PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
First, the good news: Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan is familiar with Eagles' rookie quarterback Nick Foles, who could make his first NFL start Sunday in FedEx Field. Nothing's official but the odds appear long that Michael Vick, who suffered a "significant" concussion against the Cowboys, will suit up in Week 10 -- or the rest of the season.
“Obviously you have to get ready for both,” Shanahan said after Monday’s practice, according to CSNWashington. “We’re not sure what the situation is. We’ll kind of wait and see there. With the concussion that he had, I don’t think you’re really sure. … Whoever you think the starter may be, you’ll have a game plan [for him]," the coach added. “For a guy like Mike, you got to have a second game plan."
The Redskins' defense, a much-maligned bunch this season, does have the benefit of facing Robert Griffin III every day in practice. And though he's just two months into his NFL journey he's already better than Vick. If nothing else, that should minimize the time spent preparing for the unlikely event of Vick taking the field.
But Shanahan also has a leg up on game-planning for Foles, too: he coached the rookie in January's Senior Bowl.
“He’s big, very strong, got great arm strength,” Shanahan said. “Looks like he reads defenses very easily and can make all the throws.”
This echoes what Adam Caplan, who provides pre- and postgame analysis for PhiladelphiaEagles.com, had to say: "For those watching coaching tape of Foles, notice: pre-snap vision, creates space to throw, downfield focus. He's better than [Vick] in all three areas."
Now for the bad news: Washington hasn't won a game coming off their bye week since 2007, when Joe Gibbs was still the coach. Since 2000, the 'Skins are 6-6 after their bye while Shanahan is 7-4 over that time (he didn't coach in 2009).
So while Eagles coach Andy Reid was 13-0 after off the bye until this season, the Redskins apparently don't do well with the extra week off. Shanahan was asked how he used the time to p.
“You look at your personnel. You go back and you evaluate the players and look at your scheme," he said. "You take a look at the things you’ve done poorly and you try to correct them. … “You have to get ready for your second half of the season," he continued. "You have to play your best football. We’ve had some opportunities in the first half and we haven’t closed a couple of those games. Now, there’s no [room for] error. You have to play your best. You have to play from Philly on. That was the message.”
If the 'Skins are going to have any chance to get back in this thing they have to win Sunday. If they don't, when we look back on the 2012 season the turning point will be Weeks 9 and 11 -- losses to Carolina and Philly.