Football Team

Eagles reporter lays out where Washington could attack Philly Week 1

Football Team

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro is heading into this Sunday's season opener expecting the Eagles to defeat Washington at FedEx Field.

"I think they're a better team overall," Zangaro told the Washington Football Talk podcast during his appearance to preview the matchup.

Yet Zangaro's next sentence is why he's not considering that result a lock. Far from it, actually.

"There are some concerns," he said.

The first place the reporter pinpointed as an area where Washington should have an edge is the same area they should have an edge in most games. And, well, that's up front and also on the literal edge.

The Eagles offensive line is already down two starters, having lost standout guard Brandon Brooks in the offseason and left tackle Andre Dillard in camp to a pair of serious injuries. 

Because of those issues, the group has been shuffling a lot as of late, and while they've found what Zangaro believes is the "best lineup," it's not their preferred one.

Jason Peters — who's 38 years old and still, in Zangaro's mind, a top-12 left tackle in the NFL — will bump outside to replace Dillard after originally returning to the organization to help on the interior. Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor and Lane Johnson make up the other four spots. Pryor is the weakest link of the unit and has just one pro start, which came in the 2019 postseason.

Overall, Zangaro is expecting the Washington defensive line to find plenty of success in Week 1.

"That's a legit defensive line rotation," he said. "That's, honestly, one of the better ones in the league. And the Eagles have some questions on their O-line."

 

Now, when Washington's offense has possession, they, too, will have to control the visitors' 300-pound disruptors. If they can survive there, however, they should be able to do some damage in the middle of the field and possibly beyond. 

"The Eagles have some pretty inexperienced linebackers and I think there might be an opportunity to take advantage of that. That would be one area," Zangaro said. "The second cornerback right now is Avonte Maddox. He's a 5-9 corner. I honestly haven't been very impressed with him during training camp, so I think that maybe that might be a spot where you can attack a little bit. There are some deficiencies on this defense."

While Washington is clearly the underdog in this contest, there is a path to victory. If Dwayne Haskins' bunch can keep the scoreboard even and then secure a lead late, Chase Young and his fellow problem-causers can look to close their opponent out. That's probably going to be the formula all year long, and it absolutely is to begin it.