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Need to Know: Cowboys did not treat 2014 finale vs. Redskins like a meaningless game

Dec 30, 2015, 5:31 AM EDT

Dez-Bryant-TD-2014

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 30, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

Five first thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

—Meaningless game? I hate the term and it frequently is misused. Every game there are 22 players out there on each of about 150 snaps or so competing to win and putting what they do out there on film for the NFL world to see. So it means a lot to the players and coaches. But clearly Jay Gruden needs to approach this game differently than he would one that was make or break for the playoffs since going all out to win the game could potentially harm their chances of winning in the playoffs.

—The Cowboys were in a similar situation to the one the Redskins are currently find themselves coming into the last game of 2014, which was at FedEx Field. They were locked into the third seed. But with three minutes and change left in the game, Tony Romo, who had missed time with a back injury earlier in the year, was still throwing passes and handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray, who had pretty much already clinched the NFL rushing title. Dez Bryant stuck around long enough to catch 4 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas won 44-17. The lack of rest didn’t seem to bother them. They beat the Lions and were a (properly) overturned Bryant pass reception away from advancing to the NFC title game.

—The Cowboys finally, officially put Romo on injured reserve earlier this month so he won’t play on Sunday. The quarterback will be Kellen Moore, who went from being the quarterback who ended his career at Boise State in 2011 as the QB with the most wins ever in college to and NFL player who didn’t take a snap until a couple of weeks ago. He started last week and led Dallas to two field goals against the Bills. I don’t think the Redskins will need much more than a couple of touchdowns to win against him.

—The player the Redskins might have to be most wary of is Lucky Whitehead. The Redskins had struggled to a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter earlier this month and they looked to be in position to take control. But Whitehead took an end around and went 22 yards, starting off a drive that ended with the Cowboys tying field goal. And then after the Redskins tied the game on Kirk Cousins’ TD pass to DeSean Jackson, Whitehead returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards, moving Dallas to within a couple of short pass completions of field goal range.

—The other guy to look out for is RB Darren McFadden. He’s just three yards short of having a 1,000-yard season and in his last three games he has 111, 100, and 99 yards. He’s not a great back but you have to figure that with Moore at quarterback we’ll see a lot of him on Sunday.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 4; start of NFL playoffs 10

In case you missed it

  1. floriosajerk - Dec 30, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    I know that the chance of the Skins winning Super Bowl is slim…but they do have a chance. With that said, no team has ever won with an 8-8 record. So this game really is important if you believe in stats like this.

    • voice4thefans - Dec 30, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      That is so silly!!! LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!

      • floriosajerk - Dec 30, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        True but the stat doesn’t lie!

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 30, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Rich Tandler@Rich_TandlerCSN

    I wonder if the Eagles players are going to pick up their personalized smoothies tomorrow.
    ======================

    The schaden freudes itself.
    ~

  3. Skulb - Dec 30, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    I agree with Tandler, and at least the starters on offense should play at least the first half to keep their rhythm and momentum going. If they want to rest some old guys on defense I’d be for that. Hatcher, Goldson and Hall can probably stay home and rub ointment on themselves for this one.

    • voice4thefans - Dec 30, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      its no differant from a team getting a bid , or it being bid week , rest our players

      • voice4thefans - Dec 30, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        correction bye

      • Skulb - Dec 30, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Last time we had a bye week everyone forgot how to catch balls. Better let them play a half so they don’t forget again.

  4. YOU LIKE THAT - Dec 30, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    I am very much for resting key players. But my hatred for Dallas fans and their not America’s team want to see us slaughter them. I am going with Coach Killer as our new nickname. But a trifecta would be outstanding. Can my Skins embarrass Garret and have JJ fire his ass to. That’s what I really want. I picked this team to only go 6-10..And I was going to be very happy with that.But now we are Division Champs!! And I am drinking the Kool-Ade!! ESPN and the National Media can kiss it. And with the way this team is playing, I see nothing stopping them from winning first round in playoffs!! HAIL TO MY WASHINGTON REDSKINS!!

  5. colmac69 - Dec 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    After couple days thinking bout it I would play starters on offense for half with xception of cousins (play McCoy full game)…defense rest couple older guys if nd b………..

    As for Bryant,s decision that was a catch every day of wk….so what if ball was juggled he still held on ….that rule is complete joke……rgiii got td called back vs Nyg because ball moved an inch as he crossed goal-line…..another horrible decision…

    • firesnyder - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      colmac – I am not so sure about starting McCoy for a couple reasons:
      1) Management need to keep Kirk’s momentum going – he’s still young after all
      2) Kirk may view this as an attempt to lessen his stats in a contract year so that the Skins could possibly get him at a cheaper price. They really need to make sure they don’t piss off Kirk if he wants to play.

      I say, talk to Kirk and see what he wants to do. Also, if they sit Trent Williams, I’m not so sure you want Kirk in there without optimal blindside protection.

    • ET - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      IMO, Cousins should run through all the scripted plays at the beginning of the game. It should be treated at least as seriously as a “dress rehearsal” preseason game. Hopefully the team can rack up a good-sized lead in the first half before turning over the reins to depth players.

      It’d also be a good game to see some experiments such as playing Murphy and/or Smith up on the line in some packages.

  6. Mr.moneylover - Dec 30, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    If we not healthy then its stupid to play the starters in the final game…if I can recall room and dez was healthy to play us last year…if we play Morgan moses who is banged up and dashon goldson with his fracture ribs and they make they injury worst and we lose them for the playoffs it will be the most dumbest thing a coach can do to a team who made the playoffs…put the backups in there and let them try to get the win for us…starters he to rest and be ready to go by playoffs time…even tho will blackmon starting I think he needs more reps because he’s been struggling the pass two weeks he should play for a quarter

  7. Mr.moneylover - Dec 30, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    I also wouldn’t play Jordan reed he’s q big part of our offense if we lose him we going home first round for sure

  8. redskinsnameisheretostay - Dec 30, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    “The player the Redskins might have to be most wary of is Lucky Whitehead. The Redskins had struggled to a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter earlier this month and they looked to be in position to take control. ”

    The biggest position to watch will be the one located on the sidelines making the calls. Will this coaching staff revert back to another horrible offensive game scheme against a team that should have not been in position to even win the game? Will we see a revisit of the ultra conservative west coast passing game with Cousins averaging an abysmal 7.1 yards a pass that matched his early 1st half season abysmal passing averages? Cousins managed a mere 219 yards in that game and attempted only 3 passes over 20 yards. The Redskins’ offense scheme played to Dallas’ defensive strengths. Dallas to played aggressive meanwhile the guy across from Jackson was “for the taking” a good portion of the game. When Kirk did strike deep to Jackson one was in complete in the left end zone while the other was a touchdown on the right end zone. Out of Cousins 8 300 plus passing games, 7 have been wins. So how about a little less of that dink and dunk BS with bobble screens and hitch passes, and a little more deep ones to one of the few elite big play receivers in the NFL?

  9. babyteal1 - Dec 30, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    Play to win the game…enough said. I don’t like giving Dallas a gimme.

  10. skinsgame - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    It isn’t my decision but if it were, I’d do exactly what got them here. Tampering with the consistency of preparation could be worse than an injury to one or two players. Play the game to win it and destroy them if you can. Build a big lead and then start resting players. Embarrass them just as they did us last year.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      “Build a big lead and then start resting players.”

      I can certainly agree with this approach. We need a signature close to the season against a very beatable team. Let’s build off a dominating win against a hated foe before entering the playoffs.

  11. John - Dec 30, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    Play the starters for a half. Reed needs 1 catch to break Cooley’s record, Kirk needs about 100 yards and a passing touchdown to top Jay Schroeder (1986) and consecutive games with a passing TD, currently 15 straight (Sonny holds record at 23) and Crowded needs 4 catches to pass Art Monks rookie reception record (1980). Let them get the records, the slowly pull them from the game.

  12. wildbill1952 - Dec 30, 2015 at 5:16 PM

    The Cowboys beat Detroit on one of the worst non-calls in sports history. The Bryant non-catch was reviewed a thousand times and the only ones who still think it was a catch, based on the rules, is Dallas and their fans. However, the only ones who think that Detroit didn’t get screwed by the lack of a pass interference call (or one of a half dozen other infractions in the last two minutes of that game) is again, Dallas and their fans..

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