Redskins vs Cowboys: Keys to the Game
1. Protect Colt McCoy:
-The Redskins will be trotting out their 3rd QB of the year to try to win this rivalry game on the road. It’s not going to be easy and if they don’t keep a clean pocket for McCoy it could get ugly fast. Now hopefully replacing Tyler Polumbus for Tom Compton is a step in the right direction, but it probably only fixes part of the problem. The Redskins have seen other linemen as well as backs and tight ends struggle in protection as well. They can’t afford to give up pressures and sacks if they want McCoy to succeed. The good news is the Cowboys don’t have any truly dominant pass rushers, but they have done an okay job at getting pressure on the QB this season.
2. Get the run going early:
-The Redskins inability to get the running game going has been a major issue this season, but this is a game where they ideally should find success. The Cowboys have not been strong versus the run and the Redskins need to exploit this. They have to get it going early to hopefully get a lead, otherwise they won’t even be able to run the ball later in the game if the Cowboys can put this one out off reach. Alfred Morris really needs to carry the load in this game, and they have to find away to get him 25 carries against this defense.
3. Sustain drives and keep Dallas off the field:
-One problem the Redskins have had all season is their ability to sustain drives. Given that they typically have had awful field position this has hurt their ability to put up points or flip the field on opposing teams. While it’s been nice that the Redskins have had some big splash plays, when that is all you are relying on it makes it very tough to win. The Redskins also need to sustain drives to keep the Cowboys offense off the field. Dallas’s entire defensive gameplan revolves around controlling the clock and tempo on offense, so why not give them a taste of their own medicine.
4. Take some chances in this game:
-The Redskins are sitting at 2-5 with really nothing to lose in this game. They need to take some chances early on to try to steal this win. Whether that is trick plays, on-side kicks or going for it on 4th down situations the Redskins need to find ways to catch the Cowboys off guard and get some big plays. They can definitely come back to bite you if you don’t succeed in scenarios like this, but at this point what do the Redskins have to lose.
5. Win on 1st and 2nd down defensively:
-The Cowboys run game this year has been simply dominant and it is making the life of Tony Romo that much easier as he is constantly ahead of the chains. The Cowboys aren’t getting in a lot of 3rd and long situations, which forces defenses into some bad situations. If the Redskins can’t force the Cowboys into some 3rd and long situations there chances of slowing down this offense are extremely slim. The good news is the Redskins run defense has been pretty strong, but this will be an extremely tough test against Murray and this offensive line. If the Redskins get the better of it, then perhaps you can get some pressure on Romo and force a couple of turnovers.
6. Win the penalty and take-away battles:
-Let’s be honest, the Redskins aren’t a good football team right now and they definitely aren’t as good on paper as the Cowboys. So this is not a team that is going to win on the road if they are turning the ball over or giving up free yards with penalties. The Redskins have had issues in both areas this season (though have improved lately with penalties) and it’s cost them some of their losses. Against Dallas the Redskins are going to have to be nearly perfect and can’t afford big mistakes. On the flip side they have to try to create some turnovers defensively to set up some short fields for their offense.