Monday’s 33-27 loss to the Eagles was a mixed bag for the Redskins’ defense. The unit scored a touchdown for the fourth consecutive home opener when DeAngelo Hall returned a fumble 75 yards in the first quarter. It also sacked Michael Vick three times and hit the Eagles’ quarterback on seven occasions. But London Fletcher and Co. also yielded 184 yards on the ground to LeSean McCoy and 104 yards receiving by DeSean Jackson.
Overall grade: C-
The line prides itself on helping to stuff the run. But the group struggled to shed blocks, particularly early, and a number of big plays ensued. Last season, the Redskins ranked fifth against the run, yielding 95.8 yards per game. The Eagles racked up 263 on Monday. Also, one focus for the line entering the season was to become a more disruptive force from a pass rush perspective. Against Philly, though, Barry Cofield was only lineman to register a hit on Vick. According to ProFootballFocus.com, the veteran nose tackle also created three hurries.
The Redskins got some good news Tuesday when the team learned Ryan Kerrigan passed all of his concussion tests and is expected to practice on Wednesday. Kerrigan was sidelined in the fourth quarter Monday after exhibiting concussion symptoms. Kerrigan registered a sack and eight tackles in the game. Perry Riley also had a strong effort against the Eagles, recording 15 combined tackles a sack and a key fumble recovery.
The secondary struggled last season and it didn’t get off to a particularly strong start in ‘13. Much of the problem can be traced back to the absence of Brandon Meriweather, who missed the game because of a “tight” groin muscle. With Meriweather sidelined, the Redskins turned to cornerback E.J. Biggers. Biggers, who had never played safety, lined up alongside rookie Bacarri Rambo. The result was less than desirable as Vick threw touchdown passes of 25 yards (Jackson) and 28 yards (Brent Celek). Shanahan said Monday that the coaching staff tapped Biggers over Reed Doughty because of Biggers’ speed.
This was not the way new special teams coordinator Keith Burns wanted his Redskins’ tenure to begin. A missed field goal. A short punt. Poor decision making in the return game. It all added up to a forgettable night for the specialists.
Overall grade: C-
Kai Forbath put four of his six kickoffs into the end zone and three resulted in touchbacks. But the second-year kicker also missed his first field goal attempt of the season, pulling a 40-yarder wide right in the third quarter.
Sav Rocca averaged 42 yards per punt, including a 34 yarder in the second quarter that set the Eagles up on the Redskins’ 44-yard line. Nine plays later, Philly was up 26-7.
Rookie Chris Thompson twice fielded punts inside his own 10-yard line. One was a fair catch at the 5. The other he returned five yards to the 11. A general rule of thumb for returners is not to field a punt inside the 10.
Santana Moss stepped in for Thompson in the fourth quarter after the team said Thompson suffered an ankle injury. Thompson said after the game that he didn’t believe the injury was serious.