The Eagles defense faces a much different test this week in a Redskins offense that features the kind of misdirection that is usually on display in college football. As the Redskins have tailored their offense around the multi-talented skills of quarterback Robert Griffin III, they've also brought back some time-worn football tactics to free either Griffin or running back Alfred Morris as a rusher. As such, preparing for the Redskins this week has been a trip down memory lane for some Eagles defenders.
"I haven't seen this type of offense since my first game of senior year (at Ohio State) when we played Navy, they had a little triple option," said safety Kurt Colema. "It was similar, a little different obviously, but this is just assignment football. Everybody has to do their part, not try to do too much and we should be fine."
"I haven't seen the option in a long time, so looking at it is kind of weird, like 'I have to look at this stuff again?'" said linebacker DeMeco Ryans. "But they cater to (Griffin) well, as a coach they're doing the smart thing putting him in a right position to make plays that suit him. The offense suits him and he does a good job running it."
The Redskins don't just run their plays for gimmick's sake. Through nine games, they've been one of the best running teams in the league, as they rank second with 164.6 rushing yards per game and third with 5.25 rushing yards per play. For an Eagles defense that ranks 15th in rushing defense (and 18th on a per-rush basis), discipline will be one of the keys to success.
"You've got to be disciplined," said defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. "You've got to stay in your gaps, stay in your lanes and, schematically, everybody's got to be in the same place and be on the same page at the same time."
That message has trickled down to Bowles' players.
"We just have to be assignment sound," said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. "Everybody's got assignments and it's going to take a total team effort."
"This game is going to be about assignments and just play what you see, not trying to do too much because they do a lot of different things," said Coleman. "And obviously with Robert Griffin III, he can do a lot of things throwing and running. So as long as we just play our 1/11th, stay within our keys, stay within our defense, we should be fine."
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