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Week 2 Confidential: NFC East Intel


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The Washington Redskins look for their first win of the season this week against Green Bay Packers. Here's a look at the headlines around the rest of the NFC East.

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES:**

Headline: Frenetic Style Offense Actually Works

This is not your grandpappy's NFL anymore. Gone are the days when it was huddle up, break, three yards and a cloud of dust. Now, offenses are running the read-option and Pistol formations, cracking off snaps every 23 seconds. Chip Kelly's monster is so crazy, it might just work.

What this means for the Redskins:

The period of time between Week 1 and Week 2 is an important time of adjustment for coaches and players, after finally seeing their best-laid plans in motion. It is also the ideal time for fans and members of the media to extrapolate the results of Week 1 across the rest of the 17-week schedule, crowning Super Bowl champions for some and other teams that should play for next year.

Never mind that half the division-winners from a year ago lost in Week 1, and three others relied on fourth-quarter comebacks to win. Week 1 wins feel good and losses feel bad, but they make up only one-sixteenth of the 2013 season story.

In a vaccuum, Chip Kelly's offense looked dominant, but it came in under the cover of darkness with no film for the defense to study. Watching college film allows you to learn. Watching last year's film allows you to learn some of the players. But no one had seen those players in that system before Monday Night. Given how quickly the Redskins were able to adjust to the Eagles, scoring 20-straight points in the second half, it seems unlikely that other defenses won't come in more prepared.

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Headline: Offensive Line Key To Week 1 Showing

Even with one aging tackle coming off of injury and another appearing in his first NFL game, the Philadelphia Eagles got effective play out of their offensive line, with plenty of room to improve.

What this means for the Redskins:

While the details of the article itself is largely hogwash, the overarching message is valid, as the Eagles held the Redskins to three sacks on an absurd 77 offensive plays. The Washington Redskins didn't play vanilla scheme defense, they played contain in an effort to make Michael Vick throw. That didn't work well in the first half, but the Redskins made adjustments at halftime and were more effective in the second half.

The Redskins were the guinea pigs last week, forced to take the bullet and be the defense on film for the rest of the league to study. Look for the San Diego Chargers to dial up better pressure this week with Dwight Freeney off the edge. Don't be surprised if the NFL figures this offensive line and offense out in the next several weeks.

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Headline: Bradley Fletcher Out, Brandon Boykin In

The concussion suffered by cornerback Bradley Fletcher will officially keep him out of Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers as well, opening the door for youngster Brandon Boykin to get on the field.

What this means for the Redskins: Nothing directly, but the Redskins offense victimized the Eagles secondary last week with Fletcher out of the lineup, and the San Diego Chargers have the blueprint and weapons to do the same this week. While it may be too late to change the outcome of Week 1, the Redskins can benefit from a game in which the Chargers learn from the Redskins' mistakes and expose the Eagles' thin secondary on the way to victory.

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NEW YORK GIANTS**:

Headline: Antrel Rolle Questionable Vs. Broncos

While the media will be fixated on the Manning Bowl this week, Peyton Manning will be fixated on throwing against an injury-depleted secondary, with Prince Amukamara coming off a concussion and Antrel Rolle not practicing (groin).

What this means for the Redskins:

Nothing directly, but any weakness in the Giants' secondary makes a Week 1-style Broncos blowout more likely. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take the field and has embarassed proud defenses at full strength. Limit the brash-but-effective Rolle and the Giants suddenly have major problems.

The Redskins will not play the Giants until December, at which point Rolle is very likely to be recovered from the groin injury that ails him now. However, with the Giants likely to be in the playoff hunt late in the year, the games played early in the season will set up the storylines for December.

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Headline: Brandon Jacobs Back In The Big Apple

A year after declaring that he was glad to have a fresh start with the 49ers, Brandon Jacobs declared that he was glad to be back in New York with the Giants, playing with the teammates he wanted to be with and the coaching staff he wanted to play for.

What this means for the Redskins:

Old age and unemployment can make any situation desirable, but Jacobs should actually find opportunity and success back in familiar surroundings. Jacobs was a bad fit with the 49ers, stuck behind entrenched starter Frank Gore in a blocking scheme that didn't fit his unique running style.

Given the loss of Andre Brown and the ineffectiveness of David Wilson, Jacobs is likely to get his opportunity to show what he has left, which could very well be nothing. This is Year 9 for Jacobs, and his style of running has made him subject to wear and tear. There is still much to be decided before the Redskins meet the Giants in Decemeber, but if he remains on the roster, he should need no introductions to the defense.

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Headline: Hakeem Nicks Leading The Aerial Assault

Nearly a year after suffering a knee injury that would bother him for the rest of the 2012 season, Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks looks ready to lead the Giants receivers again.

What this means for the Redskins: All three of the Giants top receivers had 100-yard receiving days in Week 1, with Nicks commanding the double-team and opening up plays for the rest of the offense. Victor Cruz played hero against the Redskins last year, but with Nicks back in the lineup, the Giants think they may have one of the best corps in franchise history. The Redskins have time to get in sync in the secondary before facing the Giants, but may need to get creative to keep everyone covered.

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DALLAS COWBOYS**

Headline: Cowboys Have One Of Youngest Rosters

Following a path similar to the Redskins in recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have parted with aging veterans and built through the draft.

What this means for the Redskins:

Trading experience for developing talent can lead to inconsistent results, but with an eye towards the future. The Cowboys enter this season at an average age of 25.58 years old, which ties them for seventh-youngest in the NFL and the youngest in the NFC East.

One particular area of youth is the offensive line, where the five starters average 25 years old. By comparison, the Washington Redskins--who have been one of the youngest teams in recent years--have dropped to 31st-youngest at 26.89 years.

Not exactly haggard and gray, but the stats remain. Look for the Redskins to get their first crack at the youngsters in Week 6 coming off the team's bye week.

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Headline: Travis Frederick Getting Tested Early

One week after his NFL debut against the New York Giants, rookie center Travis Frederick will get tested early and often by the Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe this Sunday.

What this means for the Redskins:

Frederick was widely considered a reach when Jerry Jones selected him at the end of the first round, creating a firestorm in the media as only the Cowboys can. However, he won the training camp job as a starter, displaying a mean streak that should make for years of interesting battles against the Redskins' front-seven.

This matchup has implications for the Redskins because the Chiefs run a 3-4, giving the Redskins their first film on Frederick against such a front. While Poe is a different kind of nose tackle than Barry Cofield, there is still much that can be gleaned from how her performs against the nose tackle position.

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Headline: Defense On Pace To Shatter 2012 Marks

Sometimes change is a good thing, as the Dallas Cowboys abandoned the Rob Ryan 4-3 scheme in favor of Monte Kiffin's 3-4 system and torched the New York Giants in Week 1.

What this means for the Redskins:

Much as the Redskins were surprised by the Eagles' defense, the Giants have the excuse of having never seen the Dallas Cowboys' defense in action before Sunday night. Even so, that doesn't explain the absurd numbers (three interceptions, three fumbles recovered, two defensive touchdowns) posted in Week 1.

Defensive touchdowns are unexpected gifts in the NFL, a product of film study, raw athleticism and usually a fair amount of dumb luck. However, the two from Week 1 were more than the team scored in all of 2012.

While the Redskins will certainly need to be wary of turnovers against the Cowboys, Kyle Shanahan should be licking his chops looking at the totality of their performance. Eli Manning completed 27 passes for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Three receivers had 100-yard games.

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