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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Jan 3, 2016, 7:44 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 3, the day the Washington Redskins play the Cowboys in Dallas.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

DALLAS—Five final thoughts as the Redskins finish off their regular season against the Cowboys.

—One player who does not need rest is Alfred Morris. He needs to get out there and try to get into a rhythm. As you watch him during recent games it feels like he’s doing better but then you look at the stat sheet when it’s over and he’s averaging less than three years per carry in three of his last four games. I don’t think he will be back next year in any case but it would be good to see him get going and finish off strong.

—How much should Kirk Cousins play? How much should Cousins play if Trent Williams does not play? Two separate questions, of course. Asking the question like that does slight Ty Nsekhe, who actually has done a decent job when asked to fill in at both tackle spots. But they gave Williams a five-year $66 million contract because he’s much, much better than Nsekhe, who makes the minimum of $600,000.

—I saw Cousins in the lobby of the hotel last night. His game face was in playoff mode; he is here on a business trip. He is likely in the mindset that he will play the entire game even though he probably won’t. It was hard to get a read on him to see if individual passing yards record mean to him. He referred to it as a team accomplishment when I asked him this week. I think he’ll get the 120 yards he needs for the record and will sit out the second half.

—As noted earlier this week, injuries will make it tough for Jay Gruden to do anything but play his starters on defense; there just aren’t enough bodies to do otherwise, especially with both Quinton Dunbar and Dashon Goldson on the shelf for this game. We might see a lot of Preston Smith and Trent Murphy as the two outside linebackers with Ryan Kerrigan playing a limited role.

—The result of the game doesn’t have any impact on the standings but it’s important in a few ways. The Redskins don’t want to get swept by the Cowboys and they would rather go into the playoffs with a winning record for the season. Today they need to get off to a hot start like they did against the Giants, Bears, and Bills. If they get the Cowboys down 17-0 in the middle of the second quarter that will be it. If it’s a slog to the end, who knows what will happen.


Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Cowboys 1 p.m. FOX

Days until: Start of NFL playoffs 6

In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 3, 2016 at 7:58 AM

    If they get the Cowboys down 17-0 in the middle of the second quarter


  2. skinsgame - Jan 3, 2016 at 8:15 AM

    This could be Grudens coach to shine as a coach. The talk outside of Redskins Park is about resting whom and for how long. Meaningless games against our hated rival. Playoffs. Big leads being built. Team records being set…. The Cowgirls beat the Redskins, in Washington no less, not a month ago. Gruden will be coaching against complacency, indifference, maybe even arrogance. They should play this game to win it.

    Somebody ask Chris Culliver and Junior Galett what needless game they were injured in.

  3. Lex - Jan 3, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    I majority if ppl i speak to want a healthy team going into the playoffs. Like pre season see what you have on the bench start shaping the roster for next year deciding who goes

  4. JOHNNY B - Jan 3, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Honestly I think this game will be good for the team. We have struggled this year against good defensive teams. The Cowboys defense is good and if we can play well against them it would show we are improving. All we need is the first half to show this. If we struggle like last time we are not ready for the playoffs. If Dallas comes to play we will learn a lot about the Redskins this game.

  5. abanig - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    To me what sums up Morris season is as follows:

    1. Morris gets no blocking yet battles for a 3 to 5 yard gain. Next play, Gruden/McVay or Callhan pulls him in favor of Matt Jones. Morris goes off the field shaking his head but doesn’t complain.

    2. Morris gets a better blocked play and runs for near 10 yards but an offensive lineman or Jordan Reed gets called for holding which puts the Redskins at 1st and 20. Next play, Gruden/McVay or Callhan pulls him in favor of Matt Jones. Morris goes off the field shaking his head but doesn’t complain.

    3. Morris gets blasted behind the line of scrimmage and has a negative run, or at best gains on yard because Trent Williams, a young offensive lineman, or a TE misses a block. Next play, Gruden/McVay or Callhan pulls him in favor of Matt Jones. Morris goes off the field shaking his head but doesn’t complain.

    Sound about right?

    I definitely agree Morris won’t be back next year. I think he’ll be picked up by a team with a better blocking offensive line and better blocking tight ends, I’m affraid that team may be Dallas. A backfield with Morris starting and carrying the ball 20-25 times a game behind that OL and Darren McFadden being the change of pace/third down back and touching the ball 15 times a game or so is a very, very scary thing for the other teams in the division. That would make Romo’s world a lot easier, the way it was in 2013 when he had Murray.

    I think the Redskins probably draft s running back that is similar to Giovani Bernard or Roy Helu in the mid rounds that can back up Matt Jones, be a change of pace and be a good pass receiver that can get a lot of yac. I definitely think they re-sign Chris Thompson as their change of pace, scat back and sometimes being lined up as a receiver.

    • hail74 - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:26 AM

      The line definitely hasn’t helped Morris or any back for that matter but no, I don’t agree that the problem with Morris is everyone else. He has been far slower and indecisive than in the past. There have been plenty of times where he failed to see where the lane was. I’m also having a hard time recalling him only being in for one play and then being pulled. One reason though may be that his pass blocking has always been a “needs improvement” and every 2-3 yard run only increases the possibility of a pass on the next play.

      • hail74 - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM

        And he’s also the least capable receiver of all the backs on the team.

      • abanig - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:30 AM

        Yeah, I want saying he playing great either. I agree he looks hesitant and has missed some holes but let’s be honest a running back like Morris needs a good stable of carries and consistent carries to get in a rhythm and be effective. He also was generally more effective in the second halves of games his first two years because he and the OL wore down the opposing defenses. That isn’t happening now.

    • Skulb - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:37 AM

      The line is unable to run block consistently and we have no tight ends capable of blocking anything. The run game has been reduced to a gesture; something you do to set up play action and screens. I don’t think it matters which back you put in now; it’s not likely to work. So my new scale of evaluation for all of them is as follows.

      1: Positive yards of any kind are acceptable. Anything over two yards is good.
      2: Negative yards are not OK and should lead to the team rotating backs or abandoning the run.

      Doesn’t matter which one of them it is or whose fault it is. It’s not working, so that’s why this keeps happening to Morris this season. He is not capable of creating something from nothing and neither is Jones. Morris hesitates and Jo0nes still makes rookie mistakes. i would not be surprised to see Thomas get a majority of the carries going forward. If he can somehow muster more than two yards consistently he will be our best back, sad as it sounds.

      • abanig - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:26 PM

        Not today! Lol ;)

        • hail74 - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:27 PM

          Have to admit that today’s game did prove your point that Morris needs carries to get his game going, tho the pass game set that up early.

    • John - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:40 PM

      Even if Morris landed in Dallas, they won’t run the ball to any degree. They don’t have Callahan for that focus and Garrett is far to focused on throwing it 50 times a game.

      Personally, I’d like to see a shifty back that can make some cuts like the Parker kid in Atlanta. We don’t have anything like that now.

      • abanig - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:25 PM

        Yes, that’s what I’m saying I want to back up Matt Jones next year for the skins & in the future. We can get that player in the mid rounds of next years draft or maybe even free agency.

        I think Morris proved today that he still has something left in the tank if the OL and TEs do their jobs.

        If he goes to Dallas, they’ll use him and McFadden. Remember Garrett doesn’t call the plays, Scott Linehan does and he did when Callahan was there also.

        • John - Jan 4, 2016 at 11:07 PM

          Unfortunately Garrett has, except for last year, never put the running game to good use. He had the best line in the game and a running back who piled up yardage but often times did a half ass job of using them. Romo performed much better last year when they had balance.

          This year, no Murray but first chance he got, so much for balance. Then no Romo and they still left the running game on the sidelines. You would think with Weeden, Cassle and Moore, that they would lean on the running game to make the QBs job easier. Instead, throw it 50 times a game, increasing the chances of turning the ball over and not controlling the clock.

          This is the legacy of Jason Garrett. Callahan leaves and so much for the emphasis on balance. You can try and put it on Linehan, but this is how they’ve rolled during Garrett’s tenure.

  6. Pattie Shields - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    Who’s favored in the Redskins vs Cowboys game today, Sunday 01/03/16

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 3, 2016 at 1:47 PM


    • YOU LIKE THAT - Jan 3, 2016 at 1:51 PM

      Can’t stop Kirk! What up cowgirl d?

  8. brucefan1 - Jan 3, 2016 at 2:16 PM

    I’m just starting to watch ( hadda do so on a delay) and am JUST finding out that the Skins are the UNDERDOGS in this game!! WTF!
    Never to even thought to check the spread. at all this week . What a disgraceful show of disrespect for the Redskins! Go figger.

    (Hey! Crowder just had a GREAT catch and run!! And now a TD. Eff the bookies! LOL )

    • brucefan1 - Jan 3, 2016 at 2:20 PM

      21-0 after one quarter!! What was I whining about?! The Skins THRIVE as underdogs! ( Which bodes well for the playoffs, no? Haha)

      (Wow! Gotta fast-forward this broadcast up to real time!!)

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:24 PM

        Only sour note is two DB injuries. Phillips’ looks bad, too.

        • brucefan1 - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:37 PM

          I hear ya thunder. “Real time didn’t turn out quite as great as I thought it would, but I’ll take it!

          Those injuries stink on ice, but they were to backups who where playing in place of starters. (Zero consolation to them tho, right?)

          (But can we talk about that pass defense during the coming week; a backup-filled low-leverage effort of minor import, or real cause for concern next weekend?? Discuss!! ;^}. )

  9. Kim - Jan 3, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    It’s been a long time but am finally able to wear my Redskins jerseys and sweatshirts and be proud!! GO REDSKINS!!!!!

  10. colmac69 - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Job done….slight disappointment in two injs but offense looks gd////defense with turnovers

    Play mistake free football on offense it’s gonna score lot points…..confidance going into playoffs got to b sky high…..

    Bring it on whoever we get

    • brucefan1 - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:44 PM

      I’m 99% in agreement, colmac … but as I said before I hope they dissect that poor pass defense effort throughly.

      Was it just an aberration, due to backups, injuries & a very desperate Dallas offense. Hope so.

      But I did notice that Breeland did not have the “game of his career” today. He’s GOTTA be better next week!!

      • colmac69 - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:53 PM

        Hard to gauge in second half with so many reserves….agree bout breeland but appeared to b playing off coverage for best part..

        If defense gives up ton yrds but gets turnovers I would trade that in heartbeat…..our offense is scary….can u imagine if we get run game to go along with it….how could teams load box to stop run and cover reed/jackson/garcon?

        But no matter if offense produces it will score pts…I’m confident about nxt wk esp as we home

      • John - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:32 PM

        400 yards on 48 attempts. Lots of garbage time passing by Moore getting yards against prevent when down 24 – 0.

        Nothing to worry about. Big numbers mean nothing unless they came from behind and win like in the Tampa game.

  11. gasngo14 - Jan 3, 2016 at 4:38 PM



  12. skinsgame - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    I thought Jarrett had a stinger in his shoulder. Hopefully he’s not going to be another one lost for the season. Phillips was another one that didn’t appear to be that bad until they carted him off.
    Any updates on those guys Rich?

  13. skinsgame - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    I thought Jarrett had a stinger in his shoulder. Hopefully he’s not going to be another one lost for the season. Phillips was another one that didn’t appear to be that bad until they carted him off.
    Any updates on those guys Rich?

  14. goback2rfk - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    FFFFFFFUUUUKKKKKK YEH!!!!!!!!!!!! Winning Season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has been a great season. 4 Game Winning Streak to Finish the Year! WoW! HTTR!

  15. kenlinkins - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    While I am not yet ready to invest in 2015 NFC Champ Game tickets in DC, I do feel that right now the Redskins offense is playing pretty damn well and could prove to cause match up problems for any team they face in the first play off game. With a 9-7 record and ending the season with 4 wins in a row to win the NFC East the Redskins have served notice that they are no longer the push over we saw in 2013 & 2014. Make no mistake, this Redskins team is NOT a power house but they do have a hot QB with WR’s and a TE who can score points plus a defense that has learned to make some plays and has limited mistakes. IMO they will win their first play off game and after that all bets are off. Would it shock me to see them in the NFC Champ game, YES it would, but then again I said the same thing about them making the plays off when they were sitting at 3-5 and looking over the cliff for the 3rd year in a row. Right now the Redskins are playing with house money and that makes them dangerous which is what you want to be if you are not a “power house”. HTTR.

  16. colmac69 - Jan 3, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Have to say watching this seattle offense is scary…..struggled last wk but boy they cooking today….kearse…Baldwin. …locket tough match up for skins defense….Wilson playing lights out…….

    Think offense could put up some points but would think seattle defense gets more stops than ours……high scoring game I would think if it’s seattle….

    However nxt wk is a bonus game that no one predicted before season so let’s get it on

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:44 PM

      Do you really think the Redskins offense can produce many points against a Seattle defense in a playoff game? Don’t see that being plausible.

      • gasngo14 - Jan 4, 2016 at 7:15 AM

        “YOU LIKE THAT” :))

  17. John - Jan 3, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    I’m wondering where the anti-Cousins crowd disappeared to? You know who you are, Tim. 3 more touchdown passes this week. What, 23 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions in the last 10 games. Team record holder for yards in a season, a record that ha stood since 1986. 6, 300 yard games. 6th best completion percentage in NFL history and the list goes on and on. Pretty good for a guy who sucks. Perhaps we should start Robert or Colt in the playoffs. Better yet we should let him sign elsewhere in the off season.

    Cousins haters shame on you oh and yeah, “WE LIKE THAT”!

    • squawonthewarpath - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:32 PM

      All the Cousins’ haters have been silenced. They certainly had no problem showing up to criticize him when he struggled. Now that he has helped this team win the NFC championship and playing lights out, none of them have been around to offer him much, if any, praise or support. What a bunch of jerks they are! But some of us already knew that huh? lol

      • squawonthewarpath - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:34 PM

        I mean NFC East….A NFC championship would be nice, too, but regardless this season has been a success and this team has FAR exceeded anyones expectations and predictions.

      • John - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:31 PM

        Now I want to know where all the folks are that were crying over RG3 not “getting a fair shot” after going down in the preseason.? Still living in 2012. Their probably still spinning their conspiracy theories, hoping he’ll get a shot here next year. Say what they may about 2012, this team with fewer wins has achieved more by far.

        • ericstylezz - Jan 4, 2016 at 12:18 AM

          They probably wanted to wait a few weeks before they started calling him consistent. They also probably didn’t want to keep making the same old comments on the same site after every game to ppl who are supposed to be fans of the same team. I don’t think their absence is a negative, these pitiful attempts at proving ppl wrong weeks later is kind of sad though, as men. Just sayin.

        • brucefan1 - Jan 4, 2016 at 3:35 PM

          I know its 15 hours after the fact eric, ( I think someone has to read this — even if its only there job! LOL) but I just want to go on the record as saying that I love your comment and your attitude.

          And as far as “doubters” are concerned, I ALWAYS want some people like that around me (Heck, I even married one — and her “skepticism” has been a godsend! But don’t tell HER I said that! ;^} ) to keep me abreast of ALL possibilities & options, no matter how little I may want to hear them.

      • skinsgame - Jan 4, 2016 at 12:22 AM

        Not all. There are a few diehard haters left out there. Quietly hoping he fails. Waiting for a loss so they can criticize Gruden and Cousins both.

      • John - Jan 4, 2016 at 11:44 PM

        Yeah, the best they can do is put off Kirk’s success as saying it all came against sub par opponents and the team was in a weak division and that the failed to beat teams with winning records.

        How many teams have winning records in the NFC? Of the teams the Skins lost to, New England and Carolina were undefeated. The Jets at the time were a buzzsaw. Atlanta was also undefeated.

        Unfortunately as the season progressed, Cousins got better and the team won more games. 2 – 4 in the first 6 and then 7 – 3 in the last 10.

        Many Redskins QB records are now Kirks.

        Most yards in a season.
        Highest completion percentage.
        Most completions.
        Most 300 yard games in a season.

        All without the benefit of a running game in his first season as the guy.

        And that’s just a few…

        Oh yeah, next year he’ll have the benefit of working with the staring receivers in OTAs, training camp, etc.

  18. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 3, 2016 at 10:41 PM

    The Vikings may be sparing us the opportunity of facing the most formidable defense and best performing team coming into the playoffs. Part of me wanted to see how Cousins can fair against a great Seattle defense but part of me would be happy in avoiding facing the ugly side of what could happen if he did face that defense. Aaron Rogers will be no easy task in a playoff game regardless but this has certainly been an unusual season with a weaker schedule than anticipated and even weaker division. The team is as luck as it has been good. However Cousins has risen and proven himself a legitimate starter. I just hope can pursue an even higher success as one of the better QBs in the NFL

    • hail74 - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:32 PM

      Not going to lie, definitely rooting for Minnesota tonite as I would prefer to avoid Seattle. They’re a match up nightmare for us both offensively and defensively.

  19. hail74 - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:36 PM

    And Green Bay it is

  20. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 3, 2016 at 11:55 PM

    Bring on the cheeseheads!

  21. ericstylezz - Jan 4, 2016 at 12:12 AM

    Packers it is, we will beat them Archives

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