As the Eagles' offense prepares for Washington this weekend, it knows what to expect from the Redskins' secondary and more specifically, cornerback Josh Norman.
New to the NFC East, Norman is somewhat of a familiar face for the Eagles, who played against him the previous two seasons when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers. However, the receiving corps understands the matchup is going to be a challenge, as does rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Although the cornerback will be battling through a sprained wrist, Philadelphia isn't expecting anything less of the Pro Bowl player.
"We'll be aware of where he's at. He's a playmaker and we've got to know that," Wentz said. "But you know, we respect the heck out of him but at the same time, it doesn't really change our approach too much. We give him his respect and we know what kind of player he is. Like I said, he's a playmaker but we don't dwell on that too much at the same time."
Through the first four games, the Eagles have yet to be really explosive down the field. They are tied for 22nd in the NFL in passing plays of 20-plus yards and are 21st in the league with an average of 11.1 receiving yards per catch.
Wentz, who threw his first interception last week against Detroit, tried to go deep on the throw but was unsuccessful in the final minutes of the game. With Norman in the lineup this time around, it isn't going to be any easier in Week 6.
"Yeah, well, Norman is a great corner. He's got great vision and great instincts," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "He's got some length and good ball skills. Again, I think for Carson, [when facing] guys of that caliber, you look forward to going against the great ones. You really do."
So far this season, the corner has racked up 24 total tackles, eight passes defensed, one interception and one forced fumble. He primarily lines up on the left side of the field, but with his skillset, the Eagles won't be surprised by anything.
Jordan Matthews, who has gone against Norman in the past, knows his opponent will switch sides depending on matchups and is anticipating that he'll line up across from the corner on more than one occasion this weekend. But, the third-year receiver also believes the Redskins' secondary has another major asset up its sleeve – attitude.
"When you have attitude then the guys who come in after that are always able just to pick up on it and do well," Matthews said. "Obviously, you see that when Josh came he brought attitude, so that's always going to help them. Obviously, the team that he left, a little bit of his attitude left too. That's just the reality of it. People don't understand that there's a swagger that comes with that. I feel like he's a testament to how they've been able to do, even with guys out."
One thing is for sure. It's going to be a battle every play for the Eagles and their wide receivers on Sunday.