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OF: Redskins vs Cowboys - Recipe for Victory

One of many experimental iterations ...


Staff member
Apr 11, 2009
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Montclair, VA

Virginia Tech

I wondered all week how to distill this game down to a single manageable piece. There are so many angles and layers, so many keys and so much intrigue, I could have easily written a trilogy.

As much time as one spends trying to predict, anticipate and best guess, however, it is often an offhand comment by a player that resonates most and points the way.

Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers doesn't strike me as the head-game, counter-intelligence type (no disrespect intended), and I am quite comfortable thinking what he said yesterday worth noting. As it happens, it was also a perfect jumping off point for a discussion about what the Redskins need to bring to the table against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

Talking about the injury-plagued Dallas offensive line, and how it could affect the Redskins' defensive approach, this is what Rogers had to say:

"Their back-ups pretty good; they all right. Like Coach said, they plan to us we got to play our defense, what we do. Whoever is in there, we still gonna run our blitz [and] make their line move. They got a lot of big guys so we do a lot of stunting, a lot of different things on the line where they have to move their feet. We think that's an advantage to us no matter who is in there."

Based on what we have heard all offseason, we had reason to expect defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to be aggressive right out of the box. But there was also reason to think he might try to protect his still-raw unit and maybe cross up Dallas up by not brining the heat, instead sitting back and making Dallas try to sustain long, multi-play drives.

Well, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. Look for the Redskins to make good on all the tough talk out of Ashburn since January about attacking the football and looking to create turnovers.

The good news there, of course, is that the Redskins are going to lay some hits on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wreak some havoc. The bad news is that by going full blast after Romo and forcing him to scramble, they are going to force him to do the one thing he does best...slide in the pocket, roll out, buy time for his receivers to break off routes and find open spaces.

The Redskins haven't been an attacking, aggressive defense for a long time, and it is definitely a breath of fresh air to think of them turning up the heat and getting after people. Richie Petitbon seems like a very long time ago. The flip side of that, of course, is the high risk that accompanies high reward ventures.

We know nothing about Haslett's defense at this point. We don't know if they can contain the run, consistently pressure the passer, if Haslett can call a good game and make in-game adjustments...nothing. And it will take far more than just one first game to see how those things will evolve or devolve over time.

One thing seems certain, though. If they go down, they're going down swinging.

"Regardless of whether they were starting the whole five or not I think the most important thing is this is the season opener, we have to set the tempo for the defense and just set the tempo in general just as an organization," linebacker Andre Carter said. "Regardless of who is playing it's just important we go out there and play four quarters of our game."

Thinking about the defense got me going on what else the Redskins will need to do to come away with a win Sunday. It's not an exclusive list, of course, but if the Redskins can check more of these boxes than not it would be a hell of a start...

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Last edited:


The Legend
Feb 1, 2010
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Waynesboro, VA

James Madison

Excellent read. Composure and Speed were the two things that jumped out at me. With Reed out there on the field, that hurts us in the speed department a little; if we could combine Reed's brain with Landry's speed and hitting ability? Yikes!

Composure is so hard to quantify, but I do expect a big difference from last year. I expect more discipline. Not to say that there won't be any 15 yarders, just that you can't have those to extend a drive. I was talking to a friend of mine who went to OU, and still rabidly follows the team, and he said Trent Williams is nasty and was known for that in school. He would pick up the 15 yard penalty while punishing a lineman, but had the presence of mind to rarely do it in the Red Zone, or on important drives.

Anyway, I like your prediction Om, here's hoping you're right!

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