Eagles D hoping to stop the Redskins run this time

111210-mcnabb-bradley-400
The Eagles failed to stop the Redskins late in the game in week 4. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

As the Eagles prepare for Monday's game against the Redskins, the defense is preparing by looking back. The run defense's early season struggles hit bottom against Washington, allowing 169 rushing yards and 4.8 yards-per-rush -- both season highs -- and failing to stop Redskins late in the game as Donovan McNabb and company chewed up the clock.

The Eagles have reviewed the game tape, with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott pointing out group and individual mistakes, several players said.

"Coach had it on, and coach is saying, this is not how you want to do it," said defensive end Brandon Graham. Coach McDermott's message during the review: "We don't want to look like this no more."

"Coach stepped in front of the room and pointed some guys out, and since then everybody's been stepping up and doing their job," said linebacker Ernie Sims.

Since then, the run defense has tightened up and become a bright point. No team has run for more than 75 yards on the Eagles in the past four weeks, a stretch that included games against Frank Gore, Michael Turner and Chris Johnson. No team has picked up more than 3.4 yards-per-carry.

"You never want to have any team have 100 yards rushing on you, so everybody just locked in," after the Redskins game said defensive end Darryl Tapp.

The Eagles defense said pride has played a part. So has help from strong-side linebacker Moise Fokou and defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, whose size and power has made a tremendous difference.

"Dixon's playing out of his mind right now. He's been a beast down there in the middle and he's just a powerful guy," Fokou said.

The Eagles have done the job with a variety of changing parts on defense, something that will continue this week. Kurt Coleman will start in place of Nate Allen at safety and Dimitri Patterson will likely continue to start at cornerback. Keenan Clayton, who played for the first time last week, might get another look at his hybrid safety-linebacker role.

With Coleman starting on defense, newly acquired safety Colt Anderson will take his place on special teams, said special teams coordinator Bobby April.

Continue Reading