The talk around Redskins Park is of the team resting its starters for the upcoming game in Dallas. The game is meaningless in the standings for the Redskins and many are thinking that the best thing to do would be to treat it like a preseason game and give many starters either limited playing time or none at all.
But here is one problem with doing that. When you’re playing in the preseason, you opponent is doing the same thing, putting in more and more backups as the game goes on. The Cowboys won’t be doing that. They will play their starters from beginning to end.
And the Redskins need to be concerned about one Dallas starter in particular—defensive end Greg Hardy.
Why Hardy? The one-year contract he signed with Dallas has incentives for sack totals in it. If he gets to eight sacks for the season he gets a cool $500,000. If he gets 10 that increases to $1 million.
Hardy currently has six sacks on his ledger so two against the Redskins would get him that $500K and four to get the seven-figure bonus.
Hardy is the right defensive end and with that much money on the line he will look to inflict pain on the Redskins’ quarterback on every play. If this was a regular game, controlling Hardy would be in the capable hands of Trent Williams. When the teams met earlier this month Hardy had no sacks and just one tackle.
But Williams would be a prime candidate to be rested as one of the more valuable members of the team. Do the Redskins want to risk lining up Ty Nsekhe or Tom Compton against a highly motivated Hardy? Even if they rest Kirk Cousins do they want to risk the health of backup Colt McCoy?
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer here. The situation just points out the risks involved in trying to keep your team as rested and tuned up as possible for the playoffs without getting anyone injured.