Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 15, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.
—Today's schedule: No media availability
—Days until: Redskins @ Lions 8; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 15; Vikings @ Redskins 29
Five under pressure in Redskins vs Eagles
QB Kirk Cousins—He is on this list until he breaks through and looks like a franchise quarterback. He had his moments against the Ravens, notably on a perfect throw to Pierre Garçon for a third-quarter touchdown. But the problem was, that was their only offensive touchdown. Much of the rest of his day was spent overthrowing some open receivers, especially on third and short. Cousins completed one of six passes on third and one. You can question the play calling if you want but the quarterback has to execute better.
LG Shawn Lauvao—Containing Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, an active, powerful threat against both the pass and the run, will primarily be the responsibility of Lauvao. Cox plays about 75 percent of the Eagles’ snaps so Lauvao had better pack a lunch, maybe a couple of them plus a snack.
TE Vernon Davis—As of this writing Jordan Reed’s official status for Sunday is questionable but both the timetable needed to be cleared through the concussion protocol and off-the-record comments from some players make it look nearly certain that he will not play. That means a stepped-up role for Davis, the veteran who has 10 receptions for 94 yards this season. Some of the pressure here works its way down to Niles Paul, who will move up into Davis’ role as the second tight end.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—This is supposed to be Preston Smith’s permanent spot on this list but Kerrigan is the one who should shine this day. The Eagles’ first offensive play will be the first NFL play for fifth-round pick Halapouliavatti Vaitai, who will play in the place of suspended right tackle Lane Johnson. That should be a favorable matchup for left OLB Kerrigan, who will be close to full strength after dealing with an elbow injury last week.
DE Chris Baker—I’m convinced that Baker made a play that may have turned the Redskins’ season around. Baker has one sack this season. It came when the crushed Eli Manning early in the second quarter of the Giants game. Before that hit, Manning was on a roll; after it he was a very average quarterback. That turned the game in the Redskins’ favor and they ended their two-game losing streak to start the season. If Baker can shake up Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz the Redskins will gain a decided edge.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Doctson out, two starters questionable for Redskins vs. Eagles
- Jordan Reed questionable for Sunday vs. Eagles
- Despite outcry for 'Pot Roast', recent moves make sense for McCloughan
- Crowder letting instincts take over on punt returns
- NTK: Redskins need to slow Eagles' sack attack
Check out the podcast and if you like it subscribe on iTunes.