6:55 PM ET, September 9, 2013
FedEx Field, Landover, MD
While Michael Vick had to win the job in the preseason, Robert Griffin III wasn't given a chance to take the field but will finally be back under center Monday night when his Redskins try to spoil Chip Kelly's debut as Eagles coach.
Even though Dr. James Andrews cleared Griffin last week, coach Mike Shanahan did not officially say he would start Week 1 until Monday. Shanahan and Griffin butted heads a bit during training camp, with the quarterback wanting to see more practice time and action in games while the coach used a cautious approach.
"You're always trying to take a look at what's in the best interest of your football team, obviously the health of your football team as well," Shanahan said. "But if we didn't feel like Robert was full-go, and he was ready to play and do all the things that you ask a guy to do, he would not be playing in this game.
"We believe he can do everything that a quarterback is asked to do."
That's plenty more than just being a pocket passer when it comes to Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who rushed for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. He threw for 20 TDs, compared to five interceptions, and 3,200 yards while finishing as the league's third-highest rated passer with a rookie-record 102.4 mark.
Griffin now takes his first snap in an NFL game since re-injuring his right knee in a playoff loss to Seattle, having undergone reconstructive surgery which left his status for the opener in doubt all offseason.
Some teammates are saying he is now practicing as if the knee is no issue whatsoever.
"Robert is back. He's back to being himself," linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
Eagles fans hope Vick can get back to being the kind of player who so often dominated in 2010, leading a run to the playoffs, instead of the turnover-prone and injury-plagued one from the past two years.
It is Kelly's job to help make that happen, having named Vick the starter over second-year player Nick Foles to run the high-energy offensive style he brings from Oregon. With Kelly having stressed the ground game despite his fast-paced style running the Ducks, Vick has been encouraged to run more despite injury woes which sometimes came from reckless scrambling.
"I'm going to have the opportunity to do what I want to do in this offense and run the football," the 33-year-old Vick said. "And yes, I will be a threat. I think you've got to take on a certain mindset that you're going to play the game all-out."
Vick had more turnovers (15) than total touchdowns (13) last year and had only one rushing TD for the second straight season after having nine in 2010.
Kelly has been pleased with his progress in the preseason, during which he was 20 of 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns to go with 73 yards rushing.
"The biggest thing with Mike that you saw was just his growth and improvement. He just kept learning the system," Kelly told the team's official website. "... His willingness to learn, his passion for the game of football was evidenced since the first day we saw him."
While Vick may target deep threat DeSean Jackson even more after fellow starting receiver Jeremy Maclin was lost for the season, LeSean McCoy should get plenty of touches after being limited to 200 carries in 12 games under coach Andy Reid last year while totaling five touchdowns.
Alfred Morris nearly doubled McCoy's rushing output (1,613 yards to 840), providing a potent 1-2 punch of rookies for the Redskins offense. The former sixth-round pick set a single-season franchise record and finished second in the NFL to Adrian Peterson, helping Washington finish 10-6 and win its first NFC East title since 1999.
While the Redskins won their final seven regular-season games, the Eagles dropped 11 of 12 to finish 4-12 for their worst record in 14 years.
Philadelphia lost both meetings with the Redskins, though Foles started both. Vick has won his last three games against them, throwing for 905 yards and eight touchdowns.
Griffin completed 30 of 39 passes for 398 yards and six TDs in last season's sweep, and he rushed for 84 yards in a 31-6 win when the Eagles visited FedEx Field.
That was the only time the Redskins didn't allow at least 16 points last season as the defense ranked 28th, though they're hoping to improve with Orakpo -- a two-time Pro Bowler -- back after missing 14 games last season with a torn pectoral.
Only Tennessee and New Orleans gave up more points than Philadelphia, which is switching to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis. The secondary will surely be tested by Griffin, with newcomers Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher taking over at cornerback for former Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
"RG3 is a great player," Williams said. "We understand he's going to bring his A game. So are we. We're going to find out what those guys are about."
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|Avg Points Allowed||27.0||33.0|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PHI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PHI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 17-9|
|Dec 23, 2012||PHI 20, WSH 27|
|Nov 18, 2012||PHI 6, @WSH 31|
|Jan 1, 2012||PHI 34, WSH 10|
|Oct 16, 2011||PHI 20, @WSH 13|
|Nov 15, 2010||PHI 59, @WSH 28|
|Oct 3, 2010||PHI 12, WSH 17|
|Nov 29, 2009||PHI 27, WSH 24|
|Oct 26, 2009||PHI 27, @WSH 17|
|Dec 21, 2008||PHI 3, @WSH 10|
|Oct 5, 2008||PHI 17, WSH 23|
|Nov 11, 2007||PHI 33, @WSH 25|
|Sep 17, 2007||PHI 12, WSH 20|
|Dec 10, 2006||PHI 21, @WSH 19|
|Nov 12, 2006||PHI 27, WSH 3|
|Jan 1, 2006||PHI 20, WSH 31|
|Nov 6, 2005||PHI 10, @WSH 17|
|Dec 12, 2004||PHI 17, @WSH 14|
|Nov 21, 2004||PHI 28, WSH 6|
|Dec 27, 2003||PHI 31, @WSH 7|
|Oct 5, 2003||PHI 27, WSH 25|
|Dec 15, 2002||PHI 34, WSH 21|
|Sep 16, 2002||PHI 37, @WSH 7|
|Dec 16, 2001||PHI 20, @WSH 6|
|Nov 25, 2001||PHI 3, WSH 13|
The Eagles managed a single win in 6 NFC East contests last season, barely eeking out a 2-point win vs the Giants. Philly was outscored by 85 points in the 6 games... Meanwhile, Washington's success vs division foes was the key to its playoff berth a year ago. The 'Skins went 5-and-1 vs the NFC East, outscoring the other 3 teams by 46 points while posting a plus-6 turnover differential.[+]
Polar Opposites - vs NFC East Last Season
Robert Griffin III completed 47.1 percent of his passes more than 20 yards downfield last season, 2nd best in the NFL behind Colin Kaepernick. After the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last season, the Eagles had the worst deep pass defense, allowing nearly 60 percent of those throws to be completed.[+]
Eagles Pass Defense More Than 20 Yards Downfield - Last Season
Tonight is Michael Vick's 4th start with the Eagles on Monday Night Football -- and his 2nd against the Redskins with Philly... When Vick last faced Washington on MNF, he threw for 333 yards & 4 TD's to go along with a pair of rushing touchdowns -- all good for a 99.8 Total QBR, tied for 2nd-highest since 2008. But in his last 2 Monday Night Football starts, Vick has combined to barely equal HALF that in a pair of losses.[+]
Does He Like Mondays Anymore? - Michael Vick on Monday Night Football With Eagles
Robert Griffin III registered 7 games with a Total QBR above 70 last season, winning all 7 starts, including a victory over tonight's opponent, the Eagles, in Week 11... But when Griffin's Total QBR fell below that number, the Redskins dropped to just 2-and-6... Griffin threw 12 TD's and just 2 picks in those 7 wins, getting sacked but 10 times. In the other 8 games, he was sacked 20 times.[+]
All or Nothing - Robert Griffin III Last Season
Cam Newton was the only quarterback with more designed rushes than Robert Griffin III last season. The bulk of designed runs for Griffin may have taken a toll as he was hit on 76 percent of those attempts. By comparison, when Griffin scrambled he was hit 43 percent of the time.[+]
Robert Griffin III Rushing by Play Type - Last Season (Inc. Playoffs)
Robert Griffin III did not have the same success against the Eagles Monday as he did last season. Griffin's Total QBR of 15.7 was the lowest of his career and he threw a career-high two interceptions.[+]
Robert Griffin III in Career vs Eagles
The Eagles came out of the gates firing, running 53 plays and gaining 21 first downs in the 1st half. BOTH put them on a pace to break the NFL record. But things slowed considerably in the 2nd half, when they scored just 7 points and were shut out over the final 28-and-a-half minutes.[+]
Eagle Offense Monday at Redskins
Robert Griffin III had a Total QBR of 15.7 Monday, the lowest of his career, and his first-half performance was largely the reason. Griffin's Total QBR of 0.9 in the first half Monday was the lowest for any quarterback in a single half in Week 1.[+]
Robert Griffin III by Half - Monday vs Eagles
Robert Griffin III had 11 off-target passes Monday, the most over- or under-throws he has had in any game. RGIII had an especially hard time connecting on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield, completing only 2 of 11 attempts (18%, his career low). In 2012, he completed 59% percent of such passes, the highest rate in the NFL.[+]
Robert Griffin III Throws More than 10 Yds Downfield, Last 2 Seasons
From Elias: The Eagles have not handed the ball to a RB on the 1st play of the season since 1994, when they handed off to Herschel Walker... FROM ELIAS: That's easily the longest current streak in the NFL... Next-closest are the Titans, Raiders and Jets, all of which haven't handed to a RB on the 1st play of the season since 2009 (Texans also haven't, but their streak is at 3 years entering tonight's game).
No player had more rush yards using the zone read than Robert Griffin III (344) last season. However, the Eagles, who ran 2 such plays last year, used the zone read more effectively. The Eagles gained 245 yards using the zone read, more than any other team in a game in the last 5 seasons.[+]
Zone-Read Rushes, Monday Night
Perhaps it was RG3 shaking off the rust, but the Redskins weren't the only team that looked different after halftime on Monday. Washington outscored the Eagles 20-0 over the final 15:06, pulling within a touchdown with 1:14 remaining.[+]
Redskins Offense Monday vs Eagles
The Eagles featured a ground game on Monday that hasn't been seen in Philly in quite some time... * 263 Rush yds (most since 2002) * 49 Rush attempts (most since 1997, also vs Redskins) * LeSean McCoy: 184 Rush yds (1 shy of career high) * McCoy: career-high 31 Rush attempts
The Eagles ran 30 plays in the first quarter Monday, their most in any first quarter since the 2000 season. The last time the Eagles had more than 11 first downs in the first quarter was in Week 8 in 2011 against the Cowboys, when they had 12.
The Eagles have 26 points at halftime, a mark they reached just ONCE last season... They averaged 17.5 PPG last season, 29th in the NFL.
LeSean McCoy rushed for a career-high 178 yards in between the tackles Monday, more than the Eagles had as a team in any game during the last 2 seasons. McCoy's 29 rushes in between the tackles were the most by an Eagle since Week 14 of 2008.
Vick completed 7-of-10 passes on play-action plays Monday night. Last season, Vick had the fifth-lowest completion percentage on play-action passes.[+]
Michael Vick Play-Action Passing, Last 2 Seasons
LeSean McCoy has a career-high 157 rush yards between the tackles so far tonight... his previous career high was 149 in Week 14 of 2010
numberFire.com does projections for all 32 NFL teams and it predicts that BOTH the Eagles & Redskins will finish 8-8 this season... But the similarity doesn't end there for both clubs, as numberFire.com projects they have an almost identical chance to win the NFC East (21% vs 22%), have a 30% shot at making the playoffs, but are longshots (1%) to win the Super Bowl.[+]
It's a Toss-Up - Season Projections According to numberFire.com
- The Eagles averaged a play every 23 seconds of possession in the first half. The Patriots had the fastest tempo in the league last year, averaging a play every 24.9 seconds. - With a sizable lead, the Eagles took their foot off the gas in the second half, averaging a play every 30.8 seconds. - Overall, the Eagles averaged a play every 25.4 seconds. In comparison, the Redskins averaged a play every 23.4 seconds.
Robert Griffin III was off-target on 11 of his 48 attempts (excluding one throw-away). Griffin was was off-target on 14.6 percent of his passes in 2012, fifth best in the league.
ESPN Stats & Information