Zone Read: Eagles-Redskins, the Day After
GAME BALL DEFENSE: FLETCHER COX
Brandon Boykin will get plenty of love – and rightfully so – for his game-ending interception. But Griffin doesn’t make that throw unless he’s being pressured. Cox lined up at left defensive end, was double-teamed, got around the edge and shoved Griffin to the ground as he released the ball.
“I had it in my head that something had to happen,” Cox said. “I knew a big play was coming, so I stayed calm and I got pressure on [RGIII] and he threw the ball and Boykin picked it off.”
Griffin didn’t actually see the interception. He was face down on the grass when the ball was picked off.
Earlier in the game, Cox snatched the ball out of mid-air after Barwin sacked Griffin. He finished with five tackles and a batted pass. Cox is playing at a high level on a weekly basis.
“I know he has not got the sacks, but I’m happy everybody is recognizing how well he’s playing because I know inside the locker room, we see it every week the amount of pressure he gets, what he does in that two-gap scheme,” Barwin said. “He didn’t come into the league as a two-gapper, what he does in the run game, I think he’s playing as good as anybody at that position in the entire league.”
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID
“I feel like just personally I’ve been improving every game as an outside linebacker… or D-Tackle, D-End or cornerback… whatever you want to call it [laughter].” – TRENT COLE
The veteran has been used in a variety of roles in what has been an up-and-down season. But he had a pair of sacks against the Redskins.
Last Thursday, when Cole strolled into the locker room after practice, this magazine was hanging at his stall, courtesy of one of his teammates or coaches.
Who says those little motivational tactics don’t work? The Eagles have the Cardinals in two weeks. Has Carson Palmer been on the cover of any magazines recently?
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. We have to give a little love to special teams in this space. Before the Redskins’ final drive, Donnie Jones booted a 70-yard bomb that went out of bounds at the Washington 4-yard-line. Special teams are all about putting the offense and defense in advantageous situations. And that’s exactly what Jones did.
“It was huge, to make them go that far, to get us out of that situation that we were in,” Kelly said. “That’s what I kind of think contributed. We were moving in the first half, got a chance to jump out to a really good lead. I thought our defense played really good all game. For our special teams to contribute like that, that’s what it takes. To win in a division, you have to play well in all three phases. I thought that punt was huge for us.”
2. Boykin has been great as a gunner on the punt coverage team all year. In the first half, he helped down a punt at the Redskins’ 2. I asked him when he found out he was going to fill that gunner role for special-teams coach Dave Fipp.
“Coach Fipp told me probably in camp,” Boykin explained. “It was after we practiced against New England. And I went down there and I smashed [Julian] Edelman or somebody, and he’s like ‘Alright, you better be ready for the season.’
“I did it at Georgia my freshman year, and I loved it. That was all I could do as a freshman. I couldn’t really play. So it’s a huge part of the game. Like I said, it’s field position. People notice it. It’s a good thing for us.”
3. Another week, another question about the Eagles’ process for challenging calls. In the first quarter, Alfred Morris was pushed out of bounds on what should have been a 1-yard gain. But the official to that side of the field was trying to avoid getting crushed by Bennie Logan on the play.
Morris spun upfield and ended up gaining 9 yards.
FOX did a great job of showing the replay instantly, and it was clear: Morris stepped out of bounds.
The Redskins rushed up to the line of scrimmage, but about 12 seconds passed from the time the replay was shown to when they snapped the ball.
Maybe Kelly felt the 8-yard difference wouldn’t have been worth the challenge, but we seem to be inching closer and closer to a challenge mishap costing this team a victory.
4. You can view the following comment from Griffin as either a sign of a sinking ship in Washington or a compliment to the Eagles’ coaching staff.
“They did a good job of scheming us up,” Griffin said. “They kind of knew what was coming before it was coming and that was disheartening. But like I told the guys, regardless of what’s going on out there, we’re the players and we have to make the plays work, and we just weren’t doing that in the first half.”
Griffin’s words connect with what Cox said afterwards.
“I think I got into a rhythm going into the game,” Cox said. “Actually a few of the plays I called them out before they happened. It all came from studying film and knowing when things were going to happen before they happened.”
5. You may have noticed Foles shaking his arm out quite a bit after taking a hit in the first half.
“I just got it banged-up,” he said. “I sort of landed on it a little bit, but I was trying to keep it warm because I really didn’t know what was going on. I had a shoulder injury in high school, and I knew the key that when you get banged up is to keep it warm. So I was making sure, especially on that drive I was throwing a lot, I didn’t want it to get tight because then you don’t want to drop back and all of a sudden you don’t really know what is going on and you can’t throw it. So I made sure that I could continue to keep it warm and it feels great and no problem, I threw the rest of the game.”
Foles didn’t miss a snap. He was 4-for-9 for 125 yards before the hit and 13-for-17 for 173 yards after the hit.
Extra Point: Anyone else notice that Kelly took his nickname usage to another level yesterday? ‘Boyk’ made a play and ‘Ertzy’ had a nice run in there. Are these hockey nicknames? Baseball nicknames? A combination of the two? I’m not sure, but it’s something to give a lot of thought to during the bye week.