Eagles' Vick is red hot, and Redskins' Griffin is definitely not

Robert Griffin III, coming off a serious knee injury, is sacked by Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans during the third quarter.
Robert Griffin III, coming off a serious knee injury, is sacked by Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans during the third quarter. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 11, 2013

Here are some observations and ruminations about Monday night's Eagles-Redskins game:

LANDOVER, Md. - Robert Griffin III was obviously rusty in his first game since injuring his knee in January.

The Redskins star quarterback never got into a rhythm early Monday night against the Eagles but seemed to find his game in the late going. Griffin was also not much of a threat to run and entered halftime with just two carries for 2 yards. Credit goes to the Eagles defense, which presented Griffin with different looks and put pressure on the quarterback.

It will be worth monitoring to see how Griffin looks when he visits the Eagles on Nov. 17 after nine games compared with Monday, his first game in eight months.

Overall, Griffin completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards, two interceptions and two touchdowns. He finished with five carries for 24 yards.

- Zach Berman

Kendricks blitzes

It was criminal neglect how little the Eagles blitzed Mychal Kendricks last season. The inside linebacker was only a rookie, but the wide-nine scheme did not utilize his skill set.

Jim Washburn's linemen were supposed to provide the pass rush. Kendricks has uncommon speed for his position. He's strong in coverage, but he could be the best blitzing linebacker the Eagles have had in years.

Late in the second quarter Monday, he shot through a gap and forced Griffin to intentionally ground the ball.

- Jeff McLane

Challenge failed

The first challenge of the season for Eagles coach Chip Kelly was unsuccessful.

Michael Vick threw a pass on third and 10 to tight end Zach Ertz at the 29-yard line, and Ertz dropped the pass near the first-down marker. It was hard to tell if Ertz had possession before he dropped the ball and fell on it, so Kelly threw the red flag to try to get the first down.

The ruling on the field was an incomplete pass, and the officials confirmed it after a review. Since Kelly threw the flag while Alex Henery nailed a 48-yard field goal, Henery was forced to kick the field goal again.

He hit it again, cutting the Redskins' first-quarter lead to 7-3.

- Zach Berman

No ground gain

How do you stop the Redskins formidable running attack?

You stack the box as the Eagles did, essentially lining up five men on the line, and you stretch running back Alfred Morris out.

Washington was limited with possibly its best runner - the rusty Griffin - unable to scramble as he did so many times last season. But Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis kept pinching outside linebackers Trent Cole and Connor Barwin up, and they helped hold Morris to just 26 yards on seven first-half carries.

The inside guys, meanwhile, did their jobs and took on blockers, allowing the linebackers and safeties to make stops.

- Jeff McLane

Good start for Williams

Throughout the spring and summer, Cary Williams insisted to anyone who asked to wait until the season to see what he can do. So even when he missed time during organized team activities because of family commitments or during training camp with injury, Williams' stance was that he'll be ready come the season.

Williams was true to his word on Monday, recording a first-half sack and running with Pierre Garcon to cover the Redskins wide receiver on a deep pass. He started the second half with a diving interception. Williams must be the Eagles' No. 1 cornerback this season, and he played like it on Monday after a turbulent first summer in Philadelphia.

- Zach Berman

More wrinkles

Kelly had given away a few secrets in practice, but he had yet to unveil a number of unorthodox offensive line formations in the preseason.

On one play Monday night, left tackle Jason Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson were split wide as blockers with one receiver and another behind them. Vick handed off on that play.

Earlier, Kelly revealed a stacked offensive line formation in which Johnson lined up inside Peters. The Eagles ran several plays in a row with the look in the second quarter and had success on the ground running to that side.

It was unclear exactly if the odd looks threw off the Redskins defense, but they were just more wrinkles to Kelly's offense.

- Jeff McLane

Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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