For Eagles’ Defense, ‘Clutch’ Is Routine

Eagles Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis Speaks to PressThere is a portion of Chip Kelly‘s practice called “Clutch Period.”

The music gets turned up as loud as it can go, x-amount of time is put up on the clock, and the first team offense is pitted against the first-team defense. Kelly’s group is trying to score before time expires. Billy Davis‘ unit is trying to get off the field.

It was a familiar feeling, then, when the defense was called on with 3:26 remaining and given the task of keeping RGIII and the Redskins out of the end zone.

“Honestly, Coach Kelly puts us in situations like that every day,” said Vinny Curry. “We’ve been prepared for situations like that, and that’s why you never see anyone on the defense panicking.” Read more »

Vick Hopes To Make the ‘Magic Happen Again’

Michael VickMichael Vick is 6-1 lifetime against the Redskins. He completed 62 percent of his throws in those seven games  (six percentage points above his career average) and posted 10 touchdowns to two interceptions, good for a 110.5 quarterback rating.

Is he just comfortable playing against Washington?

“You’re never comfortable playing any team in this league,” said Vick following Wednesday’s practice. “You could play a team that is 1-14 and you could lose that game easily. I guess I just had some good teams that I was surrounded by at the time and we did whatever it took to win. By no means is the Redskins an easy opponent to beat.”

Vick made it look easy back in November of 2010, when he went off en route to a 59-28 Eagles win. He was 20-of-28 for 333 yards with four touchdowns and scored two more times on the ground. It was arguably the best performance of his 10-year career.

“I really don’t think about that game,” said Vick, “because in this league it’s all about what you do the week prior. Anything besides that doesn’t even matter. I appreciate the things I was able to accomplish that night, always want to do it again, wish I could do it week in and week out. I’m appreciative of it but that was so long ago. I’ve got to make that type of magic happen again this year at some point.”

That game was on Monday night at FedEx Field, just like the one coming up on Sept. 9.

Vick did not play in either game against the Redskins last year. He hasn’t faced Washington since the regular-season finale two years ago — a 34-10 Eagles win. Plenty has changed for both teams since then. Vick’s squad has a new coach and new offensive system. The Redskins have a franchise quarterback in place in Robert Griffin III, who credited Vick earlier in the day for helping to pave the way for him. Vick had some kind words for the second-year signal-caller as well.

“I’m a fan of his just like he’s a fan of mine, and it’s great that you have guys that respect what you do,” said Vick. “I just like the way he plays. I like the desire that he brings to the game. I like his intensity, his heart, the way that he carries himself with his teammates. You can tell that everyone within the organization likes him. That’s the type of person, the type of character that you have to have to be a quarterback in this league.”

Can you learn anything from the way he runs the read option?

“Nah, I was running the read option before RGIII started running the read option,” said Vick. “I pretty much know how to do it. The thing I do respect is the way they do it and the way he did it last year and putting his team in position to excel and be successful week in and week out. It’s a dimension that’s been added and he has taken it to another level. A lot of respect to him for that.”

The two will square off for the first time on Monday night. There are a growing number of dual-threat QBs in the league, and Vick takes pride in knowing that he has contributed in some way to the evolution of the position.

“I knew there would be a time where you have teams with multi-dimensional quarterbacks. You look around and you see Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson and RGIII, that’s three premiere quarterbacks around the league who are the top guys for their football team,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”

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RGIII Says the Eagles Were Showing Heavy Interest

By the way Robert Griffin III tells it, the Eagles were hot for the quarterback heading into April’s draft.

“I met with the Eagles. Coach Reid told me they were very interested in me, that you never know what could happen,” said RGIII. “I really enjoyed my meeting with him but obviously things didn’t work out, so I’m here with the Redskins and I’m proud to be here.”

Washington is happy to have him. Even though the Redskins are tied for last place in the division with the Eagles at 3-6, the fan base is encouraged because of the play of their rookie signal-caller. Griffin has completed 66 percent of his throws for 1,993 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also rushed for 529 yards and six scores.

Of the five rookie quarterbacks that have started this season, RGIII is tops in completion percentage and quarterback ranking (93.9).

On Sunday, Nick Foles will become the sixth member of the rookie class to get a start.

“I didn’t get to know Nick that well throughout our college careers, but I was able to be in the same group, be around him at the combine,” said Griffin. “He’s a really cool guy. All the rookie quarterbacks that I’ve had a chance to meet have all been good, down-to-Earth people who seem like they are pretty good leaders. I don’t know what it is about this class, but every now and then you get a group of guys in the same class…and things just seem to click with those guys.”

Griffin and Foles will square off in Washington Sunday at 1 p.m. Maybe if things broke a little differently, Griffin would be wearing green.

“When I met with the Eagles at the combine that was the first time I thought that they were even thinking about drafting me, or moving up to pick me. Other than that, I just tried to keep an open mind so wherever I went, I’d be happy,” he said.

Andy Reid made it sound like it wasn’t all that hot of a pursuit.

“I love talking to all those quarterbacks, and he was one of them,” said Reid. “We weren’t in a position where we were going to be picking him, but I wanted to see what he was all about. I liked what I saw, yeah.”

It cost the Redskins three first-round picks and a second-round pick to move up four spots — from No. 6 to No. 2 — to select Griffin. The Eagles, starting from the 15th slot, would have had to give up a king’s ransom to make it happen.

Early returns suggest the steep price was worth it for the Redskins.

On Wednesday, RGIII offered some advice for Foles as he gets set to make his first start.

“Take what’s there,” said Griffin. “Coaches are going to put you in a position to make plays, just go make them.”

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