Redskins 411: Game Scout vs. Eagles

Redskins 411--11.05.05 Game Scout vs. Eagles: Redskins look to end slide vs. Philly

Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) at Washington Redskins (4-3)

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:30 ET

GAMEDATE: 11/06/05

SURFACE: Grass

TV: ESPN, Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire, Suzy Kolber

SERIES: 141st meeting. Redskins lead the series, 73-62-5. Eagles have won the last 7 meetings, including both games last year. They beat the 'Skins in Washington 17-10 and in Philly, 28-6.

2005 RANKINGS: Eagles: offense 8th (32nd rush, 1st pass); defense 25th (21st rush, 25th pass). Redskins: offense 10th (10th rush, 12th pass); defense 6th (25th rush, 1st pass)

PREDICTION: Eagles 27-20

KEYS TO THE GAME: After leading the league in first-quarter differential last season (plus-46), the Eagles have been outscored 62-14 in the opening period this season. That has allowed defenses to worry even less about the running game and tee off on RB Donovan McNabb. Philadelphia must reverse that trend, and RB Brian Westbrook should become a bigger factor with WR Terrell Owens expected to miss the game. The Redskins, who are beat up along their defensive line, could struggle to pressure McNabb without blitzing. After last weekend's 36-0 at the hands of the Giants, the Redskins need a good start offensively. That begins with RB Clinton Portis, who received just four carries last Sunday. WR Santana Moss is the offense's big-play threat, but Washington desperately needs another threat to emerge in the passing game to prevent the Eagles from taking Moss out of the picture.

FAST FACTS: Eagles: McNabb is 12-for-35 passing for just 159 yards on the opening two possessions this season. ... Have won the past seven meetings. Redskins: Lead the series 73-62-5. ... Are 3-7-1 in night games at FedEx Field. ... Are 11-10-1 on Sunday Night Football.

PERSONNEL NEWS:

Eagles:

--WR Terrell Owens practiced Thursday and was upgraded from doubtful to questionable on the Eagles' injury report. Owens has a sprained ankle. The Eagles worked at mostly half-speed Wednesday.

--QB Donovan McNabb, who added a rib contusion to his list of injury problems this week, didn't practice for the second straight day and was downgraded from probable to questionable.

--LB Jeremiah Trotter, who sat out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury, practiced Thursday and is listed as probable for the Washington game.

--DE Jevon Kearse didn't practice for the second straight day. Kearse sprained his shoulder in Sunday's loss to Denver and is listed as questionable for this week's game.

--DE N.D. Kalu practiced Thursday and was upgraded from questionable to probable. He has a shoulder injury.

Redskins:

--DT Cornelius Griffin didn't practice for a second straight day because of a strained hip flexor and likely won't play Sunday against Philadelphia.

--DT Joe Salave'a didn't practice for a second straight day because of an ailing right foot but could return on Friday and start against the Eagles.

--T Chris Samuels didn't practice for a second straight day because of a sprained right knee but expects to start against Philadelphia.

--DE Phillip Daniels didn't practice for a second straight day because of a sprained ankle but is expected to practice Friday and play Sunday.

--TE Robert Royal didn't practice for a second straight day because of two strained calves but is expected to be ready for Sunday.

--FS Sean Taylor didn't practice because of an ailing ankle but is expected to work on Friday and play on Sunday.

INSIDE THE CAMPS:

Eagles:

Wide receiver Terrell Owens' chances of playing in Sunday's important NFC East battle against the Washington Redskins improved a bit Thursday.

Owens, who leads the Eagles with 47 receptions and 763 receiving yards, was upgraded from doubtful to questionable on the Eagles' injury report. Owens, who sprained his right ankle in the second half of Sunday's 49-21 loss to Denver, even practiced Thursday.

"I would not say definitely not," offensive coordinator Brad Childress said when asked whether Owens will play Sunday night. "He looked fine (in practice). But we were only going about half-speed.

"I think the fact that he was out there speaks volumes."

Owens had three catches for 154 yards against the Broncos, including a 91-yard touchdown catch and run in which he beat Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey.

While Owens was upgraded on the injury report Thursday, quarterback Donovan McNabb was downgraded from probable to questionable. He didn't practice for the second straight day.

McNabb, who took a pounding from the Broncos even though he was only sacked twice, suffered a rib contusion when he was hit in the fourth quarter. He also has a sports hernia.

McNabb completed just 12 of 34 passes against the Broncos and had completed just 57.5 percent of his passes in the last five games. But Childress insisted that he doesn't think McNabb's sports hernia, which he's had since Week 1, is affecting his throwing mechanics.

"When I look at that, I don't see that," he said. "Did he miss some throws that he should have made? Sure. But I don't see where that injury is doing something specifically to his throwing mechanics."

McNabb remains confident that he'll be able to play Sunday against the Redskins.

Redskins:

With the backups working on special teams, left end Renaldo Wynn was defensive line coach Greg Blache's only pupil as the Washington Redskins began practice on Thursday. Wynn's fellow starters, Cornelius Griffin, Joe Salave'a and Phillip Daniels, were all inside getting treatment for their various injuries.

The lack of proven tackles prompted assistant head coach Gregg Williams to joke that three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker LaVar Arrington would finally return to the starting lineup for Sunday's critical NFC East showdown against Philadelphia ... at tackle.

Despite the likely absence of Griffin with a hip flexor and the tenuous health of the right foot of Salave'a, Arrington won't start inside, but he could well replace Warrick Holdman on the weak side or be the fourth linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.

Arrington took over for Holdman in the second half of last week's stunning 36-0 loss to the New York Giants. Williams expects Salave'a and Daniels, who sprained his left ankle in last week's 36-0 loss to the New York Giants, to practice on Friday and face the Eagles.

While Arrington won't play tackle, Daniels, Wynn and backup end Demetric Evans might. When Griffin and Salavea went down at New York and with backup tackles Cedric Killings (ankle) and Aki Jones (hamstring) inactive,  Evans, who hadn't played more than 18 snaps in any previous game this year, played more than that at the unfamiliar inside spot alone and responded with eight tackles and a sack. Evans, who was solid in seven starts at end when Daniels was hurt last year, hadn't even seen practice time at tackle this fall before last week.

"That's why the off-season practices are so important," Williams said. "Demetric took a lot of snaps (at tackle then). Those are snaps that will come back to help us when we're throwing him into the heat of battle. I was really pleased with how Demetric did last week."

Evans, who jump-started his career in NFL Europe in the winter of 2004, knows that versatility makes him more valuable.

"It makes me have to study more and watch more film, but hopefully I'm showing the coaches I can play more than one position," Evans said. "In this game, you never know when your opportunity is going to come so you have to be ready."


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