Scouting Report: McCoy against NFL-worst run D

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Scouting Report: McCoy against NFL-worst run D

After an eight-carry disaster against Minnesota, LeSean McCoy pleaded this week for more handoffs and more responsibility against the Bears.

If he doesn’t get at least 20 carries, it’ll be malpractice by Chip Kelly.

The Bears are a scoring juggernaut, but they’re the NFL’s worst team at stopping the run, and it’s not even close. They’re the league’s only team that allows more than five yards per carry. Not only should McCoy be heavily involved, but this sets up well for Chris Polk and Bryce Brown (if he’s still allowed to touch the ball) to make an impact as well.

The Bears’ problem starts up front with injuries. One of their best interior linemen, tackle Henry Melton, was lost for the year in September with a torn ACL and middle linebacker D.J. Williams (chest) is also done for the year. Weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has missed the past seven games with a fractured shoulder but should make his return against the Eagles.

It’s hard to imagine one guy -- even with Briggs’ talent -- can single-handedly reverse the run-stopping problems that have plagued Chicago all year and also compensate for the other injuries. Second-round pick Jonathan Bostic runs well and makes plays in space, but it remains to be seen if he can be the control center of a defense against an explosive offense in a big game with potential playoff ramifications.

The Bears are also without their best corner, Charles Tillman, who’s one of the NFL’s best playmaking defensive backs and also a good run-stopper in the back end.

Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker runs a scheme that’s comparable to the one Lovie Smith ran in Chicago, and ran very well from 2004-2012. The Bears play a lot of zone, don’t blitz very much and rely on their gap-shooting linemen to pressure quarterbacks. They have the fewest sacks in the NFL with just 26.

Defensive end Julius Peppers isn’t the threat he used to be, but he has 6.5 sacks and can still be disruptive. Shea McClellin has 3.5 sacks, but more was expected when they picked him 19th overall last year. The loss of Melton, coupled with Peppers’ mediocre season, has taken the bite away from a defense that had been very imposing over the past few years.

Corey Wooten, a 275-pound tackle who took Melton’s spot, just isn’t big enough for the position’s demand and shouldn’t cause problems for Todd Herremans. Nose tackle Stephen Paea, a 325-pounder, is an anchor up front and will likely command double teams from center Jason Kelce and left guard Evan Mathis.

If left tackle Jason Peters can handle Peppers and right tackle Lane Johnson can bounce back from an iffy effort against the Vikings to keep McClellin in check, the Eagles shouldn’t have problems running the ball to set up big plays for the passing game.

Nick Foles struggled with his accuracy against the Vikings, who also played more zone than the Eagles usually see, so it’s important that he’s sharper and more decisive when he’s protected. He held onto the ball too long a few times against Minnesota and allowed some defensive linemen to win their matchups on second efforts.

Even with Tillman out, the Eagles have to be conscious of left cornerback Tim Jennings, a Pro Bowler in 2012. He’s undersized (5-8, 185), which could hurt against Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz, but he plays with great physicality and won’t back down. Safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte are big-time disappointments. Wright is OK in the box, but Conte struggles in coverage and tackling.

Foles’ ability to look safeties off and deliver deep should be one of his biggest strengths and Kelly will try to capitalize on the middle of the field, so expect DeSean Jackson to keep lining up all over the place, including in the backfield to get isolated against a linebacker or safety.

This is the poorest Bears defense in several years, so look for the Eagles to have another big game offensively. They had 14 takeaways in their first four games, but just 11 in their past 10, so the Eagles can do plenty of damage if they’re not sloppy with ball security.

To find out how the Eagles' offense matches up with the Bears' defense, click here.

Eagles-Redskins Week 14: What they're saying

Eagles-Redskins Week 14: What they're saying

As the Eagles enter the final quarter of the regular season, their odds at playing beyond Week 17 are less than slim.

Losers of three straight, the Eagles (5-7) are two games back of the Falcons for the second wild card position with four other teams in front of them for that sixth and final spot.

The Eagles will square off with one of those teams Sunday, as they welcome the Redskins (6-5-1) to the Linc. 

After taking down the Packers in dominating fashion in Week 11, the Redskins have dropped two consecutive games to put them on the outside looking in of the current playoff picture. 

Washington came out on top of the teams' first meeting, taking down the Eagles and their stagnant offense, 27-20, in Week 6.

To learn more about the Redskins heading into Sunday, here's what they're saying about the Eagles' Week 14 opponent.

Silver lining
As the Redskins have an endured an up-and-down 2016 season, the play of their offensive line has been steady throughout. 

Washington's five-man front has played a big role in the Redskins' No. 2 passing offense, as Kirk Cousins has only been sacked 16 times this season. That offensive line has been effective in run blocking as well with the Redskins averaging 109.5 yards on the grounds per game, which is good for 11th in the league. 

According to Liz Clarke of The Washington Post, the Redskins' offensive line, which has combatted a number of injuries and a four-game suspension to Trent Williams, may be the unit to propel them to the postseason.

"Amid the late-season push to make the playoffs, Redskins fans are embroiled in debates over quarterback Kirk Cousins’ value and whether wide receiver DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon has made the stronger case for being brought back in 2017," Clarke wrote. "Drawing far less notice is the offensive line’s contribution to one of the NFL’s more entertaining and productive offenses — a unit that, despite team’s defensive shortcomings, just might pave the Redskins’ way to the playoffs after a two-game slide has left them 6-5-1."

DC on the hot seat
A glaring issue during the Redskins' current two-game slide has been their defense's underwhelming performance. Washington has surrendered 31 points and 350-plus yards of total offense in both of its two most recent losses. 

For the season, the Redskins' defense ranks in the bottom half of the league at No. 20 in points per game (24.6). They have also struggled mightily in critical situations, boasting the worst red zone defense and third-worst third down defense in the NFL.

According to Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post, defensive coordinator Joe Barry shoulders a fair share of blame for the defensive struggles and, as a result, should be coaching for his job over the final four weeks of the season.

"It’s possible, despite the woeful statistics and maddening performances, to conclude that a second-year coordinator with inadequate personnel deserves patience," Brewer wrote. "Washington requires either upgrades or further player development at every level of the defense – the line, the linebackers and the secondary. It desperately needs help at defensive tackle, inside linebacker and both safety positions. How can Barry be expected to make a gourmet meal with these ingredients? It’s a valid question that will complicate the front office’s postseason evaluation of Barry and his unit. But the thing is, the bar is much lower, and Barry is still burning the grilled cheese."

Generating pressure off the edge
These team's first meeting is infamously remembered in the minds of Eagles fans as Halapoulivaati Vaitai's disastrous debut at right tackle. Carson Wentz was hit early and often by the Redskins' pass rush, with Ryan Kerrigan bringing down the rookie quarterback twice in the first half.

While Vaitai won't be playing Sunday, Kerrigan, who in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, will. The Redskins' defense that has failed to make plays over the last couple weeks could use a big performance from Kerrigan against the Eagles, which is why John Keim of ESPN.com had him as a player to watch Sunday.

"He leads the Redskins with 10 sacks, the second time in his career he’s reached double figures (he had 13.5 two years ago)," Keim wrote. "Kerrigan remains the same player he’s been in the past: a guy with good skills and a terrific motor. Some of those sacks have occurred because of other players' pressure, and because he’s often near the quarterback, he will cash in on those plays. But impact plays have been missing; Kerrigan has 18 forced fumbles, but only three in the past two seasons. Fellow outside linebacker Trent Murphy has been the biggest surprise with eight sacks -- two more than he had in his first two seasons combined. But Kerrigan, who mostly plays on the left side, remains the Redskins’ best overall outside linebacker."

Predictions
The Redskins are slight favorites on the road according to Vegas (plus 2½) and are even more heavily favored by national experts.

ESPN: Eight of nine experts picked the Redskins

CBS Sports: Seven of eight experts picked the Redskins

FOX Sports: Four of five experts picked the Redskins

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham didn't support any charity with his cleats last Sunday.

In reality, he was funding the NFL.

The Eagles' receiver was fined $6,076 by the NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats (Kanye West's shoes), which had no affiliation to a charitable organization or cause, CSNPhilly.com has confirmed. Players around the NFL last weekend wore decorative spikes supporting a charity or cause they felt passionately about as part of the league's My Cleats, My Cause promotion. Green-Beckham was fined because his cleats were unapproved by the league; earlier this season Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins was fined for wearing Yeezy cleats. 

Green-Beckham told NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks he was supporting the "Yeezy Foundation." ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the fine on Friday. 

Bradham fined for tackle
Speaking of fines, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was hit with a $18,231 fine for his horse-collar tackle last Sunday on Bengals running back Jeremy Hill in the third quarter.

The first-year Eagle finished the game with five total tackles and a forced fumble.