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Redskins-Cowboys preview: Can they keep it going?


Redskins-Cowboys preview: Can they keep it going?

What: Redskins (4-6) vs. Cowboys (5-5)

Where: Cowboys Stadium; Arlington, Texas

When: Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV: Fox WTTG-5

Redskins Kickoff and Postgame Live: Comcast SportsNet at 3 p.m. and after the game.

Fresh off a season-preserving win over the Eagles, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins travel to Dallas on Thanksgiving seeking to move into a second place tie with the Cowboys in the NFC East.

“I hadn’t seen this team play as physical as they did this past Sunday,” Griffin said of the pivotal Philadelphia win. “It wasn’t perfect by any means, but there was a certain tenacity, a certain attitude that was brought to the game, and you could feel it.”

Griffin posted a perfect passer rating, tossing touchdowns to four different receivers and rushing for 84 yards – four more than the Eagles had combined. The Redskins did not turn the ball over for the third consecutive game and, in fact, only one of Griffin’s 15 passes fell incomplete.

“I threw it inside and [wide receiver Josh Morgan] was falling way to the sideline,” the standout rookie joked. “That’s all on me.”

Defensively, the Redskins were just as dominant, picking off rookie quarterback Nick Foles twice and sacking him four times. The 257 yards Washington yielded were the fewest by an opponent in 15 games.

The Redskins hope their inspired effort against the Eagles provided the spark that’s eluded them for much of the season.

The Cowboys, however, aren’t the Eagles. And, like the Redskins, they’re also coming off a season-saving triumph. 

Tony Romo rallied the Cowboys from a 13-0 deficit to beat the Browns, 23-20, in overtime Sunday.

Although Romo has seen his share of struggles this season – he has as many touchdown passes as interceptions (13) – the Cowboys are still flush with weapons. Wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin rank 14 and 15th in yards with 735 and 727 yards, respectively, while tight end Jason Witten has 636 yards receiving. Against Cleveland, Bryant hauled in a career best 12 receptions for 145 yards.

Pressuring Romo with blitzes and line stunts and preventing long pass completions will be the primary task for a Redskins’ defense that has suffered another devastating injury. Safety Brandon Meriweather was lost for the season to a knee injury, further depleting a unit that, until last week, has struggled in coverage and routinely yielded too many big plays.

Washington, however, could benefit from injuries to Dallas’s starting left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) and best running back DeMarco Murray (foot). Neither is expected to suit up.

The Cowboys’ defense, meantime, has been the team’s strength throughout this inconsistent season – even if it looked shaky at times against Brandon Weedon and the Browns.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware leads a unit that ranks seventh in yards allowed per game (318). Ware has 10 sacks, which ranks fourth in the league. 

While both teams are playing on short rest, the Cowboys didn’t have to travel and will have all the comforts of home. The Redskins, though, run an unorthodox offense that requires to time to prepare for – time Dallas Coach Jason Garrett wishes he had more of this week.

“You’d rather have more time than less, there’s no question about that, particularly when you’re facing [Griffin] and the scheme they’re using is a little bit different than you see every week,” Garrett said. “We just have to prepare as best we can as quickly as we can.” 

Here are three more storylines the crew at will be following:

1--Will Fletcher suit up and extend his streak? The 37-year-old has played in 234 consecutive games, which is tied for the most among active players. But a sprained left ankle that Fletcher suffered against the Eagles is threatening his ironman status. 

Fletcher, who leads the Redskins with 84 tackles, said he doesn’t anticipate “testing” the ankle until pregame warm-up at Cowboys Stadium. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday.

“There is a reason why he has played all those games,” Coach Mike Shanahan said, “because he plays when he is hurt.” 

2--Will the Redskins be more disciplined? They crushed the a reeling Eagles’ team Sunday despite being flagged a season-high 13 penalties, including five false starts. That’s inexcusable and the mental miscues will eventually cost them a game – if it hasn’t already.

Washington leads the NFL in penalties per game at 8.8. Dallas, meantime, is a close second at 8.4.

“It’s something we have to get better at,” Coach Mike Shanahan said.

3--For the second week in a row, the Redskins can end a drought. Against the Eagles, they snapped an eight game losing streak against rookie quarterbacks and won their first game coming out of a bye week for the first time since 2007.

On Sunday, they can end a six game losing streak to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Redskins’ first loss to the Cowboys on turkey day was in 1968; the most recent was a 27-20 loss in 2002.

Washington's last win on Thanksgiving came in 1973, a 20-0 victory over the Lions.

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.