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For the Eagles' offense, it's in the scheme of things

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Photo - Rich Schultz /Getty Images
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has rushed for 705 yards but only two touchdowns this season, averaging 4.4 yards a carry.
Rich Schultz /Getty Images Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has rushed for 705 yards but only two touchdowns this season, averaging 4.4 yards a carry.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

ASHBURN -- The rookie quarterback record is startling, but it's not the stat that matters. The Redskins struggle against rookies. It's a fact. They have dropped four in a row under this coaching staff.

They will face another one Sunday when they host the Eagles. But it's not Nick Foles who is the concern. It's the Eagles' receivers: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. It's the running back: LeSean McCoy. It's the scheme, one that has scored plenty of points over the years.

So the focus isn't on a winless record against rookies. It's on everything else, even on a secondary looking for a better final seven games.

"Guys aren't trying to give up plays," Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "They're trying to make plays. Every game is an opportunity to try and leave a better taste in your mouth and everyone else's mouth. When you win it cures a lot of things."

And to win the Redskins must stop an offense they failed to control last season. The Eagles swept Washington in 2011, scoring a combined 54 points. Quarterback Michael Vick threw for a combined 572 yards, and receiver Jeremy Maclin surpassed 100 yards in both games. McCoy rushed for 126 in the opener.

But Vick likely won't play because of a concussion. That doesn't necessarily ease the Redskins' burden. Jackson averages 16.3 yards per catch (with only two touchdowns), while Maclin has four touchdowns out of 36 catches. McCoy has rushed for 705 yards, though only 4.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns.

"It's about the scheme," Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson said. "Mike is a dynamic player who can do tough things for you as a defense. But their scheme is what's demanding. It's what wins for them, and you have to prepare for the scheme, not the player."

Foles, though, presents a different dynamic than Vick. The rookie third-round pick replaced Vick last week and completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown in a 38-23 loss to Dallas. He's not as mobile as Vick, but he did show an ability to move in the pocket, avoiding the rush and sliding to open areas to make throws.

"He hasn't seen a lot of defenses in the NFL," Hall said. "It'll be nice to get him out there and break him in a little bit. Ultimately we have to do a lot of things right to win this game. He still has a lot of weapons. We have to play hard. We have to be physical. We have to get a win. We need a win bad."

To get one they would do well to confuse Foles. The Eagles have struggled in protection, having allowed 29 sacks. But Foles' lack of running could result in quicker throws, too.

"The challenges are just different when you get Vick," Redskins safety Reed Doughty said. "It's not going to be a play where, wow, he's going to run for 40 yards. [Foles will] read and hit a check-down, and McCoy is now his check-down instead of running the ball. ... He's a good quarterback. He made the throws. He has the arm. He'll run the offense and do it as efficiently as possible, and he can make the throws."

It then returns to the lack of success vs. rookie quarterbacks.

"I have no idea," Hall said. "We haven't had the greatest success against young guys, so if anyone isn't treating this guy like he's an NFL starting quarterback, they're crazy."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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