How did the Eagles game plan for Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had a sensational rookie year but missed all of the preseason with a knee injury? Simple. The Eagles expect nothing different than what the rookie tape provided.
"I think we're going to prepare for the RG III we saw last year," defensive end Cedric Thornton said.
Griffin III played two of his best games last year against the Eagles. In the two Washington wins, Griffin III was 30-of-39 (76.9 percent) for 398 yards with six touchdowns against one interceptions for a 137.6 passer rating. He also had 88 yards on the ground effectively running the read-option to keep defenses off-balance.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis explained that the preseason tape showed that the Redskins are utilizing the same offense as last year. Griffin III's ability to run is the one factor that the Eagles have to account for.
"The offense has not changed a whole lot. It's got a little different dynamic with him because of his skill set," Davis said. "He's one of the top quarterbacks in the league. With him, we are preparing for a healthy RG III and all that comes with it and that's the only way we can prepare defensively.
"I'm sure that if they deem that he's healthy, they are going to run the offense like they ran it last year and had the success where they won the last seven games of the season with him running this offense."
Griffin III told reporters that he will not change his style of play because of the injury. However, Griffin III has not seen a live pass rush nor has he take an hit since he was knocked out of January's Wild Card loss to the Seahawks with a torn ACL and LCL in the right knee.
The Eagles defense is vastly different than the one that battled RG III a year ago. With a 3-4 base front, the Eagles will be aided by practicing against an offense each day that utilizes elements of the Redskins attack.
"We've got (LeSean) McCoy. We've got (Michael) Vick. I think we'll be more prepared," Thornton said. "We went against Michael Vick every day in Training Camp. We went against the best."
Opposing defenses are usually in trouble because they get caught out of position trying to make a play only to be fooled to see the offense is going the other way. Discipline will be key on all three levels of the defense.
"You've got to be patient," linebacker Brandon Graham said. "You just can't run up the field because that's exactly what they want because you create different lanes."
Davis is aware that Monday night will show how much the new defense has progressed. The players are looking forward to making their mark under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
"We're creating our identity and Monday night will be a good point for you guys to see what we're really all about," cornerback Brandon Boykin said.
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