Kirk Cousins Still Cautious of Eagles' Defense Despite Recent Struggles

As Kirk Cousins and the rest of his Washington teammates sit down to watch film to prepare for their second matchup against the Eagles this season, it’ll probably be a very different experience than the last time. 
Heading into that Week 6 matchup, the Eagles were widely considered to have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Jim Schwartz’s unit had given up just 12.8 points per game through its first four weeks. 
In the eight games since, that number jumped to 24.4 points allowed per game. 
So what happened? 
“I don’t know,” Cousins said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters on Wednesday. 
“I still see a talented defense and the same players who I know are capable of making some impressive plays over and over. All of us in the NFL have moments where we’re up and down and may stub our toe from one week to the next, but it doesn’t really mean that they’re not a stout defense that’s going to be a challenge. I feel like we’ve got our hands full with these guys this week.”
Washington didn’t have its hands full in the last matchup. In fact, the Eagles gave up 493 total yards and 230 rushing yards – both season highs – to Washington in the first meeting on Oct. 16. 
On Tuesday, when discussing the recent play of the defense, Schwartz said he thought his unit was one of the best in the league through nine games, but is in a three-game slump (see story).
What does Washington coach Jay Gruden think happened? 
“We’ve kind of gone through a little bit of the same thing,” said Gruden, whose team has lost two in a row. “They’ve been close. They just haven’t made some of the plays they made earlier in the year and offenses are making the plays. And we’re the same way on defense. We haven’t changed a whole lot personnel-wise; we’re still doing some good things, but it’s just third-down plays and chances to get off the field and turnovers, we’re just not doing a good job with that. 
“I think the Eagles are probably in the same boat. They still have good players and a good scheme, it just comes down to making plays. And for whatever reason, the offense is making more plays than the defense and that’s our case also.”

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