Key matchup: Eagles’ linebackers must neutralize Redskins RB Chris Thompson
23 October 2017 Eagles News
The Washington Redskins possess one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL, Chris Thompson. If the Philadelphia Eagles are to win tonight, it is because their linebackers neutralized Thompson and took him out of the game.
Thompson has 36 carries for 175 yards and two touchdowns this season. He is averaging almost five carries a rush, he has been pretty effective running the ball. However, what has been his greatest asset is his receiving ability. This season he has 18 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns, averaging almost 70 receiving yards a game. And, last time the Eagles played the Redskins, Thompson was not significant running the ball, however, he torched them for four catches, 52 yards, and a touchdown.
Coming off a week where the Eagles defense struggled to defend against the Carolina Panthers use of Christian McCaffrey, allowing him to catch ten passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, the Eagles defense needs to step up and stop Thompson tonight. They did a good job of not allowing McCaffrey to get any yards after the catch, but he still did damage.
A big boost for the Eagles will be having Jordan Hicks back and healthy. He is known to be a great linebacker in coverage and he can step up and stop Thompson when needed. The Redskins do a very good job of featuring Thompson and exposing bad matchups. With that being said, the Eagles need to be wary of Thompson’s positioning on the field. If the Redskins see Thompson on a one on one with Mychal Kendricks, they will expose that.
The Eagles need to set the tone early and make the Redskins realize the looks to Thompson are not going to be there. It is easier said than done, but with keeping an eye of Thompson and getting to quarterback Kirk Cousins fast, the plays will not be there. The Eagles linebackers need to step up and give the rest of the defense insurance, the passes to Thompson will not be there and if they are, like McCaffrey last week, these linebackers will rally quickly to the ball. Taking Thompson out of the game will be a big boost for the Eagles if they are able to do it, expect a pretty easy day for the defense.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon