Paul Domowitch looks at what he'll be watching during Sunday's Eagles-Redskins game:
1. Good times on third down. The Redskins have been inept on third down. The offense is dead last in the league in third-down efficiency, converting just 6 of 33 (18.2 percent) opportunities. The Eagles, meanwhile, who finished 23rd in the league in third-down efficiency last year, are much improved under Mike Vick. In the 10 quarters he’s been at the helm, they’ve converted 44.1 percent of their third-downs and are an impressive 6 for 13 on third-and-10 or more since he replaced Kevin Kolb. Last year, they converted just 12 third-and-10s or more the entire season.
2. Another week, another 3-4 defense. The Eagles’ offensive line, which had its share of problems with the Packers’ 3-4 in Week 1, will go up against another one on Sunday. The Redskins, who played a 4-3 last year and finished 10th in the league in total defense, really don’t have the personnel to play a 3-4, but that hasn’t discouraged head coach Mike Shanahan, who is bullish on the scheme. The Redskins are 32nd in the league in yards allowed and 31st against the pass.
3. The chess match between Donovan and Sean McDermott. McNabb is short on good receivers, but long on knowledge of the Eagles’ defense. Whether he’ll be able to use that to his advantage Sunday remains to be seen. Look for McDermott to try to confuse McNabb with some new blitz packages, coverage disguises and other little tweaks that will keep the former Eagles QB guessing.
4. Red zone no longer a dead zone. The Eagles, who finished 23rd in the league in red-zone productivity last season, currently are first in that category through 3 games. They’ve converted 7 of 8 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns. For just the fourth time in his career, David Akers has gone back-to-back games without a field-goal attempt.
5. Not feeling generous. The Eagles have done an excellent job of protecting the football so far. They’ve turned the ball over just once in the first 3 games. That was on a fumble by Eldra Buckley in Week 1. QB Mike Vick doesn’t have an interception in 89 attempts.
On the injury front, defensive lineman Anthony Bryant (head), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (back), guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee), tackle Trent Williams (toe/knee) and punter Josh Bidwell (hip) were limited participants in Redskins practice.