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First Focus For Defense Is Stopping The Run Vs. Eagles

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With three different running backs capable of carrying the load for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Redskins' defense is looking to stop them first in their matchup on Sunday.

In his very first game as an NFL head coach, Chip Kelly's offense simply outperformed the Redskins' defense.

A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.

They played with the tempo Kelly's University of Oregon's team became well-known for and by final whistle in a 33-27 Philadelphia victory, they had run for 263 yards.

It wasn't necessarily a lack of preparation on the Redskins' part, it was just a dynamic offense, who had yet to fully unveil their packages, getting the better end of the matchup.

Entering Sunday's matchup with the Eagles, the Redskins now have a lot of tape and game experience against their divisional rivals under the third-year head coach.

"I think just having a couple of years and this year having three regular season games, four preseason games to go off of from film wise and game planning wise is a big help," said Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. "That was kind of the thing when we first played them in 2013, we didn't have much film on them especially with their one's in because the only film we had was preseason games. I think having the kind of film we have now definitely helps but they're still a challenge nonetheless."

Gone are LeSean McCoy and dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick, and in is a three-headed attack featuring Demarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.

Murray, of course, was the team's prized free agent signing, nabbed from the Dallas Cowboys this offseason after leading the league in individual rushing in 2014.

Mathews was the Chargers' lead back for a few seasons, including two 1,000-yard seasons, and Sproles remains one of the best pass catchers at the position, even at 32 years old.

"We don't worry about certain guys specifically, but obviously he's a hell of a player," defensive end Stephen Paea said of Sproles. "We were watching highlights of him, so he can hurt us with his quickness and all that. But if we have guys flying around we should be good."

After a week in which the Redskins allowed the Giants to set the tone, playing catchup throughout the game, Washington will look to reverse their fortunes against Philadelphia.

That means having their offense control things and the defense prevent the Eagles from generating anything on the ground.

"First, we've got to stop the run," said defensive end Ricky Jean Francois. "We have to be aggressive; we've got to play Redskin football. First thing is we've got take the run away, the only way we going to make some, we do that, we have to stop DeMarco, we've got to stop Ryan, and we've got to stop Sproles. We got to stop the three-headed monster, Chip Kelly knows how to use all three in the back in every type of position every type of way."

Jean Francois also said "don't be surprised" if Sproles is the back they call on from within the 20-yard line.

"You already know [Kelly's] got a plan for each one of them," Jean Francois said. "The biggest thing is we've just got to beat the man in front of you. Beat the man in front of you, you get 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-27, [places] they're not real comfortable with."

While Murray didn't play last week due to a hamstring injury, and has been limited in practice this week, Kerrigan said the defense is prepping itself for the Eagles' entire running backs stable.

"They all kind of bring different elements. They are all effective," Kerrigan said. "Darren Sproles is kind of a game changer, the way he plays. He's so quick, so athletic they can use him in a number of different ways. When you look at Matthews and Murray, there is a lot more power out of those guys, a lot more downhill. They're still going to run the same offense no matter who is back there in the backfield so it doesn't change a whole lot for us." 

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