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5 Things To Know Today: November 12

Posted Nov 12, 2013

The Eagles are back on the practice field Tuesday and we'll have live coverage for fans all day long. At 11:25 a.m., offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Bill Davis meet the media. Join us for Eagles Live! at Noon as ESPN's Adam Caplan will join Dave Spadaro in studio. Following practice, quarterback Nick Foles and wide receiver DeSean Jackson will host press conferences. To get your day started, here are the 5 Things To Know Today for November 12 ...

1. OFFENSES STOP IN EAGLES RED ZONE

Through the first five games of the season, the Eagles defense was allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 60 percent of their trips inside the red zone. In 20 opportunities, the opposition punched the ball into the end zone 12 times. As the Eagles defense as a whole has improved, so has the performance in the red zone.

Over the last five games, opponents have scored only five touchdowns in 14 red zone trips. That's a 35.7 percent success rate. On Sunday, the Packers failed to score a touchdown on each of their four red zone trips (though they did score a touchdown from 22 yards out).

“Bend but don’t break, man,” said safety Patrick Chung. “When we get down there, you just have to build a wall. We take pride in that. If they even get there, we want zero, but keeping them to three is good.”

So what has changed for the Eagles in the second half of the season?

“I think we’ve simplified it and the guys understand it,” said defensive coordinator Bill Davis. “We’re not calling a whole lot of different calls down there and the players really understand it and they’re executing at a high level down in the red zone. It’s the players.”

“We’re just all-in together,” said linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “It takes all of us collectively as a group. That’s what good defense is about. It’s a group. It’s not about one individual guy. Our group collectively is playing really well.”

2. THE STORY BEHIND THE SHOT

On the first play of the memorable November 15, 2010 win over the Redskins, wide receiver DeSean Jackson burned safety LaRon Landry and the entire Redskins defense for an 88-yard touchdown. Eagles photographer Brian Garfinkel captured the photo above. He shares the story of how he captured it ...

“When we have multiple photographers at a game, we play zone coverage. This was the first play of the game. I wasn’t even in position yet because I think I might have been too close to one of the other shooters. But the play started, so I stopped and started shooting. I got down on my knees so I could get a lower perspective and a more ideal angle. I was still finding my bearings when I saw the ball go in the air. I just followed DeSean Jackson coming down. I was lucky that I had all my exposures set from pre-game and that I was able to keep everything in focus.

"It was raining that night, so I put a raincoat over the camera to keep it protected. You have your hands inside the raincoat, so you don’t have the same amount of control. It does add a little bit of complexity because you’re used to being able to move your hands anywhere. You’re a little bit more limited.

"I was happy with the way everything ended up being framed - how I got the defender in there, DeSean’s full body in there and the ball falling perfectly into his hands. Most of the action shots that I shoot are with a 400 millimeter lens. It’s a fixed length. You can’t zoom in or out. The frame is the frame. It’s more about making sure that you’re keeping what you want to keep in focus, and you’re not cutting out important stuff. I definitely chose to get DeSean in focus instead of the defender. If that play happens 20 yards closer to me, I would have been shooting with the same lens and the same zoom. I probably would’ve had to cut off DeSean’s legs and I would not have gotten as much of the defender in the frame.

"It’s especially hard when something impactful happens at the beginning of a game because you just hope that play ends up being meaningful. If DeSean and Michael Vick didn’t have the game that they had and the Eagles did not win, the picture, although it’s a great picture, would be so much less meaningful. When you get a picture, you try not to get too excited until after the game to truly know if it’s significant or not.”

3. RG III ROUNDING BACK INTO FORM?

Washington is 3-6, but its offense will provide a tough test for the Eagles' much-improved defense this Sunday. One of the challenges is the improved play of quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Eagles beat Washington in Week 1 which was RGIII's first game back from an ACL injury in January. Brian Tinsman from Redskins.com explains the difference between RGIII now and the one the Eagles played in Week 1.

“He’s been a totally different quarterback since the bye week. You’re starting to see that guy again who last year took the NFL by storm as a rookie. Even when the team hasn’t won games, he’s really been sensational as a playmaker. What you’re starting to see is that willingness to take a risk.

“Whether he’s running the ball or there is just the threat of him running the ball, it changes the way that a defense approaches this offense. I think without that threat early in the season – and you definitely saw it against the Eagles and through the first three weeks of the season – he was a bit of a sitting duck in the pocket and this offense didn’t really have a bite because you weren’t getting the mismatches. This offense is really predicated on the ability to mismatch, the ability to confuse a defense. Now, he has both facets of his game back and seems to have all the confidence in the world.”

4. EAGLES, AMERICAN RED CROSS HONOR VOLUNTEERS ON VETERANS DAY

In an effort to honor the committed leadership of our community’s veterans and volunteers, the Philadelphia Eagles and American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania gathered on Veterans Day to celebrate five outstanding Red Cross volunteers. Eagles defensive backs Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, Brandon Boykin, Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher were in attendance. Veterans Day hits close to home for Fletcher, as his brother has served our country for 17 years.

Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania, celebrated the volunteers at the onset of the ceremony which was followed by an awards presentation. The Eagles players then signed Holiday Mail for Heroes cards and the honorees took a VIP tour of Lincoln Financial Field.

5. HOW DO YOU HEAT UP THE FROZEN TUNDRA?

The Eagles will start preparing for Sunday's NFC East showdown against the Washington Redskins on Tuesday, but here's one last look back at Sunday's big win over the Green Bay Packers.

415 yards. One team win. from Philadelphia Eagles on Vimeo.

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