The Redskins tallied 169 rushing yards against the Eagles last Sunday. Many of the yards came on stretch plays where the outside linebacker needs to help turn the ballcarrier back towards the middle of the field. And with Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers on the horizon for this defense, it is imperative that the Eagles do everything possible to stifle the run game.
That is why head coach Andy Reid announced on Wednesday that Moise Fokou will split practice reps with incumbent starter Akeem Jordan at the strongside linebacker position.
"A lot of teams have been running the ball well on us in the past. I think that's one of our priorities right now. We definitely have to stop the run in order to allow other things to work," Fokou said. "I'm there to instill a physical presence. That's the mentality I'm going in there with."
Fokou entered training camp as the starter on the strong side, but was quickly supplanted by Jordan. Just a week prior to the Redskins game, Jordan had one of his best games as a pro. He tallied five total tackles, two of them for loss, and a pass breakup in the Eagles' rout of Jacksonville. Fokou started five games, including playoffs, as a rookie last season. Fokou said that he feels comfortable with the defensive scheme even though he hasn't seen much playing time so far this season.
"I'm out there working hard every day preparing like I'm the starter. I'm a football player. This is what I do," Fokou said. "Every week, I'm training for this. I'm working for this. I know how to do this. We're just going to prepare hard and see what happens on Sunday. I don't know if this is the start of it, but at the same time I'm looking to help wherever I can."
Jordan, meanwhile, simply said that after every game he doesn't play well in he knows there's a chance he could lose his job. Jordan believes that Fokou is a "great linebacker" and that there will be "no dropoff." Fokou thinks the same of Jordan.
"He's still a very good linebacker and can step in at anytime," Fokou said. ""Akeem does things better than I do, and I do things better than Akeem does.""
Gore is not the only concern of the Eagles defense this week. Tight end Vernon Davis to worry about had a breakout season in 2009 with 13 touchdown receptions. Last year, Davis had a quiet day against the Eagles with just three catches for 43 yards. Fokou knows Davis quite well from their days at the University of Maryland.
"I feel like I've always been kind of a hybrid linebacker; pretty good on the run and pretty good in coverage as well," Fokou said. "So, I think having me in there trying to take away the run game and the pass game is probably more suitable."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:55 p.m., October 6