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Need to Know: 5 Redskins vs. Cowboys questions--Who will cover Dez?

Need to Know: 5 Redskins vs. Cowboys questions--Who will cover Dez?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 22, five days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five Redskins vs. Cowboys questions

Can Colt McCoy game manage the team to a win? The Cowboys are defying the odds by boasting a 6-1 record despite having turned the ball over one more time (6 INT, 7 fumbles lost) than they have taken it away (7 picks, 5 fumbles recovered). If the Redskins can manage to take it away twice, as the average Dallas opponent does, and not give it away, the could hang with them.

Will DeMarco Murray continue his 100-yard streak? If Washington can’t hold Murray under 100 rushing yards in a game for the first time this season it might not matter how the turnover ratio turns out. The Redskins have not allowed 100 yards to a running back since Arian Foster went for 103 in the season opener. Since then they have faced LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, and Darren Sproles and none has approached 100 (although QB Russell Wilson did go for 122 on the ground against them). But Murray is the hottest back in the league right now, perhaps the hottest in league history.

Who is going to cover Dez Bryant? 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.

How will Ryan Kerrigan do without Brian Orakpo rushing from the other side? He lost a sack to a penalty against the Titans, meaning that he’s now eighth in the NFL in sacks with 6.5 instead of second with 7.5. Regardless, we’ll have to see what he produces without the injured Orakpo, who did command some attention from opposing blockers even though he didn’t compile a bunch of sacks, on the opposite side. In 2012, Orakpo missed the last 14 games and Kerrigan posted 8.5 sacks, tied for his career high. One came in the season opener with Orakpo in the lineup, the rest after Orakpo was out for the season. Kerrigan stayed on the left side in 2012; this year he will work some snaps, perhaps the majority of them, from the right side, where he will face stronger pass blockers. It starts Monday with Tryon Smith of Dallas, one of the best in the game.

Can Kerrigan and company get to Tony Romo? Despite his mobility and the fact that Dallas has given him a solid offensive line, Tony Romo has been sacked 16 times. For comparison, the trio of Redskins QBs has gone down a combined 14 times. The formula defensively will be to stop the run and get Romo on the ground. Much, much easier said than done.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:10—Open locker room and Jay Gruden news conference after practice.

Days until: Monday night Redskins @ Cowboys 5; Redskins @ Vikings 11; Bucs @ Redskins 25

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

If you want to, you can find plenty of things wrong with the Redskins’ 23-17 win over the Panthers. The home team was up 17-0 in the second quarter and yet had to hang on as the Panthers reached the red zone with a chance to win in the last minute. The game got tight because the Redskins continued their second-half scoring problems, putting up just six points. Alex Smith passed for just 153 yards. 

But you can’t poke holes in the fact that the Redskins are 3-2 and in first place in the NFC East. Sure, there is a long way to go. But consider this—a Redskins schedule that looked rough at the beginning of the season doesn’t look quite as tough. In fact, right now the Redskins have a better winning percentage than any team they will play in their remaining 11 games. 

Yes, that’s right. They have six games to play in the division, two each against the Cowboys and Eagles, both now 3-3, and the 1-5 Giants. Their two remaining games against the NFC South are against the 2-3 Bucs and the 2-4 Falcons. The schedule is rounded out with games against three AFC South teams, the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars. All three of those teams are tied atop the division at 3-3. 

Of course, you can’t expect all of these teams to still be wallowing around .500 when they face the Redskins. It looks like the Eagles and Falcons are on the upswing and in today’s NFL any team can get hot at any time. 

And, as the Redskins demonstrated in their Week 2 loss to the Colts, they are capable of losing to a weak team. They still have plenty of issues they have to correct if they plan on maintaining their winning record and staying in contention for the division title. They won’t survive if they continue to have difficulty scoring in the second half (their only second-half TD this season came in garbage time against the Saints). They need to get more sacks from Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, who have one combined. Plenty of details need to be ironed out. 

But the fact that they are a flawed team doesn’t take away from the fact that they got a quality win over the Panthers. Carolina was 3-1, coming off of an 11-5 playoff season. On top of that, the Redskins had not beaten the Panthers since 2006, a stretch that included an 0-4 record against Cam Newton. They didn’t commit a turnover for the first time this year and they got a season-high three takeaways. Christian McCaffrey came into the game averaging 83 yards per game and left it averaging 70 after picking up 20 yards on eight carries. 

With all of that said, the Redskins still have to overcome their inconsistency. They have won two games in a row just twice since the beginning of the 2017 season. Nobody is going to believe that anything is different about the Redskins until they can string together three or four wins in a row. Until then, skepticism will abound. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler is locked into the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler