Who’s hot, who’s not and who’s anywhere in between heading into Sunday’s matchup:
3 – Its like picking a needle out of a haystack of ineptitude, but Nate Allen was the lone positive on defense last week against the Bills. The safety recorded 13 tackles – 10 of which were solo – and didn’t look as if his surgically-repaired knee was holding him back. Allen’s got to show he can do it two games in a row, however, before he can be declared completely back.
2 – What we saw out of Jason Kelce through the first four games of the season was to be expected. The rookie center had his ups, he had his downs. But he went about as low as you can go against the Bills. Kelce struggled in straight-up blocking scenarios and picked up the wrong assignment on the play in which Buffalo linebacker Nick Barnett pick-sixed a blitzed Michael Vick.
4 – Jeremy Maclin is second in the NFL with 32 catches. Take away the first week of the season when the wide receiver caught just one pass for 20 yards and Maclin has been as consistent as any receiver in the league. He’s also been the Eagles’ top red zone threat with five catches inside the 20, three of which went for touchdowns.
2 – Brent Celek continues to block more than he did two seasons ago and he’ll probably have help out the offensive line as much this Sunday, but there’s something just missing from his receiving game. He can’t get separation and doesn’t carry defenders like he once did. The tight end has been targeted 21 times this season, but has only nine catches for 73 yards.
1 – If there were a player in search of a position it’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The cornerback has looked completely lost playing the nickel, a spot he’s never filled before in the NFL. And then there’s Rodgers-Cromartie’s effort. He’s given up on several plays and the only time he appears to be hustling is when he’s had to chase down tackle-breaking running backs and receivers from behind.
2 – For some reason Mike Patterson always seems to get a pass. Yes, the hole-plugging defensive tackle isn’t expected to rack of large sack numbers. And, yes, it’s a blessing he’s even out on the field after his training camp seizure. But can we see at least one game-changing play?
5 – It used to be Chris Cooley that gave the Eagles fits at tight end for the Redskins. Now Fred Davis, who’s entering Sunday’s game as the league’s top tight end in yards per catch (15.5 avg.), has a chance to terrorize the Eagles. Tight ends and ball-catching running backs continue to give Eagles linebackers and safeties problems. Cooley, meanwhile, is on the decline.
4 – If King Dunlap (back spasms) can’t start at left tackle Todd Herremans will draw the assignment of Brian Orakpo. The outside linebacker has 3-1/2 sacks on the season, but has also been a constant force of interruption for opposing offensive lines.
3—Santana Moss is clearly not the player he once was, but he’s still is a valuable possession receiver for the Redskins. He leads the team with 21 catches, but is averaging only 11.7 yards a catch. Two weeks ago against the Rams he snagged five receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown.