STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
QB Robert Griffin III was listed as limited in practice on Thursday, though he did take some repetitions with the first team, according to coach Jay Gruden. He is recovering from a dislocated left ankle sustained in a Sept. 14 game against Jacksonville. Gruden says Washington will decide on Griffin's status on Monday before its game at Dallas. He would play if activated. But Gruden still expects Colt McCoy to be the starter against the Cowboys.
LT Trent Williams was listed as limited Thursday one day after skipping a short practice. He has been fighting a right knee injury since a Sept. 25 game against the New York Giants, but has yet to miss a game.
FS Ryan Clark was limited in practice with ankle and shoulder injuries. He has yet to miss a game with those ailments.
CB Tracy Porter has appeared in just one game this season with a hamstring injury. He was again limited in practice on Thursday.
ILB Perry Riley is expected to play against Dallas. Riley missed last week's game at Arizona with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He participated fully in practice on Thursday, but coach Jay Gruden says he might still have to share snaps with reserve linebacker Will Compton, who started in place of Riley last week.
Finding a way to stop Dallas' potent offense will be a challenge, especially with two key starters (cornerback DeAngelo Hall, linebacker Brian Orakpo) out for the season and another, Barry Cofield, out until Nov. 16.
Hall was always a security blanket against star receiver Dez Bryant. He would lose battles, yes. But Hall competed hard last season against the bigger names. That job now falls to second-year pro David Amerson and rookie Bashaud Breeland. That's a stiff task.
Dallas has topped 30 points in four of the last five games and running back DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing yards. And the Redskins are well aware of quarterback Tony Romo's penchant for extending plays. He's burned them many times over the years.
On the other side, what was supposed to be a historically bad Cowboys defense has instead been about average in yard allowed per game (343.9) and points allowed per game (21). Is that just a mirage? Washington has scuffled offensively in recent weeks thanks to turnovers. Kirk Cousins lost his starting job because of them. But does Colt McCoy have the arm to take advantage of the speed of wide receiver DeSean Jackson? Most of McCoy's work last week against Tennessee was on short, quick passes, though he did set up the game-winning field goal with a pass down field to Jackson that drew a pass interference call.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Redskins ILB Keenan Robinson vs. Titans TE Jason Witten.
Washington has struggled in pass coverage this year and that's in part because its linebackers aren't great in coverage. But Robinson, the NFC's reigning defensive player of the week, has the speed at inside linebacker to stay with most tight ends. Witten has been eerily quiet this season with only 23 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdown. But if the Redskins become too concerned with DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant, Witten can make them pay. Just two years ago he caught an incredible 16 passes against Washington in two games.
Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick vs. Redskins WR DeSean Jackson.
Known for blitzing on occasion he has 8.5 career sacks Scandrick will have to pick his spots this week. That's because few receivers in the league are better at blazing past opposing corners than Jackson, whose speed can be intimidating. He has receptions of 81, 60 and 64 yards over the last five games alone and three touchdowns.
Also, opposite starting corner Brandon Carr has a mild hamstring injury that could hamper him on Monday. He was hurt during the Giants game last week, although is expected to play. Dallas has already lost corner Morris Claiborne for the year after rupturing the patella tendon in his left knee.