Biggs: Witherspoon gives Birds instant boost
No one felt more fortunate than Will Witherspoon Monday night.
He went straight from a last place team that could be on its way to joining the Detroit Lions in 0-16 infamy to a team in the thick of the NFC East race, a team that he instantly made better.
The middle linebacker made his debut Monday night for the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field and instantly solidified a position that had been up in the air since Stewart Bradley was lost during training camp with a season-ending knee injury. Witherspoon dominated a 27-17 victory over the Washington Redskins that was all about big plays, returning an interception for a touchdown and forcing a fumble on a sack. Yes, he was worth a fifth-round draft pick and wide receiver Brandon Gibson in one evening for an organization that has been scrambling (yes, that’s the definition for signing veteran Jeremiah Trotter out of retirement) since Bradley went down.
He became the second player after Sam Adams to have a pick six and sack in his debut game with a team, according to the Elias Statistical Bureau.
“It's a little surprising,” Witherspoon said. “You can't expect a sack, caused fumble and interception for touchdown. You're like: What? Who in their right mind would think that in their first game?”
Coach Andy Reid said the 29-year-old veteran did a good job of picking up the calls in the short time he was with the team, good enough to man the middle of the defense and run the show. He had some familiarity with the scheme based on his time in St. Louis with coach Steve Spagnuolo, who is running a similar defense that he brought to the Rams by way of the New York Giants.
“He did a nice job of picking things up,” Reid said. “He'll continue to study. He's a smart guy, innately a smart guy. And then, I think, he is football smart also.”
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