Ten Spot Preview: Skins Loose

The Ten Spot Preview: Redskins vs. Eagles 12.10.06--Our Redskins insider examines the game from ten different angles.

1. Will Brandon Lloyd start? Would anyone notice? At the very least, Lloyd will play a lot after his little sideline tantrum last weekend. Lloyd has been noticeably loud in the locker room this week, being very playful with teammates. Why is that? Who know, but with Lloyd it's always worth wondering. And even if Lloyd plays, would he even have an impact? It's hard to imagine he would, but stranger things have happened. Lloyd has revealed himself to be a one-dimensional receiver who isn't the best teammate. In other words, just like he was in San Francisco. Guess we can call this another example of terrific research.

2. Will Ladell Betts be extra motivated this weekend? Sure, why not, after signing his five-year extension. It was a surprise that Betts wouldn't even test the market after talking about his desire to be a starter earlier in the week. But the Redskins offered him comfort and security. It also makes you wonder if the Redskins aren't concerned with the long-term health of Clinton Portis. From their standpoint, they clearly want two capable backs. But maybe they see a day two years from now where Betts is the starter and Portis is elsewhere. That's based on nothing but our own wondering mind. Regardless, for Sunday, Betts should be extra pumped. It helps that the Eagles' run defense has largely been suspect this season.

3. Are the Redskins crushed by their reality? Yes and no. They were on Monday when the locker room was quiet. On Thursday and Friday, it was more rambunctious than it had been all season, with lots of yelling and laughing and joking around, which did not sit well with all the players. What that means is hard to decipher. They could be loose now that most of the pressure is off (though one win will spark playoff talk by some of the TV types). Or some of them can ''feel'' the offseason already and are checking out mentally. I doubt that's the overall case because there are too many true professionals on the roster.

4. How dangerous is Jeff Garcia? Ask the Panthers that question. Garcia is bothersome because he can improvise in the pocket so well, which does make him dangerous -- especially if you have a secondary that doesn't cover well. Garcia has lost 12 of his last 14 road starts, which is an eye-popping stat. But consider this: those starts came with Detroit and Cleveland. Garcia can clearly still hurt teams, but he's also prone to major mistakes (which he hasn't had yet in his two Eagle starts). He lacks the arm to go deep often, but will burn the Redskins if they're inching too close to the line.

5. Are the Redskins too banged up? At some spots, yes. Jon Jansen, though walking with much less of a limp by week's end, is still on the edge of being forced to shut it down; Phillip Daniels has two rough ankles and a bad wrist. Then there are the others: Troy Vincent, Khary Campbell, Kenny Wright. All have nagging injuries which should make them iffy all day. Give these guys credit for wanting to keep playing and not quitting. When a team is struggling, that's when good teammates want to keep trying to play through injuries, to show their teammates that they're not going to abandon them. Jansen and Daniels are the one's I worry about because of their matchups. Jansen faces Trent Cole, a multi-dimensional end with eight sacks. And Daniels faces sturdy Jon Runyan. The Redskins need to control the edge on both sides, so these guys need to be able to play well. If they can't stop the defensive ends, the run game won't work.

6. Which Eagles defender player should the Redskins worry about? Jeremiah Trotter. If the Redskins can get to Trotter, their run game has a chance to be very good. Trotter shoots gaps very well, which could make the off-tackle runs and inside zones tough. But if they can get to Trotter on these plays, they'll have a high rate of success because the Eagles outside backers aren't that good. The other defender is obviously safety Brian Dawkins, who always seems to have a good game against Washington. With a young QB, Dawkins can be a big-time worry.

7. Which offensive player should the Redskins worry about? Brian Westbrook, who rushed for more than 100 yards in the first meeting. He broke tackles, made guys miss and was a pain in the butt. He's the biggest threat left on the Eagles' offense, so the Redskins have to pay extra attention to him. One way is to keep a safety up near the line of scrimmage. Our problem with that is Donte Stallworth's speed can be a killer against this defense. But I worry more about Westbrook than Stallworth; Westbrook has to be stopped. The funny thing is, this will leave the secondary more in man coverage, much like they were two weeks ago against Carolina -- that also happened to be Sean Taylor's best game. One NFC scout didn't think that was a coincidence.

8. What's the biggest test for Jason Campbell this week? Not getting fooled by the defense. Everyone expects the Eagles to blitz a lot, as do I. The Falcons exposed a weakness when they blitzed as much as they did last week, whether it was players forgetting to stay in and help block, or Campbell not making the right decision. Certainly, Dawkins and the Eagles noticed how much trouble Lawyer Milloy caused. But I'd also expect Eagles DC Jim Johnson to try and confuse Campbell by showing blitz and dropping off, trying to throw off his timing. It would be smart.

9. What's a good interior matchup? Redskins DT Cornelius Griffin vs. RG Shawn Andrews. Andrews is a good young player known for his tenacity. If Griffin can disrupt the interior, it would go a long way toward slowing Westbrook. On the other side, C Casey Rabach against DT Darwin Walker. Rabach is coming off a good game and will again have his hands full with Walker. Of course, he'll get help from the guards -- we just hope Derrick Dockery remembers his assignments so he can actually help.

10. Will the Redskins win? OK, so the Eagles beat the Panthers last week and everyone declared them still alive. Well, got news for you: The Redskins beat the same team the previous week. So I'm not going to put everything into the fact that the Eagles still have legit playoff hopes while the Redskins need a miracle. I just don't think the Eagles are a very good team now. Or, at least, they're very flawed -- just like the Redskins. I think Washington has another good home game in them. Redskins 20, Eagles 17.


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