Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What We're Watching and Zorn's new role

Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch will tell you the things he will be keeping his eyes on during that week’s game:

What We're Watching and Zorn's new role

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Will Eagles coach Andy Reid run the ball more against the Redskins? (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Will Eagles coach Andy Reid run the ball more against the Redskins? (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch will tell you the things he will be keeping his eyes on during that week’s game:

1. Making Campbell Soup: Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell was benched in the second half last week, but will start tonight. He’s protected by a wobbly offensive line that’s missing two of its best blockers, LT Chris Samuels and RG Randy Thomas. The Panthers sacked Campbell five times a couple weeks ago. Ready or not, here comes the Eagles’ blitz.

2. How do you spell run, Andy?: Running backs Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy had just 11 rushing attempts last week as Reid called a whopping 54 passing plays. Against a defense that is third in the league against the pass and sixth in sacks per pass play, he might want to try to strike a little better balance.

3. Third-down improvement: The Eagles converted just 2 of 16 third-down opportunities against the Raiders last week. Twelve of those 16 third-down situations were six yards or more. Against a Redskins pass rush that has 11 sacks in its last 3 games, the Eagles need to reduce the number of third-and-longs so that the run is at least an option, if not a consideration.

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4. Many happy returns: The Redskins’ coverage units are very good. They’re fourth in the league in both punt and kickoff coverage. The Redskins’ defense doesn’t give up many long drives. So the Eagles really need PR DeSean Jackson and KR Quintin Demps to shorten the field a bit.

5. The Eagles’ offensive line: This unit played awful last week. Worse than awful. They couldn’t protect Donovan McNabb and didn’t do a very good job of run-blocking. They finally may get LG Todd Herremans back, which should help.

ZORN'S NEW ROLE

Washington head coach Jim Zorn will not call the plays for the first time in his 23-game tenure as head coach, instead overseeing the Sherms -- Lewis, the new play-caller, and Smith, the offensive coordinator.

"It's going to be very easy," Zorn told the Washington Post. "Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to support the guy calling plays. And then in between the series, we'll be communicating and I'll be communicating to him, and then we'll start working on the plan for the next series.

"I'll be talking to the players. There's a lot to do. I'll be attentive to what I have to do while our offense is on the sideline. Because when you're a play-caller, you're concentrating. ... I'm just going to keep quiet" about play-calling.

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