The Sports Bash: What to Watch for in Eagles’ Season Opener vs Redskins
Sunday’s season opener against the Washington Redskins will be the first time many of the Eagles starters take the field in game action for 2019 season.
The first-team offense and the first-team defense have spent very little time on the field during the preseason. Even though the Eagles offense has appears to be better on paper after the signing of DeSean Jackson and the addition of Miles Sanders, so little is known about how they will play together.
For the Redskins, they come to town having a lot of questions on the offensive side of the ball. The wide receiving core is limited and new running back Derrius Guice and with an offensive line that has been decimated by Trent Williams' holdout.
Here are things to look for Sunday:
• Can Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Fletcher Cox get off to a good start and maybe get to the quarterback? Jim Schwartz most likely will rotate his defensive line, but those three guys have favorable matchups and should be able to set the tone up-font. Barnett and Cox really had no preseason or a training camp, but they could get off to a solid start facing the left side of the Redskins line with veteran Donald Penn and Ereck Flowers
• The Eagles secondary should have a decided advantage against the Redskins receiving core, which features Paul Richardson, Terry McLaurin and tight end Jordan Reed, if he is healthy, which is always a question.
The Eagles will feature Ronald Darby one one side, another player who had little to no training camp, coming off an injury in 2018, and Sidney Jones on the other side.
• One of the keys of the game is how Carson Wentz keeps everyone involved in the passing game. Two of the keys will be Jackson and Dallas Goedert, both will be looking for a slice of the pie, how will that effect Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery in the passing game this season. Don't forget Nelson Agholor should be better back in the slot and the return of Darren Sproles, plus rookies Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
It will be interesting to see if the Eagles add some packages for Arcega-White-side after a solid preseason and how much work Goedert will get in the offense with Ertz.
And keep in mind, the offense barely played together in the preseason, many players didn't step n the field at all, something Doug Pederson addressed on Friday.
Yeah, there are a few things. Without getting into game plan specific stuff, obviously you can rely a little more on the run game. A little bit. Settle your quarterback in maybe with some short to intermediate passes, whatever it might be to kind of settle the guys in.
There is going to be a lot of energy early in this football game. Both sides are going to be, you know, a lot of juice, a lot of energy in this football game, and so how we manage that early also can lead to the success we have on the football field from an execution standpoint.
• Another player to watch is Brandon Brooks. Sunday will be his first time on the field since tearing his Achillies less then nine months ago. His return will have the entire starting offensive line back together from a season ago, something that is rare in today's NFL.
Ryan's Rothstein's Take: If the Redskins want any chance of winning this game, they will need to get pressure from their defensive line on Wentz. I'm looking at the Eagles offensive line and their ability to protect Wentz, and limit the Redskins pressure up-the-middle. I see the offensive line having a strong game on the way to a Eagles win.
The Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 13
Geoff Mosher's Take: the key to this game is pressuring Case keenum to create turnovers and set up easy opportunities for the offense.
The Pick: Eagles 34, Redskins 21
Mike Gill's Take: The Eagles defensive rust is a little of concern, but the Redskins lack of skill on offense is just what the doctor ordered for Week 1. The left side of the Washington offensive line should be exploited and create issues for the Redskins passing game.
The Eagles offense will be challenged by a very good Redskins defense, which is led by Ryan Kerrigan, who has given the Eagles issues in the past. However, he Eagles have enough weapons to get things together, expect a sloppy first half, but the offense should pull away late in the game.
The Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 13
ESPN Sr. NFL Insider KC Joyner Breaks on Eagles vs Redskins: