Oct 15, 2011, 2:49 PM EDT
The Eagles will face the surprisingly 3-1 Washington Redskins this week. Here’s a look at what the Skins will field on the offensive side of the ball.
QB Rex Grossman
The man who first called the Redskins the team to beat in the East backed that statement up in his first two starts, throwing for 305 and 291 yards, respectively, and a pair of TDs in each. This continued a trend of big yardage days for Grossman as a Redskins QB, after Rex threw for 300 yards in two of his three starts at the end of last season. However, he came back to earth in week 3, the Skins’ only loss on the season to date, though he still put up 250, a TD, and a pick. In week 4 we saw a bit more of what we’d been expecting from Grossman, when he completed just 15 of 29 against the Rams for 143 yards, a score, and two picks. Rotoworld says Grossman was lucky to only be picked twice, and it would seem the Skins were lucky to win that game given that both interceptions were thrown in the fourth quarter. With some pressure, the Eagles should be able to get him to lob a few up in this one.
RB Ryan Torain
As the Shanahan Backfield Turns, Torain is currently the hot hand in DC. At least, he was before their week 5 bye. It’s anyone’s guess who gets the abundance of carries on Sunday, because Shanny likes to keep everyone guessing, including his own running backs. Torain is plenty good though, when healthy, which is rare, but he currently is. The 6’1, 220 lb RB beat the Eagles for 70 yards on 18 carries last season, which isn’t anything special, but he also a lugged in a TD last season, absolutely trucking Quintin Mikell for the score. More recently, Torain rumbled for 135 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in week 4. Provided he gets the larger share of the carries on Sunday, Torain represents the biggest threat to the Eagles’ ability to contain the Redskins’ offense.
RB Tim Hightower
Dubbed the starter heading into the season, Hightower started strong this year but seems to have lost his RB1 role to Torain at least temporarily. He’s also nicked up, limited in practice all this week despite coming out of the bye. He’s a decent threat on the ground and in the passing game, and along with Torain, could pose a problem for an Eagles defense that has been terrible against the run. Roy Helu could also be in the mix for some carries on Sunday. Whoever looks best early could get the most in this somewhat random backfield distribution, but we assume Torain will carry the load unless his annual injury takes him down. [Update: Looks like Hightower could be third in line, behind Torain and Helu.]
RB Tim Hightower
WR Santana Moss
Moss has a pair of TDs on the season and some decent yardage totals, but hasn’t really broken out yet, with no games over 80 yards receiving nor 6 catches. Despite being 32 years old, Moss is still a big play threat and the most dangerous weapon the Skins have through the air. He could see some gaps in coverage if the running attack sets the Eagles D on its heels, and he won’t need much space to make a difference. Moss will have his hands full though, regardless of which DB he draws.
WR Jabar Gaffney
Yep, the former Eagle is still hanging around, and he’s contributing to the Skins offense on a weekly basis. Gaffney is averaging about 60 yards receiving each week, with 54 as his least and 62 twice. He’s only found the end zone once, but he’s been active in every contest so far, and Rex has found him a handful of times.
WR Anthony Armstrong
Armstrong is nicked up and hasn’t played since week 2, but he looks like he could go on Sunday. He’s a boom or bust guy, who could turn in a meager 20 yards, or could grab one pass for 80 and the house. Armstrong is questionable with a hammy this week. [Update: Armstrong is inactive]
TEs Fred Davis and Chris Cooley
Cooley’s the guy making headlines lately, but that’s only because he made fun of Tony Romo’s penchant for choking away leads in the fourth quarter. Davis, a second-round pick in 2008, found the end zone 6 times last season but has only seen it once in 2011. Still, he’s had two very productive games, though he’s cooled off considerably in his past two showings heading into the bye. Cooley has only seven catches on the season, four of which came in Dallas in week 3, when he also lined up at fullback for a few snaps. Still, despite not setting the world on fire lately, this TE tandem could find some seams in an Eagle defense that isn’t built to stop them.
Photo: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
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