X's & O's with: Eddie Mason

Marcus Washington is playing phenomenal football. He moves around very well and plays with a lot of energy. Antonio Pierce is getting a lot of press, but Marcus is underrated in relation to a lot of linebackers. He was a great acquisition. Defensively he was the one who got that going against the Eagles. He was making plays all over the field.

One thing about Marcus, he has tremendous explosion on his hips. You see the way he hits people; he knocks people back. There was a play the other night, on a third down, and the Eagles were driving and they ran a draw to Brian Westbrook. Marcus came up so quick and hit Westbrook and he stopped dead in his tracks.

The thing is about Marcus, he plays straight-legged, he's not a knee bender. But he is huge and he's a big guy who can flat out move. He's not the best in coverage, but as far as rushing the passer, blitzing or zone dropping and being able to break left to right based on he quarterback's motion, he has the intangibles.

Marcus is 110 percent on the field and those are the type of players who help regardless of the record. Those are the type of players you need to build around. And I like his instincts. On the Westbrook play, Marcus was actually in a displaced alignment. Philly kept displacing their tight ends and receivers, and they'll make the outside linebackers come outside and get into their zone coverage alignments.

When you do that to a defense, you only have that middle linebacker in the center. Then you have two guys displaced. As a linebacker, you're supposed to split your alignment between the receiver and the end guy on the line. From that position you not only have to read the receiver to see if it's a run or a pass, you also have to read whether or not the line is in pass protection.

But Marcus recognized it very quickly. For some linebackers, it's that split second to getin there and that's what he did. He reacted, he responded and exploded his hips. Those are the types of plays you look for. Some guys are younger and they don't have those instincts. They might take a hesitation step, but by that time the receiver can block or cut them or they're not there in time to make the play. Those are the type of things you can't teach and Marcus has it.

It's fun to have a player like him, someone who plays with a lot of energy and a warrior-like mentality. It seems like he has great passion for the game. I love watching players like that, especially when he wears my old number.

As for Mike Sellers, there's nothing you can say. I played with Mike and I talked to him after the game, gave him a pep talk. But I'm surprised he's still on the roster. Most times, at this time of the year, you make mistakes like that and teams will cut you.

Hopefully they recognize he's very aggressive and plays with a lot of passion. He wants to do well. But Mike has to understand that he can't make mistakes like that, especially when you're 4-8. Mistakes like that will kill you.


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