Eagles vs. Redskins: 5 Things We Learned from Philadelphia's 20-13 Win

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IOctober 16, 2011

Eagles vs. Redskins: 5 Things We Learned from Philadelphia's 20-13 Win

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    The losing streak is over. The Philadelphia Eagles are back on the winning side in a tale of two halves. The Eagles dominated the Redskins in the first half, jumping out to a 20-3 lead at halftime but failed to score any points in the second half.

    The Eagles defense played its best game of the season, holding the Redskins to just 42 rushing yards for their best effort of the season. Kurt Coleman and LeSean McCoy both had big games along with Jeremy Maclin.

    The Eagles will head into the bye week still with a lot of work to do. The offense is still inconsistent, the defense still can't cover the tight ends, and turnovers are still a major issue.

    They are still in a great position to get back into contention in the NFC with three straight home games after the bye week against the Cowboys, Bears and Cardinals. If they can take care of business at home, they would be 5-4 with a 2-1 record in the division.

    It wasn't always pretty, but the Eagles got a much-needed win and saved their season.

Eagles Proved They Are Capable of Stopping the Run

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    Juan Castillo and his defensive coaching staff made some adjustments this week against the run and it paid off in a big way as the Eagles held the Redskins to just 42 rushing yards and 13 points. The Eagles offense had two turnovers and zero points in the second half.

    Eagles fans won't fully back Castillo quite just yet, but you have to take your hat off to the job the defense did. The defensive line strayed away from the wide 9 technique at times and it led to a much better performance from the linebackers.

    Castillo should be able to build on this and continue to improve as a defensive coordinator heading into the bye week.

Rex Grossman Is Still the Same Old Rex Grossman

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    The belief that Rex Grossman has matured and isn't the same erratic passer that he was in Chicago appears to have been proven wrong. Grossman had one of the worst games of his career, completing just 40 percent of his passes for a measly 143 yards and four interceptions.

    He actually completed more passes to Eagles safety Kurt Coleman than he did to any Redskins receiver outside of tight end Fred Davis. Grossman was pulled in the second half in favor of John Beck.

    Neither quarterback was overly impressive and it appears Mike Shanahan has created another quarterback controversy in the nation's capital.

    Whether Grossman remains the starter or not, he will be looking over his shoulder at both Shanahan and Beck after every bad play.

Mike Shanahan Was Right; LeSean McCoy Is the Best Back in the NFL

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    Earlier in the week, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said LeSean McCoy might be the best running back in the NFL. On Sunday he was proven right as McCoy finished with 28 carries for 126 yards including some big first-down runs late that put the Redskins away in the final two minutes.

    McCoy scored one touchdown on the ground to become the first player in Eagles history to score a touchdown in each of his first six games to start a season. He now has 692 total yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns through the first six games.

    The Eagles offense truly becomes more dynamic the more touches LeSean McCoy gets. Hopefully, Andy Reid will continue to make sure McCoy is a major part of the offense week in and week out.

The Red-Zone Offense Still Needs Work

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    The Eagles got off to a great start in the red zone, scoring touchdowns in their first two trips inside the 20 in the first half. They would reach the red zone two more times in the first half and just once in the second half. Those final three trips would lead to just six more points, making it 20 points in five red-zone trips.

    The biggest flaw of the Eagles offense this season has been inefficiency in the red zone. They went through a two-game stretch in Week 3 and 4 where they managed just three touchdowns in 12 red-zone trips.

    The Eagles fared better inside the 20 this week, but they still need to find a way to come up with touchdowns at least 50 percent of the time. It's not about Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg creating some crazy gadget plays, it's about better execution and picking up the blitz.

Eagles Safety Position Looks Like a Strength, Not a Weakness

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    Through the first five weeks, the safety position has been a major weakness in the Eagles defense. In Week 6 against the Redskins, no position group was stronger than the safeties.

    Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman combined for 10 total tackles and four interceptions. Both players were great in both pass coverage and in run support.

    The secondary was clearly in need of more support from the safety position, and it looks like the Eagles now have found the right combination with Allen at free safety and Coleman and strong safety.

    Coleman replaced Jarrad Page at strong safety this week. Page was not only benched but did not dress for Sunday's game, either. With Brandon Graham set to come off the PUP list after the bye week, Page will most likely be cut to make room on the roster.

    If both players can continue to get better and Juan Castillo keeps Nnamdi Asomugha in press coverage, the secondary should play on the level we expected them to play at this season.