Thursday, September 13, 2007

A look at Eagles-Redskins

By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine

A big game...already.

Let one slip in this league, especially against a bad team, and the weight shifts violently. Redskins-Eagles is no longer just a formality.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on when the teams hook up Monday night.

Mahe Mahe

Everyone's breathing a bit easier since Reno Mahe was signed...except for maybe Mahe himself. Reports prior to last week's debacle was that the uninspiring but reliable return specialist was badly out of shape, making him more or less a last resort.

Well, Jeremy Bloom turned out to be a bust; Greg Lewis blows his tryout then suffers a hip pointer; JR Reed made a game-deciding gaffe; Lito Sheppard injured his knee...Yep, last resort time.

He'll catch the ball, but expect even less speed than in year's past.

Big man's wheel

Shawn Andrews put forth a poor performance against Green Bay. He was whistled twice for holding calls early and -- along with the rest of the front unit -- offered little protection for Donovan McNabb on the day.

The optimistic view is that he's working to get back to form after being sidelined with an improving ankle injury. The pessimistic slant would suggest this could very well be a season-long ailment, signaling a down year for the big man.

McNabb's comfort level

With the offensive line's poor performance, McNabb was without a secure pocket for most of the game, and lacked the escapability that he has made a career out of.

Without either athleticism or protection to depend on, No. 5's struggle will likely continue.

Eagles D against the run

The last time these two teams met, the Redskins amassed 210 rushing yards, headlined by Ladell Betts' 171 yards on 33 carries. The interior line has been beefed up since and performed well against the Packers, but need to keep it up.
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