeing what he had hoped for out of Garcia. "He's been practicing and trying to stay as sharp as he can. I would expect him to play even better as we go. We can all do just a little bit better."

Reid has been impressed with how Garcia has responded to taking over for Donovan McNabb. Garcia notched his first 300-yard passing game as an Eagle on Monday. He completed 21 of 39 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns against Carolina. He had a strong second half, completing 11 of 16 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the final two quarters. He took a couple of big back-to-back hits from Panther defenders in the third quarter, but stayed in the game and led the Eagles to a comeback win. "He peeled himself off the ground a couple of times," coach Andy Reid said. "There might've been a few guys that would've stayed down. But he got himself back up and battled. I think that's what this city's all about. I think they appreciated that."


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