Report: Bowles In Mix For Temple Job

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.Temple has contacted Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles about its vacant head-coaching position, an NFL source tells

According to, Bowles will interview for the position today.

Bowles was a defensive back for the Owls from 1982 to 1985. He has never been a head coach at the college level, but served as defensive coordinator at Morehouse College in 1997 and Grambling State in 1998-99.

After serving as the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins at the end of last year, Bowles joined Andy Reid’s staff as the secondary coach in the offseason. He was promoted to defensive coordinator after Reid fired Juan Castillo earlier this season. The Eagles’ defense was terrible through six games under Bowles, allowing opponents to complete 76.3 percent of their passes with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions. But the Eagles showed signs of improvement yesterday against the Bucs.

Former Owls coach Steve Addazio left Temple last week to take the Boston College position.

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Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Defense Vs. Bucs’ Offense

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans.Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Bucs’ offense.

1. As always, we start with what’s important: draft positioning. If the season ended today, the Eagles would have the fourth overall pick. The teams ahead of them are the Raiders, Jaguars and Chiefs. Oakland already lost Thursday night and is 3-10 going into the final three. Kansas City is at Cleveland, and Jacksonville hosts the Jets. Those are the two early games to keep an eye on (as you chat with us during Eagles-Bucs, of course). According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles have an 8.6 percent chance at getting the top pick and a 48 percent chance of landing a top-three selection.

2. The Bucs enter Sunday’s game fourth in the NFL, averaging 27.8 points per game. Football Outsiders has them 10th in overall offense – 11th in passing and eighth in rushing. Tampa is coming off back-to-back losses to the Falcons and Broncos. The Eagles, meanwhile, have lost eight in a row and are coming off a 38-33 loss to the Cowboys. They are 26th in scoring defense, allowing 26.7 points per game. Football Outsiders has the Eagles ranked 25th defensively – 31st against the pass and eighth against the run. According to their numbers, only the Raiders have been worse against the pass this season.

3. Tampa’s offense starts with rookie running back Doug Martin, who is third in the NFL with 1,106 yards. Only Adrian Peterson (17) and C.J. Spiller (11) have more runs of 20+ yards than Martin (9). According to Pro Football Focus, Martin has broken 47 tackles, tied with Peterson for most in the league. Only Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch have carried the ball more than him (236 attempts). Martin’s coming off a pair of sub-par outings against the Falcons and Broncos, where he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry on 39 attempts. Opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry (13th) against the Eagles.

4. Most of Martin’s runs (67.4 percent) have come out of two-back sets, according to STATS, Inc. He’s averaged 5.6 yards per carry on those attempts. That means the Eagles will be in their base personnel for much of the game. DeMeco Ryans has shown up every week, but he didn’t play particularly well against the Cowboys. Akeem Jordan played poorly. And Mychal Kendricks was up-and-down. The Eagles will be without Mike Patterson (illness). Asked if the defense will still rotate defensive linemen, coordinator Todd Bowles said, “They’ll rotate. You still have to let Coach [Tommy] Brasher get comfortable with the guys and then we kind of react and go from there as he gets more comfortable with them at the end of the week, seeing what they can and can’t do from his own eyes. I’d like to give him a fresh perspective on that.”

5. Josh Freeman ranks 31st in the NFL, completing just 55.9 percent of his passes. But he’s in luck because opponents are completing 76.3 percent of their passes against the Eagles since Bowles took over. Freeman’s averaging 7.74 yards per attempt (sixth). He’s tossed 23 touchdowns (sixth) and just eight interceptions. In the last six games, the Eagles have given up 16 touchdown passes and come up with no interceptions. On the season, opponents are completing 62.2 percent of their passes against the Eagles (17th) and averaging 7.8 yards per attempt (26th). Only four defenses have allowed more touchdown passes than the Birds (23).

6. Vincent Jackson is one of the league’s premier vertical threats. He’s got 50 catches for 1,014 yards in his first season with Tampa and is averaging 20.3 yards per reception, which is tops in the NFL. Only Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Reggie Wayne have more catches of 20+ yards than Jackson (19). While the Bucs like to run the ball, they’ll take plenty of shots downfield. According to Pro Football Focus, 15.9 percent of Freeman’s attempts have traveled 20 yards or more downfield. That is third in the league, behind only Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck. Eagles safeties Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have played poorly all season. Coleman’s out with a chest injury, and Colt Anderson will get the start. The Eagles will try to avoid complete breakdowns in the secondary for the first time in weeks.

7. Third-year receiver Mike Williams has also been productive with 43 catches for 718 yards (16.7 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. As for the Eagles, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie seems to be getting worse every week.

“As I look at film just from a personal standpoint, in my head I have a whole lot of wows,” he told Tim last week. “Like, ‘Wow, what are you doing?’ At some point, I think as the season keeps going bad, bad, you try to fight so hard and don’t want to do wrong until you end up just doing wrong and you don’t allow yourself to just go out and be [yourself].”

Not only is Rodgers-Cromartie giving up too many big plays, but he continues to consistently shy away from contact. And according to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers-Cromartie leads all cornerbacks with 11 penalties.

8. Up front, left tackle Donald Penn has started every game for Tampa since the start of the 2008 season, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2010. He’ll go up against Trent Cole, who was not a factor last week against the Cowboys and has just two sacks on the season. Vinny Curry played just 19 snaps last week. That number needs to increase. Tampa is without All-Pro guard Carl Nicks. The Eagles’ pass-rush was non-existent in the second half of last week’s loss to the Cowboys. Fletcher Cox, Curry, Phillip Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton combined for no sacks and no hurries. Brandon Graham had 1.5 sacks, four hurries and eight tackles – the most by any Eagles defensive end in a single game all season. Freeman has been sacked just 17 times all season.

9. The Eagles have just 10 takeaways through 12 games. That’s the second-fewest total in the league, ahead of only the Colts. The Bucs, meanwhile, have just 12 giveaways. In the NFC, only the Redskins have fewer.  Overall, the Eagles are minus-18 in turnover differential. Only the Chiefs (-21) are worse.

10. Leftovers: According to Football Outsiders, opponents are starting drives at the 30.28 yard line against the Eagles, the second-worst mark in the league. …The Eagles are sixth in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score touchdowns 45 percent of the time. The Bucs are the second-best red-zone offense in the league, scoring touchdowns 66.7 percent of the time. …Tampa is converting on 34 percent of its third-down chances (26th). The Eagles are 21st in third-down defense, allowing conversions 39.7 percent of the time.

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Bowles: Washburn Was Never a Problem For Me

Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Jim WashburnAmid reports that Jim Washburn had become a disruptive, divisive presence on the Eagles’ coaching staff, Todd Bowles said today he never had an issue with the defensive line coach.

“Me and Wash had a good relationship,” Bowles said. “Wash is a good man, and he’s a good coach. He was never a problem for me.”

Did Bowles have any input into Andy Reid’s decision to let Washburn go?

“No, I found out when everybody else found out,” he said. “I didn’t have any input.”

Bowles also refuted the idea that Washburn’s dismissal now gives him full authority over the defense, saying he’s had that authority since he was named defensive coordinator.

Even though the move came with just four games left, Bowles said he’s not surprised by anything in the league anymore.

“You take a coaching job in this league, you learn not to get surprised by anything,” Bowles said. “But things happen during the course of the year. Players get hurt, coaches get let go, that’s called body blows that you have to take and just move forward.

“Everybody’s responsible, the way we’ve been playing. Wash wasn’t let go, made out to be a scapegoat or anything like that, but moving forward, we’re all responsible to do our jobs as coaches and players.”

As for the players, Eagles defensive linemen continue to stick up for Washburn. We’ve previously heard from Brandon Graham and Cullen Jenkins. And today, Fletcher Cox, who has had an outstanding rookie season under Washburn, praised his old defensive line coach.

“I was a little surprised when I heard it happened,” Cox said. “And I got a little sad or whatever, but I also realize that this is a business and you see players in and out. Same thing for coaches. Coach Wash, he was a great coach. Everything he knew, he laid out on the table for us. He lost his job, and Coach Reid brought somebody new in. We’ve just got to learn what Coach Tommy [Brasher] likes to do.

Cox didn’t get a chance to see Washburn before he was dismissed, but has gotten in touch with him since.

“I texted him, sent him a message, let him know that I’ll stay in touch with him,” Cox said. “No matter what happened, I’ll stay in touch with him.”

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Reid On Washburn: I Was Disappointed In Some Things

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy ReidAndy Reid didn’t want to go into full detail, but he made it pretty clear Monday afternoon that Jim Washburn’s firing had to do with more than just the defensive line’s inability to get to the quarterback.

“I’m not going to sit here and go into great detail on the whys that I’m doing it, other than I think it’s the best thing for the Philadelphia Eagles football team that I made that move,” Reid said. “This was a move that I made. Nobody else made this move. And that’s important for you to understand. This isn’t a move to save my job. That’s not what that is. This is a move that I think needed to be done now so I did it now.”

A report by Reuben Frank paints Washburn as a disruptive force who undermined the Eagles’ defensive coordinators – going as far as calling Juan Castillo “Juanita” and speaking to him condescendingly in front of players. Reid was asked if it’s fair to say Washburn’s dismissal was not football-related.

“He’s a good football coach,” Reid said. “He’s a good football coach, and I think it was just maybe a give and take. I think he’s going to have a great career down the road with somebody else. …It just didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to work out.”

In other words, yes, that is fair to say.

“I will tell you there were just things that I was disappointed in,” Reid said. “… I just thought it was the right thing to do right now.”

The fact that Reid’s making the move with just four games left indicates that he felt he just had to get Washburn away from the players and coaches immediately. He said he made the move this morning, but had been thinking about it before then.

“It was done this morning,” Reid said. “It wasn’t all about this game. That’s not what it was. It was just something I had been pondering and working through. And I just thought it was the right time.”

Of course, it must be pointed out once again that Washburn’s failure is Reid’s failure. Reid is the one who decided to add the defensive line coach in the first place. Asked if he second-guessed the decision to add Washburn before naming a defensive coordinator, Reid said, “No, that’s not how I feel.”

In the last 39 days, Reid has fired Castillo, released Jason Babin and now dismissed Washburn. With four weeks to go until the season is over, we wait to see what the next shoe to drop will be.

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Under Bowles, Eagles Secondary In Tatters

A sad and maybe symbolic scene unfolded in the Eagles locker room just before reporters were ushered out late Sunday night. A pained Kurt Coleman, who needed assistance getting his shirt off moments before, walked up to Nate Allen and humbly asked if he would be able to put his deodorant on for him, as he was unable to lift his arms to do it  himself. Allen sustained a shoulder injury in the game and was also limited. But using his good arm, he dutifully performed the task for his fellow safety.

Officially, Coleman was listed with a chest contusion. But he was hurting bad, and it wasn’t all physical.

“It’s a little bit of everything right now,” said Coleman, his voice unable to get above a whisper.

“This sucks. It just sucks. I can’t piece one thing…it just sucks right now…We knew what we were doing, we knew what they were doing. It’s inexcusable really. We’re trying as hard as we can but that’s not enough, we have to be able to execute all the time.”

Coleman and Allen have contributed to a secondary that has fallen apart since Todd Bowles took over as defensive coordinator for Juan Castillo back in mid-October. The numbers are disturbing: Through the first six games, the Eagles were holding opponents to 52.7 percent completions – the top mark in the league. In the following six games under Bowles, that number has shot up to 76.3 percent with 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Tony Romo was 22-of-27 for 303 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 150.5 quarterback rating. He did not have a single incompletion in the second half.

Communication breakdowns. Missed tackles. Lost battles. It all contributed to yet another meltdown.

“As I look at film just from a personal standpoint, in my head I have a whole lot of wows,” said Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “Like, ‘Wow, what are you doing?’ At some point, I think as the season keeps going bad, bad, you try to fight so hard and don’t want to do wrong until you end up just doing wrong and you don’t allow yourself to just go out and be [yourself].”

Rodgers-Cromartie appears to have gone backwards under Bowles as a cover corner. As a result, his deficiencies as a tackler stand out more. There were multiple occasions Sunday night when these vulnerabilities came to light, including on Dez Bryant‘s six-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter where the receiver bullied his way right past the former Pro Bowler.

“[Second]-and-goal, I’m playing off him and I read screen, and I just have to keep running my feet. I know he’s a big, strong guy but me going low on him does no justice, so I tried to wrap up, stay high and push him out of bounds,” said DRC.

“I can tackle. Aggressive like a safety? No. But I can tackle.”

The safeties have been having their own issues, to put it mildly. Coleman has been victimized by play-action far too much, and he and Nnamdi Asomugha continue to struggle to get onto the same page. Allen has not fared much better.

“Sometimes, some things are going to happen. It’s part of the game,” said Allen. “You just have to put yourself in the right position to make plays.”

But they haven’t been. They haven’t forced a turnover since November 5 against the Saints. That’s a month-long drought.

“It shouldn’t happen,” said Andy Reid. “I go back and it’s a combination of things. Coaching and playing. We’re all in this together.”

The losing, the ineffectivess, has taken its toll. Coleman stood by his locker after the game unable to undress himself and emotionally taxed. DeMeco Ryans called over to him, and Coleman just shook his head as tears began to well in his eyes. It is a team, a defense, in dire straits.

“This is a team that’s too good not to execute on all cylinders,” said Coleman, pain rolling through his voice. “But I trust my guys, I believe in them. I’m going to continue to push them, and them me, just because I know this team really is good. It just sucks that it hasn’t been able to play out that way.”

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Bowles: ‘It’s a Messed-Up Situation’

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.When answering a barrage of questions about what exactly is going on with the Eagles’ defense right now, Todd Bowles made it clear that his players are failing to properly execute the simplest of assignments.

“The first one was high school cover-3,” Bowles said after the team’s 30-22 loss to the Panthers. “The ball was thrown down the middle of the field. We gave up a touchdown. Inexcusable. The second one was inexcusable too.”

The first one he’s referring to was Cam Newton’s 24-yard touchdown to tight end Gary Barnidge. It looked like safety Kurt Coleman was caught out of position. Barnidge had three catches all season entering Monday night’s game. The score was his first career touchdown.

The second one was a 43-yarder to Brandon LaFell. The Eagles probably should have been aware of LaFell’s ability to make plays downfield. He led the Panthers with 12 catches of 20+ yards entering Monday night’s game. Yet there he was, streaking down the middle of the field, wide-open for the score.

“The second long one was a bust,” Bowles said. “It was inexcusable. Shouldn’t have happened. Everybody knew where they were supposed to be. They weren’t there.”

Why is that still happening at this point in the season?

“I wish I could tell you,” Bowles said.

“They can’t happen. Not at this level, not at this stage of the game, not after what we’ve been through. And everybody has to own up to their responsibility.

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what’s led to a complete implosion by the Eagles’ defense. Through the first six games, with Bowles coaching the secondary and Juan Castillo serving as defensive coordinator, the Eagles led the league in opponents’ completion percentage (52.3). Here are the results since then:

Completion %
Matt Ryan222975.9%2629.030
Drew Brees212777.8%2398.920
Tony Romo192673.1%2098.020
Robert Griffin III141593.3%20013.340
Cam Newton182864.3%30610.920

Opponents are completing 75.2 percent of their passes against the Eagles in the five games since Bowles took over. They are averaging 9.7 yards per attempt with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Not much,” said safety Nate Allen when asked what’s changed under Bowles. “We haven’t changed much. Just put in a few things here and there.  Nothing we can’t handle though.”

Evidence would suggest otherwise.

Bowles’ comments indicate he thinks the players might not be good enough. But he held off from going that far when asked if he had the right personnel to work with.

“I believe we do,” he said. “Everybody’s got to do their own job. Everybody’s got to look at themselves in the mirror and try to get something done. I mean, if you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and take onus on what you did, then you’re not the guy you thought you were.”

Bowles said he might make changes in terms of personnel. But really, that’s not going to accomplish much at this point in the season. Maybe you try to see what you have with unknowns like cornerback Curtis Marsh and safety David Sims. But at 3-8, with the entire coaching staff likely to be gone in a matter of weeks, the Eagles’ season is past the point of no return.

Nnamdi Asomugha was asked if he thought Bowles had any other options besides changing personnel.

“You stick with those people or those groups and you coach them harder,” Asomugha said. “And those players obviously have to take it more – I don’t want to say seriously because they’re taking it seriously – but obviously have to be mentally focused a little bit more than they have been.

“Obviously what Todd has done, I’ve supported, we support. There’s some things that mentally we need to be sharper on.”

As for Bowles, this season has turned into a complete disaster. Thrust into the spotlight midseason as defensive coordinator, he had an opportunity to continue to build on an already strong reputation. Instead, he’s directed a defense that has completely collapsed in the last five games.

“It’s depressing,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the team. We’re just trying to win ballgames. And for that not to happen and [for] us to lose as many games as we did in a row, that’s inexcusable. It’s unacceptable. It’s disheartening. And I feel like everybody else feels. It’s a messed-up situation.”

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bryce Brown Gets His Chance

Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce BrownLeSean McCoy doesn’t like to take a breather.

He’s played 610 snaps on the season, the most of any running back in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. McCoy led the league in playing time last year as well.

But on Monday night, the Eagles will see what life’s like without McCoy, as the running back continues to recover from a concussion he sustained during the final two minutes of last week’s loss to the Redskins. McCoy just turned 24 in July. He’ll continue to carry the load for years to come. But it’s still important for the Eagles to find the right back to complement his talents.

Enter Bryce Brown.

The seventh-round pick will get a chance to be the No. 1 guy against the Panthers. The last time Brown carried the ball 10 times in a game was 2009 with Tennessee. The last time he carried it 15 times was high school.

“You just watch him and talk to him on the sideline and make sure he’s doing alright,” Andy Reid said Friday. “I know Dion [Lewis] can step in and play, so there’s a time and a place where we’ll do that with him.”

Finding the right complement to McCoy has not been easy. In 2010, Mike Bell turned out to be a flop. Jerome Harrison was a nice fit, but he left for Detroit in the offseason. The Eagles tried to re-acquire him last year, but Harrison was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The Ronnie Brown experiment was a failure in 2011. And the Eagles spent a fifth-round pick on Dion Lewis, but he’s had pretty much no role on offense since entering the league.

Bryce Brown appears to be in position to fill the role nicely. At 6 feet, 223 pounds, he could offer a nice change of pace to McCoy. Brown has 32 carries for 141 yards (4.4 YPC) on the season. In the last three games, he’s carried 12 times for 85 yards (7.1 YPC). We don’t know what he’s capable as a receiver, but Brown’s made strides in pass protection.

While Brown’s primary role has been to spell McCoy for one or two snaps at a time, Monday presents a chance to show he’s capable of more. For some, the matchup with the Panthers has little meaning. For Brown, it’s another important step in carving out his spot in the league.


With Michael Vick progressing in his recovery, Reid and the Eagles will soon have to decide how to proceed at quarterback. T-Mac explains right here.

Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder used the words “fuzzy” and “fatigued” to describe McCoy.

Weeks after firing him as defensive coordinator, Reid touted Juan Castillo as a potential college head coach.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING’s Adam Schefter takes a look at Reid’s decision to go from Castillo to Todd Bowles:

Maybe the Eagles needed former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo more than they realized. With Castillo as their defensive coordinator in the first six games this season, the Eagles ranked among the three best teams in the league in terms of opponent completion percentage, yards per attempt and Total QBR. But since they fired Castillo on Oct. 16, the Eagles rank last in the NFL in all three of those categories as they head into Monday night’s game versus Carolina.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera expects Monday night to be special for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. From Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer:

The Eagles-Panthers matchup on “Monday Night Football” might not move the meter in middle America. But it’s a special game for McDermott, whether he admits it or not.

“He hasn’t let anybody see it,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “(But) this is a chance for him to show what he’s capable of.”

In other words, to show Eagles coach Andy Reid he let the wrong guy go.


A Sunday without an Eagles game. But we’ll have some fresh content throughout the day.

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Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Defense Vs. Redskins’ Offense

Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Redskins’ offense:

1. The Redskins are averaging 25.1 points per game (11th). Football Outsiders ranks them 14th overall – 18th passing and second rushing. The Eagles are giving up 24.6 points per game (22nd). They are 13th in Football Outsiders’ rankings – 13th against the pass and 14th against the run. Washington has managed just 25 points in the past two games (both losses) against the Panthers and Steelers. The Redskins have lost three in a row and four of their last five. They are coming off a bye. The Eagles have lost five straight. Both teams enter the game with a 3-6 record.

2. With Washington, we must of course start with Robert Griffin III. The second overall pick in last year’s draft is completing 65.6 percent of his passes (eighth) and averaging 7.61 yards per attempt (seventh). He’s thrown eight touchdowns and been intercepted just three times in 262 attempts. Among NFL starters, only Tom Brady is being picked off at a lower rate. The Eagles have just seven interceptions all season (tied for 19th). We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the giveaways. But the Eagles have produced just 10 takeaways. Only three teams in the NFL have fewer.

3. While Griffin has a healthy yards-per-attempt number, that doesn’t mean he’s chucking it downfield a lot. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. According to Pro Football Focus, only 6.9 percent of his attempts have traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. That’s the second-lowest percentage in the NFL, ahead of only Christian Ponder. And 189 of Griffin’s 262 attempts, or 72.1 percent, have been within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Eagles’ passing defense has been picked apart the last three games, allowing opponents to complete 75.6 percent of their passes. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo averaged 8.7 yards per attempt and tossed seven touchdowns without an interception.

4. Eagles players and coaches talked this week about needing to be disciplined. One reason is the Redskins’ use of play-action. Griffin’s run play-action on 36.3 percent of his throws, the highest percentage in the league, per PFF. It’s been incredibly effective too. Griffin’s completing 66.7 percent of his play-action passes and averaging 11.3 yards per attempt (third-highest). The Eagles have been susceptible to play-action all season long. Teams have not had much success blitzing Griffin. According to STATS, Inc., he’s completing 59.6 percent of his passes and averaging 9.1 yards per attempt (5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) against extra pressure. The Eagles had some success blitzing Romo last week. One look had Nnamdi Asomugha rushing the passer.

5. Griffin could have an even higher completion percentage, but the Redskins have dropped 24 of his passes on the season, per PFF. Josh Morgan leads the Redskins with 29 catches and 42 targets. Leonard Hankerson leads the team with 342 receiving yards (41 targets). Griffin spreads the ball around. Washington has four different receivers with 20+ catches and five receivers with at least 200 yards. Eight different receivers have at least two catches of 20+ yards; Hankerson and Santana Moss lead the team with five apiece. Moss leads the team with five touchdown catches; no other receiver has more than one. The Redskins lost tight end Fred Davis (24 catches, 325 yards) to an Achilles injury. Pierre Garcon, who has only played in three games, could return from a foot injury. For the Eagles, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has struggled as of late. He leads all cornerbacks with nine penalties, per PFF.

6. The Redskins are one of the top rushing teams in the league. They average 31.3 runs per game, second-most in the NFC. Their 5.3 yards-per-carry average is second to only the 49ers. And the Redskins have run for 12 touchdowns (second-most). Griffin leads all quarterbacks with 529 rushing yards and is averaging 9.0 yards per attempt. Griffin has three runs of 20+ yards, but has fumbled eight times. Alfred Morris, a rookie sixth-round pick, is seventh in the league with 793 rushing yards. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry. The Eagles are allowing 4.2 yards per carry. The last two weeks, the Saints and Cowboys came out and ran all over them early in the game. This week poses a much bigger challenge.

7. The Redskins’ offensive line features Trent Williams (LT), Kory Lichtensteiger (LG), Will Montgomery (center), Chris Chester (RG) and Tyler Polumbus (RT). Williams, the fourth overall pick in 2010, will match up with Trent Cole, who has not produced at his usual level this season. The Redskins have allowed 21 sacks. Jason Babin has one hurry and no sacks in his last three games. Fletcher Cox had his best game as a pass-rusher last week with a sack and six hurries. Rookie Vinny Curry continues to wait for a chance to play. He’s one of two second-round picks yet to see the field this year (the other is 49ers RB LaMichael James).

8. Let’s get back to the theme of staying disciplined against this offense, using an example from the Redskins-Panthers game. Look at how Washington is set up pre-snap.

Eight blockers at the line of scrimmage with Griffin and the running back directly behind him. The Panthers have to respect the run. But Griffin executes a nice play-fake.

You can see Griffin’s back is to the defense as Panthers players react to a possible run. Meanwhile, tight end Logan Paulsen leaks out into his route.

The outside receiver runs a deep out, attracting the only two defenders on that side of the field. Griffin rolls to his left and hits Paulsen for a 12-yard gain.

9. The Eagles will see a lot of Washington’s triple-option attack. That means pressure particularly on the defensive ends. Take a look at this play from the Panthers game.

Griffin fakes the handoff to the tailback and gets pretty much the entire defense going that way.

Again, the key is the defensive end. You can see he’s still attacking the tailback even after Griffin has gotten outside. The Redskins now have a major numbers advantage. There’s one linebacker in the picture. Griffin can either keep it or toss it to the right. The linebacker looks to funnel the play inside where he has help.

Meanwhile, Chris Cooley is out there to block him when he finally does try to attack the ball. The result is a 9-yard gain, as Griffin slides feet-first and avoids contact.

Really good breakdown of the Redskins’ triple option attack right here on

10. The Redskins are 14th in red-zone offense, scoring touchdowns 53.6 percent of the time. The Eagles are seventh in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns 41.4 percent of the time. …The Redskins have been terrible on third down, converting just 28.6 percent of the time (31st). …The Eagles’ third-down defense is eighth, allowing conversions 35.1 percent of the time. …Good job here by Chris Brown of Grantland, explaining how the Redskins have adapted their offense to fit Griffin’s strengths.

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Will Curry Finally Get His Chance?

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.Vinny Curry sat at his locker Thursday afternoon, bumping some Michael Jackson from his phone as he got ready for practice.

Minutes earlier, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was asked what the Eagles’ second-round pick needs to show in practice to get on the field.

“I think he’s doing everything he can do,” Bowles said. “He’s working hard. He’s hungry. He’s doing a lot of the right things. But you’ve got six other guys that are hungry also and doing the right things. By gameplan and how we see it, and how you can bring him up and bring him down, it’s just a tough deal. You’ve got about seven tough players over there.”

Is Bowles happy with how the defensive ends who are currently in the rotation are performing?

“I don’t think anybody’s playing bad,” Bowles said, not exactly offering up a ringing endorsement. “I think it’s going to be tough. I think he’s closed the gap considerably. We just have to play it by ear.”

Of the 31 players who were taken in the second round of April’s draft, only two have not played this season – Curry and 49ers running LaMichael James . The Eagles clearly liked Curry enough to take him with the 59th overall pick, but he’s yet to dress on gameday. I asked him what he thought of Bowles’ comments.

“Maybe Mike can answer that,” Curry said with a laugh, looking in teammate Mike Patterson’s direction. “I don’t know. I just try to compete and work hard. That’s all. That’s great to hear coming from coach. I’m just going out there competing and doing the best I can do to help the team be ready and prepared for certain situations, so I can’t really answer that.”

The truth is the lack of production from the Eagles’ defensive ends is one of the reasons the team currently sits at 3-6 after nine games. Jason Babin had no sacks, one hurry and no tackles against the Cowboys last week. In the last three games, he has one sack, four tackles and four hurries. Trent Cole has not played to his usual standards. Brandon Graham has been solid. And Darryl Tapp has just one hurry (no sacks) in his last three games. Phillip Hunt, meanwhile, was deactivated along with Curry last week.

With the team having lost five in a row, you’d think now would be as good a time as any to give Curry a shot.

“He’s hungry. He’s very hungry, and I like that,” Cole said. “He reminds me of myself. I told him, ‘Man I was in the same position you are, I was hungry, and just keep that hunger because when the opportunity arises, you better step up.’ …I came in, I had a bunch of Pro Bowlers in front of me, great players in front of me. I learned from them, and they always helped me out. I’ve always been there to help the rookies out since I’ve been here. I’ve never turned down anybody who has asked for help.”

The Eagles go with nine defensive linemen on gameday. They could either sit Derek Landri, Cedric Thornton or Mike Patterson and go with five defensive ends instead of five defensive tackles. Or they could play Curry instead of Tapp.

At some point, they will turn the page on this season and look to the future to see what they have with Curry.

“The word I got from Howie [Roseman] was it’s basically a numbers game,” Curry said. “As far as being talent-wise, I don’t think that was it at all. It’s coming, man, I’m just remaining patient.”

Is he tired of answering the same questions every week?

“Not at all,” Curry said with a laugh. “I’d rather get asked questions than get forgotten about.”

Tim McManus contributed to this article.

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All-22: The Unpredictable Eagles Defense

Here are some plays that stood out after having looked at the All-22 tape of the Eagles’ defense against the Cowboys:

Play 1: On the 11-yard touchdown to Felix Jones, I counted four different Eagles who had a chance at him, and none of them came through. First up was Nate Allen, who could have dropped him for a loss.

Take note of where Brandon Graham is, by the way. More on that in a second.

Next, Darryl Tapp and Nnamdi Asomugha both miss.

And finally, it’s Graham’s turn.

One bright spot among the comedy of errors: There’s been a lot of talk about whether Eagles players are consistently trying. I think that Andy Reid is telling the truth when he says the effort is there. Check out where Graham came from here. Yes, he missed the tackle, but he never quit on the play and really hustled to get to Jones.

On the other hand, this is what Todd Bowles is talking about when he says he’s putting players in the right positions, but they just have to make plays sometimes.

Play 2: Remember the whole “We’re not going to be predictable” storyline that got repeated after Juan Castillo was fired? Well, Bowles lived up to it here. I’d say blitzing Asomugha, your $60M corner, on third-and-long qualifies. Take a look at who the sixth man is at the line of scrimmage.

According to Pro Football Focus, Asomugha had not blitzed once all season prior to Sunday. On this play, the Cowboys sent three receivers into routes, and they were all downfield since it was 3rd-and-15. The Eagles rushed six and were able to collapse the pocket.

Of course, the pressure wasn’t exactly due to Asomugha’s great pass-rushing prowess. He’s back there behind No. 63. Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox and DeMeco Ryans all got pressure on Romo. Cox got credit for the sack, although it probably should have gone to Cole or Jenkins. Romo just kind of went down, and they appeared to be the two who touched him first.

Play 3: It led to a sack the first time, so why not try it again? Here’s Asomugha at the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-14 in the third.

But the guy to highlight on this play is Cox. Here you see him generate a pass-rush off the snap.

The impressive part is he recognizes that Romo is scrambling to his right, so he spins and starts giving chase.

The big man can move. He catches up with Romo and hits him as he throws the ball away.

Strength, instincts, athleticism all on display here for the Eagles rookie. Really nice play.

Play 4: Game-changing play in the third. The Cowboys faced a 3rd-and-5 from their own 39, down 17-10. In one instance, it looked like Cox would have a sack. In the next, the Cowboys were closing in on the game-tying score. Cox starts from his normal spot at left defensive tackle.

But he’s going to loop all the way around Cole at right defensive end. This kind of move is going to take some time, but the Eagles get Romo to hitch, and Cox has a clear path to the quarterback, even though the Eagles didn’t blitz.

He fails to bring Romo down, but it looks like Jason Babin and Jenkins will be able to finish the play.

You can’t even see Romo in there, but he escapes again, with Babin and Jenkins on the ground.

In the back end, Mychal Kendricks was closing in on Miles Austin when Romo first wanted to get him the ball.

Kendricks bit on the pump-fake and ended up on the ground. When Romo escaped, and it looked like Babin and Jenkins were closing in, he pump-faked again. That got Allen to come up. You always hear analysts talk about coming back to the ball when the quarterback’s in trouble, but Austin did the opposite and streaked down the field.

You see Austin in the yellow circle. You also see Kevin Ogletree (red circle) behind Brandon Boykin for what could have been a 61-yard touchdown. Those things happen when the quarterback buys six seconds to throw the ball.

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