Game Snapshot: Redskins - Eagles

<b>Washington Redskins</b> (3-1) at <b> Philadelphia Eagles</b> (1-3)<br><b>GAME SNAPSHOT</b><br><b>KICKOFF:</b> Sunday, 4:15 ET<br><b>GAMEDATE: </b> 10/05/03<br> <b>SURFACE:</b> Grass<br><b>TV: </b> FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Pam Oliver<br><br><b>SERIES: </b> 137th meeting. Redskins lead the series, 73-58-5. Eagles have won three in a row, including both meetings last season.

Donovan McNabb completed 26 of 38 passes for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns in an easy 30-point win in mid-September. McNabb was out with a broken leg for the second meeting in mid-December, but they still won with A.J. Feeley at quarterback.

2003 RANKINGS: Redskins: offense 4th (11th rush, 7th pass); defense 15th (14th rush, 16th pass). Eagles: offense 28th (9th rush, 29th pass); defense 19th (1st rush, 31st pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey has shown an impressive level of maturity this season - when he hasn't been flat on his back. Ramsey has been sacked more than any quarterback in the league, and faces an Eagles defense that likes to blitz. When given the time, Ramsey will find holes against Philadelphia secondary, which is minus three starters in CBs Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor and FS Brian Dawkins. The Eagles know they are going to give up some points, so they need to control the ball on offense and QB Donovan McNabb must continue his improved play. If the Redskins' defensive line doesn't improve its pass rush, McNabb will have a productive day.

FAST FACTS: Redskins: The offense has produced four consecutive 100-yard rushing games. ... Ramsey leads the NFL with an average of 8.03 yards per pass attempt. Eagles: McNabb has thrown 111 times this season without a touchdown pass. ... The team is 22-2 under coach Andy Reid when it leads a game in time of possession and 31-4 when it scores at least 20 points.

PREDICTED SCORE: Redskins 30, Eagles 24

PERSONNEL NEWS
Redskins:

LG Dave Fiore (knee) underwent an MRI Thursday. No structural damage was found, but he was limping pretty badly and the team was preparing to play without him Sunday.

CB Rashad Bauman (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday and expects to play Sunday.

CB Champ Bailey (wrist/shoulder) practiced Wednesday and Thursday with a pad on his hand. He will play Sunday.

DE Renaldo Wynn (ankle) returned to practice Thursday and will play Sunday.

DE Bruce Smith (knee) returned to practice Thursday and will play Sunday.

Rookie OL Derrick Dockery appears likely to start ahead of LG Dave Fiore (knee) against the Eagles.

WR Laveranues Coles has been an undisputed star, but he remains unlikely to score touchdowns. He has just one on 28 catches this year after scoring five times on 89 receptions last season.

DE Bruce Smith leads Washington with five quarterback pressures. However, he has just one half-sack and the pass rush is under plenty of scrutiny against mobile Eagles passer Donovan McNabb.

S Todd Franz has done a nice job as the third safety (used primarily in two-tight end situations) and on special teams.

KR Chad Morton is still looking to break a long one. After being pried from the Jets this offseason in a high-profile RFA signing, his long kickoff return is just 27 yards.

Eagles:
RG Jermane Mayberry, who is nursing a sprained elbow, didn't practice again Thursday, but it still seems likely that he'll play Sunday, even though he's listed as questionable on the club's injury report. If he can't go, he'll be replaced by Bobbie Williams, who filled in for him in the fourth quarter last week against Buffalo.

CB Troy Vincent won't play this week against Washington. Vincent pulled his hamstring early in last week's game against Buffalo. The club said it will wait until Friday to make a final determination on Vincent, but defensive coordinator Jim Johnson admitted there is little chance Vincent will play.

CB Bobby Taylor is out of Sunday's game. Taylor has plantar fasciitis in his left foot. It will be the third straight game he'll miss.

DE Brandon Whiting will play for the first time since Week 1 Sunday. Whiting, the club's starting left end, injured his hamstring in the season-opener, has practiced all week. DT Darwin Walker, who had replaced Whiting at left end, will move back inside to tackle.

FS Brian Dawkins, who has been out since suffering a Lisfranc sprain in his foot in Week 1, is expected to miss at least two more games before he has any chance of returning.

DE Jerome McDougle, who will miss his fourth straight game Sunday with a high ankle sprain, still is experiencing pain in his ankle and appears to be at least three weeks away from returning, even though he's only listed as questionable on the club's injury report.

INSIDE THE CAMPS
Redskins:

The Redskins' big game against the Eagles just got bigger.

What already was a very meaningful NFC East matchup between a team with growing playoff aspirations and one trying to avoid an early death spiral now has the national subplot of Rush Limbaugh's outrageous comments.

Limbaugh resigned late Wednesday night from his ESPN gig after ripping Eagles QB Donovan McNabb and inciting a huge controversy.

Now the whole nation will be eager to see whether McNabb disproves Limbaugh in his game against the Redskins, who, for the record, have always treated the dangerous passer with the utmost respect.

"He's one of the best in the league," Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. "They didn't give him all that money [$115 million] because he's an average quarterback."

Said linebacker LaVar Arrington: "Who's Rush Limbaugh to make a statement like that? He needs to stay in his area of expertise. ... That just shows his IQ level, at least his IQ level in football."

Eagles:
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson acknowledged Thursday that there is little chance either of his two injured Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Troy Vincent or Bobby Taylor, will play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Both Vincent and Taylor are listed as questionable on the club's injury report. Taylor has been out since Week 1 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Vincent injured his hamstring early in last week's 23-13 win over Buffalo.

"It doesn't look they're ready to go," Johnson said. "We might know more by Friday with Troy. But I doubt it."

Vincent and Taylor will be replaced by second-year men Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. The nickel corner will be Roderick Hood, an undrafted free agent.

Johnson doesn't seem terribly concerned about the ability of his young corners to stay with the Redskins' talented receiving corps.

"I think they'll be up for it," he said. "They handled the pressure well last week. They knew they were going to play quite a bit. So I think they're confident.

"It's going to be a challenge for them. Those are good receivers."


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