As the Commanders attempt to overcome their humiliating defeat to the Lions during Week 2. A powerful divisional rival scheduled to arrive in Week 3. A
Jalen Hurts along with the Eagles will pose a number of challenges for Washington’s struggling defense. which is highlighted by Hurts ability to slash defensive lines on the ground, as well as in the air using A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and an offensive line that is deep. The strategy for the Eagles in the past included a plan to cease the running at all costs , and to oblige Hurts to beat defenses by using the pass.
In the way Robert Griffin III explained it to the Sports Junkies Monday the subject could not be as straightforward to pack up for the running this time around.
“You want to force the young [quarterback] to beat you with his arm, so should [Washington] load the box? 100% they should load the box, but based on what I’ve seen [with the secondary], I don’t want any of those guys on AJ Brown, let alone DeVonta Smith,” Griffin stated.
If defensive teams “load the box,” it usually means they’re sending forward more defensive players to the middle of their formation than the offensive must stop. Therefore, if an offense is running against a packed box there must be an available defender who can complete the stop, assuming that all other gaps are covered through his team.
The disadvantage to this type of defense lies from the outside, where corners could be placed on an island with wide receivers, and then be required to limit their man-to-man matchup. In the past the Eagles did not have the resources to consistently beat man-to man coverage against their wide receivers however, things are different when you have Brown with you.
“I think that’s the conundrum that they’re in with Philly,” Griffin stated. “If you take them out and load the boxup, you’ll have all day A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith speeding past players. You’ll also will have Dallas Goedert at tight end, Quez Watkins at receiver The Eagles have a great roster , and they’re set to play teams who tell them”Hey, we’re going to fill the box with balls and make you throw the ball.’
“A.J. Brown is a man-to-man killer. He can beat you down the field, he can beat you on out-routes, in the middle of the field and he’s a strong finisher. Do you really want one of Washington’s corners manned up on him, and he’s one broken tackle away from hitting his head on the goalpost? I don’t think that’s what they want.”
Brown enjoyed a great game with The Lions on the opening day of Week 1 with 11 catches and 150 yards across 13 targets. Brown was the primary receiver for more than 63 percent of Hurts total passing yards during the game. The Washington secondary being smashed by Amon-Ra Saint. Brown (9 rec with 116 yards and two TD) on Week 2, and allowed eight yards per rush to the Lions their rushing attack.
If the Commanders are having to pack the box due to their inability to stop the running game, Brown could go crazy with all the man protection. When offensive coach Jack Del Rio decides to play more zone defense to keep Brown at bay, it’ll make it more difficult to stop Hurts as well as the Eagles the Eagles’ ground game.
“You have a quarterback who had 90 yards rushing the first week, you have an offensive line that is an extremely physical group,” Griffin declared. “They’re gonna try to replicate, if not do more than the last two teams have against this Commanders front, and that’s a bad situation.”
Griffin doesn’t think the Commanders to show the Eagles an eye-to-eye look each game. As the Commanders found out in Week 2: if you fail to stop the run, it’s tough to stop the run in general. The Eagles had the top position in the. one rushing attack within the NFL in 2021. They also scored four rushing touchdowns during the opening game against Detroit.
“I know these coaches hate getting points scored on them,” Griffin declared. “So he’s not gonna just load the box and dare Jalen Hurts to beat him every single play, but I do think they’re gonna make a concerted effort to stop the run, which they have to do against Philly otherwise it’s gonna get ugly quick.”