Redskins

Quick Links

Redskins-Cowboys preview: Can they keep it going?

romo_rg3.png

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 www.csnwashington.com 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.

Quick Links

Thanksgiving is a huge game for the Redskins and a huge opportunity for Colt McCoy

Thanksgiving is a huge game for the Redskins and a huge opportunity for Colt McCoy

For decades, the most iconic image of America came from Texas. 

Hollywood loved the cowboy, silently toiling in the heat and cold, staring down danger and prepared to answer any challenge that came his way.

But over time, industrialization and modernization, cowboys drifted from the national consciousness, or at least from the movies and television screens. 

As things shifted, however, another Texas icon emerged: the quarterback. 

Friday Night Lights, first as a book, then a movie, and later a TV show, made the country care about small town Texas high school football. The sophomoric Varsity Blues helped too. 

As that mythology grew, one real life QB emerged to fit the storybook casting: Colt McCoy.

With blue eyes and a humble voice, McCoy came from tiny Tuscola, Texas, a town of fewer than 800 people about three hours west of Dallas. He went on and excelled as the starting quarterback at the University of Texas, becoming the winningest Longhorn QB ever. 

Then the storybook ended.

In 2010, he was drafted by a terrible Browns team. In two seasons he started 21 games, but went 6-15. 

His career stumbled, he landed on a few bad San Francisco teams after that. He battled injuries, often, and didn't play all that well in spurts. 

His chance at NFL stardom, like he'd found in college, faded. Eventually, he caught on with the Redskins in a weird situation. 

McCoy joined the team in 2014, the same year Jay Gruden took over as head coach. Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins were already on the roster, and a multi-year awkward dance ensued. 

All three QBs got starts in 2014, but by 2015, Cousins got the starter's job, McCoy became the backup and RG3 hit the bench. In 2016, Griffin went to Cleveland, with McCoy firmly entrenched as Cousins' backup.

For two years, Cousins took every snap in Washington, and McCoy worked hard on the scout team to press the defense. 

Things seemed to be coming to a head as Cousins' contract situation reached a breaking point in 2018. Finally, maybe, McCoy would get his chance. 

And then Washington traded for Alex Smith.

McCoy again seemed destined to the bench, but much like fictional characters Johnny Moxon or Matt Saracen, the backup got thrust into the spotlight. 

After 10 games and a 6-3 start, Smith went down with a broken leg last week in a loss to Houston, and now, after a long, long wait, it's McCoy's team.

"For me, now is not a time to really kind of think about what got me to this point right here," McCoy said Tuesday. "Now, it's time to play."

That said, a small town upbringing is a big part of his story, and for McCoy, he can't forget it.

"I certainly wouldn’t change where I grew up, where I came from," McCoy said. "Everyone there means so much to me and that's a special part of me. Right now, my focus is on this team and how I can help this team this week because I know they're counting on me."

What McCoy might not know, or realize, is that his story is part of what makes him so appealing. 

The small town hero, the Texas gunslinger, McCoy fits all those bills. 

Redskins running back Chris Thompson tried to describe the intangible trust that comes from playing with McCoy, and the best he could muster was labeling it that "Texas thing." 

Watching McCoy enter the game for the Redskins last week at FedEx Field, there was an undeniable electricity that shot through the stadium. It was palpable, and multiple Redskins players said they felt it, too. 

And now, after four starts in four years in Washington, McCoy has the chance to lead a good team into the NFL playoffs in a league where a backup quarterback got named Super Bowl MVP last season.

"This opportunity is a great one for him," Gruden said.

"We don't have to change a thing with Colt at quarterback. We just go on as scheduled. I know the players all have a ton of respect for Colt and they're going to play hard for Colt and they know the ball's going to be thrown in the right spot."

Of course it starts on Thursday, on national television, and of course it starts in Dallas with the Redskins installed as big underdogs. 

McCoy found success once before playing against the Cowboys in Dallas on national television. It was a riveting win, down to the wire, and the Redskins entered the game as big underdogs, too. 

That came in 2014, in the middle of a lost season for Washington, but the victory still resonates for a lot of fans, in the same way Colt McCoy resonates with a lot of fans. 

The story is easy to root for and the person makes it even easier. McCoy, despite some circumstances where other players would complain, publicly or privately, never did. He never really got his chance to start, but kept soldiering on. 

"It's not easy but at the same time, I'm thankful for where I am and for the things that I’ve gone through. Hopefully some of the ups and downs that I've been through in my career will help me now, help me in this situation. I think if I didn’t enjoy football, if I didn’t love football, I probably would have maybe been through. But I love the process. I love the challenge each week."

This week's challenge is much different than it has been for McCoy. 

The challenge is no longer staying engaged in meetings or practices when playing time isn't on the horizon. 

The challenge is the Dallas Cowboys, on a short week, with a surging defense and a vicious pass rush.

The challenge is a beat-up Redskins offensive line and the pressure of maintaining a one-game lead in the NFC East. 

For years, the challenge has been mental. Now, the challenge will be very, very real. 

This game is huge for the Redskins. For their playoff hopes. For their coach's job security. For the organization's direction in 2019. 

And it's also huge for McCoy. To validate his hard work. His patience. To validate Tuscola. 

"I'm thankful for the opportunity but I think it's even more than that. It's time to just go play and put everything else aside," he said.

"We have a huge game this week. It's a huge game."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Not that this helps, but NFL admits refs missed a late call that would've assisted Redskins vs. Texans

492adcebc793279c132174535f8b967b.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Not that this helps, but NFL admits refs missed a late call that would've assisted Redskins vs. Texans

You're finally over the Redskins' loss to the Texans and looking forward to their matchup against the Cowboys, right?

Well, time for you to get upset again.

At the end of that game, officials made a call on Josh Norman, a holding that shouldn't have been flagged.

They also didn't make a call involving Josh Doctson on a play where two Houston DBs got very physical with the 'Skins wide receiver on Washington's last play from scrimmage.

But hey! Guess what!?

On Tuesday, the NFL informed the Redskins that the Texans should've been penalized for pass interference on that second sequence:

Fantastic news, right? This means Dustin Hopkins can trot out and try his game-winning field goal again, doesn't it?

Oh, wait, it doesn't?

Of course it doesn't. 

These late admissions don't help anyone. They don't change the final scores or records of the teams involved.

So why don't you just head to the comments section of this blog and let it rip, because that's about the only thing you can do at this point.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: