Twenty-four hours from now, Eagles fans will pack the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Financial Field to start tailgating for the biggest game of the year. The Eagles host Washington with a chance to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. In this edition of 5 Things To Know Today, get the best of head coach Chip Kelly and linebacker DeMeco Ryans on winning at home ...
1. THE BEST OF CHIP: THE WEEK THAT WAS
On Robert Griffin III: "Obviously when we played them the first time he was coming off the injury and didn't get any live reps in camp and getting ready for it. So he's a lot different now. Offensively I think they're in the top five or ten in the league in rushing and passing and total offense. They're moving the ball really well. They're kind of back to where they were last year. So it's a big challenge for us. He's running around a lot more. And he's throwing the ball really well. So we expect a little bit different look than we got the first game."
On WR DeSean Jackson: "He was here 30 out of 32 days in the offseason, I think. Works extremely hard at practice. He's a very intelligent football player. I don't think he gets enough credit for that. He picks things up like that. He can tell you it's coverage this, this, they're playing me this way. He's leaning that way. He's got a great football mind."
On Wins Needed In NFC East: "I have no idea. I don't. Again, for me to spend time looking at what number I think is going to be the number you need to win in games, it means nothing. Just go out and prepare for that game you've got that week, and that's what it should be about and what it's always about. It doesn't matter what I think it is. At the end of the year, I'm going to pat myself on the back: 'I thought it was ten, it was `10.' You don't get anything for it, do you? If you do, I'll start looking at it."
2. SHANAHAN: IT COMES DOWN TO EXECUTION
On Sunday afternoon, Mike Shanahan will lead his Washington Redskins into Lincoln Financial Field, looking to avenge a 33-27 loss to the Eagles in Week 1.
While both sides have come a long way since that Early-September night, Shanahan knows the biggest difference for the Eagles is their change in signal-caller. With Michael Vick out of the lineup with a hamstring injury, Shanahan is preparing for a red-hot Nick Foles, whom he believes has benefitted greatly from those playing around him.
"To be as relaxed as he looks in the pocket says a lot about the offensive line," Shanahan said via conference call. "He's getting the time that a quarterback needs and he's reading secondaries very well. A big part of that is LeSean McCoy and the running game. He's keeping people off- balanced as well, and they're doing a great job."
In the first meeting, Chip Kelly's offense seemed to catch the Redskins off-guard, especially during the first half in which in the Eagles ran 53 offensive plays, racking up 322 yards of offense and 21 first downs. Shanahan has had more time to watch film and adjust his defense this time around, but he knows that the offense is still just as dangerous.
"It's a product of what Chip has done, and there are a couple of wrinkles that are new to every offense, but I think it's a product of what he's done in college and what he has brought to the pro game," said Shanahan. "I don't think there are a lot of new wrinkles, but the execution over the last couple of weeks looks exceptional.
"They have the weapons and they have the type of attack to keep you off-balanced. What you have to do is play well. We have a lot more games to study, but to be honest, we studied (Kelly) a lot coming out of college. They out-executed us."
3. RYANS: WE HAVE TO TURN IT AROUND AT HOME
Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans was a guest on NFL AM to preview Sunday's matchup with Washington and discuss some of the hot topics going on with the Philadelphia Eagles ...
On what has impressed him the most about Eagles quarterback Nick Foles: "The biggest thing that impresses me is just the way that he controls the game, the way he's just comfortable out there. I just have a sense that everything is going to be fine; he gets rid of the ball on time, makes great decisions. He's going to be really a franchise quarterback I believe. He's just going to continue to get better; he's still a young guy in the game, just his second year and to see the progress he's made from his first year to now I think the sky is the limit for Nick, and I'm happy for him and the way he's playing."
On his individual play and the overall play of the Eagles defense recently: "My play, it all starts with the guys up front; Cedric Thornton, Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Damion Square. Our interior defensive linemen, they set the tone for our defense and they're the reason why I'm able to make the plays that I make. Our defense overall, we've just consistently gotten a lot better with the scheme of the defense and the techniques that we're asked to do. Nobody tries to do too much; everybody just does what they can do within the scheme of the defense and it allows us to play better. We've been playing really great red zone defense, not allowing people to get a lot of points on us the last couple of weeks. That's been the turnaround for us."
On how they are preparing for a healthier Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III from the quarterback they played in Week 1: "It may be a lot tougher to get a sack this week against him (laughing). He's moving around really well now. I think he's getting back to himself; that first game we played him of course it was his first game back, his first time seeing live action, so he stayed in the pocket a little bit more. Now I think he's getting back to the RGIII that we saw last year; a guy who is able to make plays outside of the pocket, throwing the ball and also running the ball. It's going to be a totally different game plan for us from that first game to this one; the game has changed up, their offensive scheme has changed up a little bit so we have to do some things differently and try to attack him in a different way."
On what they are going to do this week to snap their 10-game losing streak at home: "We have to turn it around. There is no better week than this week. We've had the lulls at home – it just hasn't gone well for us at home and we haven't found a way to win. It's kind of crazy, we've been getting it done on the road which should be harder to do, (but) we've been struggling at home. This week, this is a perfect opportunity to turn it around and get a win against a divisional opponent. Of course this is a tough game but we need our fans to still stick behind us, get loud when the defense is out there, give us that true homefield advantage. Hopefully we can do some great things to give them something to cheer about."
4. RGIII A YEAR LATER: UPS AND DOWNS IN SEASON TWO
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III is having his ups and downs in his second NFL season, recovering from offseason knee surgery and hoping to get the 3-6 Redskins back to the top of the NFC East. He's heard some criticism from the media, and Griffin is trying to block it all out.
"You take life as it comes. Life's going to throw you curveballs sometimes. You just have got to figure out which ones to try and hit," said Griffin. "Right now, it's not a burden. It's a burden if you make it a burden. You've got to believe. It only takes one person to believe so you can have success. I always believe in this team. I always believe in these players and so on and so on. That's what it is for me. It's not a burden. I understand what comes with being the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. I understand what comes with being a quarterback in the NFL. And yeah, it might be a little harder here because of certain aspects of what goes on around this team. I understand that."
5. EAGLES-REDSKINS: A SPECIAL RIVALRY WITH A TWIST
Washington leads the all-time series, 81-72-6, although the Eagles have won 6 of the last 10 meetings, including a 33-27 win on September 9 to open the 2013 season. Fifty years ago, on November 24, 1963, the teams played only two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The story is being re-told all weekend about a 13-10 Redskins win at Franklin Field. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle insisted that the game be played, saying, "It has been traditional in sports for athletes to perform in times of great personal tragedy. Football was Mr. Kennedy's game. He thrived on competition." Rozelle later said it was the "most regrettable decision" he made in his time as the league's Commissioner.