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Cowboys vs. Redskins: 5 Questions with Hogs Haven

It’s time for 5 Questions. This week we speak with our good friend Skin Patrol over at Hogs Haven.

Blogging The Boys: Give us a scouting report on Todd Collins.

Hogs Haven: Todd Collins has not thrown an interception since 1997 and may never start. He has played outstanding football since landing the starting job due to a JC injury. All that said, he's an immobile quarterback who is probably playing over his head. The huge advantage for Todd is that he plays in a proven offense he knows more about than any player in the league. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders, stolen from Kansas City, brought young old Todd with him and he's been the alleged third stringer since. Most impressive is that Collins has managed to supplant Mark Brunell in the lineup despite the Mark's close relationship with Coach Gibbs. Collins protects the football and understands how to make this offense move. His weakness is a lack of mobility easily exploitable by a starting Cowboys' defense against an injured Redskins' offensive line. He can't throw the long ball all that well but throws the mid and short range passes outstandingly in this offense.

BTB: How are Redskins fans dealing with the loss of Sean Taylor? How about the team?

HH: Fans, not so well. Team, very well. There is no proper or appropriate way to deal with the loss of Sean Taylor. I don't want to speak on behalf of all Redskins fans but will admit that it has been unusually difficult to stomach for at least one fan. All that said, the team has responded incredibly well under the circumstances. After a truly devastating loss against the Bills, the team has convincingly defeated three straight opponents, two of them on the road in either must-win situations or facing opponents under similar standards. Reed Doughty was playing FS but the team swapped him and LaRon Landry. LaRon has played like a man possessed and Reed Doughty has, pleasantly surprisingly, filled in quite nicely at strong safety.

Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, both teammates of Taylor at The U., have taken the death of Sean harder than anyone else yet have managed to play at a higher level than they have all year. That should say a lot about both of them.

BTB: What's been the most important thing that has happened to get the team on the win streak?

HH: The easy answer would be to claim that Portis or Moss or Todd Collins are playing at a level concurrent with winning. The truth is the defense has continued to amaze in spite of a devastating loss of starters: Rocky McIntosh, Carlos Rogers, and Sean Taylor.  Yet the Redskins D is keeping this team in games. It is much easier to win games when you only need 17 (Chicago), 22 (Minnesota) or 11 (Giants) to escape victoriously.

BTB: What's the story on an extension for Joe Gibbs? I've seen conflicting reports.

HH: I've been away from teh Internets but the current word is that Joe Gibbs was allegedly offered a two-year extension. Coach has denied those reports. In my personal opinion, I have maintained that he will play out his original contract with Dan Snyder, just as he said he would, and will then retire. IE he will coach through the 2008 season. If something incredible happens, perhaps he will change his mind. I think there is very little that can happen this season that will discourage him from coaching through his contract, given that the team is knocking on the postseason door. Should something remarkable happen with this team there really is no telling what Joe Gibbs will do. Maybe Snyder will offer him an extension, maybe he's crazy enough to take it were it offered.

Regardless, Joe Gibbs is coaching a 5 win team that has suffered its fair share of injury and adversity and has somehow managed to get us in a position to play for a few extra weeks. He deserves all the credit in the world for getting us where we are. As a fan, if you told me that Coach was offered a 2-year extension, I'd approve.

BTB: The Cowboys may be playing some of their backups in this game. Are you feeling confident about winning and making the playoffs?

HH: I'm not confident about winning, nor am I confident about making the playoffs. I'm a cynic. The Cowboys have an outstanding team with or without their starters and the Redskins have lost enough home games (that they should have won) to make me wonder aloud whether we can close the deal this Sunday. We have an out if both the Vikings and the Saints lose, but that is a pipe dream. The Redskins need to beat the Cowboys to make the playoffs and it won't be easy despite the circumstances. I am confident that no player on the Redskins is looking past this game.

The answer to your final question is no, and no.