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Listening In On A Once Bitter Rival: What The Redskins Are Saying About The Cowboys

Four topics seem to be on everybody's mind in Washington: How to contain Tony Romo, how to contain DeMarco Murray, how to contain Dez Bryant, and what to do about that unexpectedly and annoyingly good defense.

Ronald Martinez

While we're sitting through a full day of NFL action as we await tomorrow's game against the Redskins, we take a look at what Redskins personnel is saying about the Cowboys. Four topics seem to be on everybody's mind in Washington: How to contain Tony Romo, how to contain DeMarco Murray, how to contain Dez Bryant, and what to do about that unexpectedly and annoyingly good defense.


Dallas Runs Very Familiar Defensive Schemes -
Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen says the Cowboys plays solid, team defense overall, and that the defense reminds him of a team the Redskins played earlier this year.

"They got some good guys. They play really hard," Paulsen said. "They don’t have anybody that really stands out, but as a group, the parts make the whole."

In his second season at the helm of the Cowboys’ defense, coordinator Rod Marinelli has been reunited with and Monte Kiffin to run a cover-two scheme in Dallas. While traditionally it’s been a cornerstone for their defense, Paulsen said he’s noticed a mix-up in recent weeks.

"He doesn’t do it as much as he used to, because I thought the same thing," Paulsen said. "Then you watch them and it’s like ‘Oh, this is not what he’s traditionally done.’"

According to Paulsen, Dallas is showing a tendency to play more like the defending Super Bowl champions on defense – a team the Redskins have already faced once this season.

Redskins Keying In On Containing Tony Romo -
Another Seahawks comparison, this time for Tony Romo:

"You think you got him covered in the pocket, he can scramble around and make plays," linebacker Keenan Robinson said. "He’s kind of like Russell Wilson, but more of a veteran type. He’s athletic, not as athletic as Russell Wilson, but athletic enough to where he can make plays with his feet, make plays with his arm and he’s smart enough to know what spots will hurt you and what coverage.

"He’s a great player so we have to make sure that we take care of him as well, stop the run, and hopefully the two will work together to win this game."

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said that the Redskins must be aware of when Romo breaks free, because that's when the Cowboys receivers have enough time to get separation.

"I think he’s a heck of a football player. Even when he gets criticized for a bad play, the guy does so much for the football team: extending plays, seeing things, he does everything. He can extend plays. He can run. He can make all the throws.

"He’s just an excellent football player."

Redskins Prepare For NFL's Leading Rusher -
The Washington Redskins are confident in their ability to shutdown the NFL's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who is yet to rush for less than 100 yards in a game this season.

"We’ve done a good job at stopping the run, and our goal going into this is holding him under 100 just like our goal is every week," linebacker Will Compton said. "We just got to take care of us and we’ll be alright."

So how do they plan on stopping Murray? Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said that it’s simply a numbers game.

"Do a great job tackling and make sure there’s population around him because not too many people tackle him one-on-one," he said. "You need two to three people to bring him down."

Redskins’ young DBs will have their hands full versus Dez Bryant - The Washington Post
The Redskins are hoping somebody is up to the task of covering Dez Bryant.

"Dez is a great receiver, no question about it, so Amerson, Breeland, they’re going to have to step up and I don’t know if they know what they’re in for yet," Coach Jay Gruden said with a chuckle. "But we’ve covered some good receivers this year also. But Dez is a lot bigger, stronger, more physical than guys that we’ve faced so far and he’s having a great year and we know that come crunch time, if they need a play, somebody’s got to cover him. Hopefully, Breeland and Amerson will be up to the task."

5 Redskins vs. Cowboys questions – Who will cover Dez? |
Rich Tandler wonders who will cover Dez Bryant, and comes to this rather sobering conclusion:

That has been DeAngelo Hall’s duty ever since Bryant became an impact receiver. But Hall is out and it’s likely that David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland will take sides and cover Bryant when he lines up in front of them. It’s almost certain that one of them will appear in a Sports Center highlight of Bryant making an impossible grab. Whoever isn’t on Bryant likely will get Terrence Williams, who is averaging 17.8 yards on his 19 receptions. It’s likely be a long night for the two young CBs.

Less-experienced Redskins will fill big roles in Monday night meeting with Cowboys - The Washington Post
Injuries and poor play mean less experienced players will have to fill big roles Monday night against Dallas.

"They’ve got some other good players so you really need about 14 players on your defense to defend everybody," Haslett joked. "They’re going to have to stand up."

Redskins offense and defense ranked in Top 10. So why are they only 2-5? - ESPN
John Keim answers a Twitter question.

Q: Redskins rank 5th in offense (389 ypg) & 6th in defense (322 ypg), but posted only a 2-5 record. How is this possible?

Because the defense is 24th in points allowed and the offense is 22nd in points per game. So they don't give up as many yards and they do gain a lot of yards, but scoring matters. And the Redskins struggle big time in this area. Also, turnovers matter greatly: the Redskins are minus-9 in turnover differential, which is worst in the NFL. Add a special teams that does almost nothing to contribute big plays and gives them up and that's how you get to 2-5.

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