It’s Dallas Week!
Now that I have your attention, plenty of time this week to talk Cowboys, but first a few tidbits of Redskins news and questions….
After watching the Oakland-San Diego game in the wee hours this morning, I believe the Redskins are truly fortunate that Terrelle Pryor could not play last weekend. Matt Flynn provided nothing for the Raiders offense and was cut by the team today. Add the fact that Darren McFadden and Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece were also not factors due to injury and it truly was a blessing to get a win going into the bye.
Before we touch on “America’s Team”, did you see the USA Today article The 6 NFL teams you DON’T want to root for ? The Redskins are No.30 on the list, just in front of the Silver and Black and the Cleveland Browns.
Now those hated Cowboys… After the season opener on Monday night at Fed Ex Field, pundits across the league were proclaiming the Philadelphia Eagles the team to beat in the NFC East. That was obviously premature, because that team is Dallas. I hear die hard ‘Skins fans saying “But, did you see their defense?” Yes I did, and more importantly I saw the Denver offense, who NOBODY is stopping. If the Cowboys offense can click like it did on Sunday, division foes are going to have a hard time keeping up on the scoreboard. Dallas has played without receiver Miles Austin the past two weeks, but in his absence rookie Terrance Williams has earned regular playing time on a permanent basis. Once a favorite target of RG3′s at Baylor, the third round pick has a dozen catches for 222 yards and a touchdown since Austin pulled his hamstring and his annual disappearing act two weeks ago.
The Redskins defense gets a shot in the arm this week, with defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson returning from suspension. Their return greatly improves the depth of the front seven, but that hasn’t been the biggest problem. The secondary remains a work in progress and I’m not quite sure they have the personnel to get much better. I really like David Amerson, but past this season, what else is there in the secondary? I have a solution! Trade for disgruntled Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd. The 26 year old Byrd hasn’t played yet this season due to a foot injury, but claims to be healthy now. Byrd is locked in a contract dispute with Bills management and quite frankly, I don’t think he will play another game for them. What do they want? Keep in mind the most the ‘Skins can offer is a second round pick, which is where Byrd was drafted out of Oregon in 2009. Many teams are interested, but most are looking at a partial season rental of the free agent to be. The Redskins emerge from the cloud of the cap penalty in 2014 and beyond and by acquiring, then offering Byrd a long term deal is where they can separate themselves from the others. Washington needs to hurry as Philly has shown perhaps the most interest in acquiring the two-time Pro Bowl defender and they are in a hurry to fix their defensive backfield as well.
Back where we started with the subject of Dallas week. 1998 was my first season as a beat reporter covering the Redskins. Dallas week still had meaning in the locker room as I remembered it growing up in the George Allen days. Players like Brian Mitchell, Ken Harvey, Mike Sellers, Tre Johnson and certainly Darrell Green had a true belief and understanding of the rivalry. Over the years, I noticed the intensity drop, players knew about it, but more from being told about it, than having that “feeling”. Fortunately, the 2012 Redskins revival, culminating with the “must win” victory in week 17, may have brought it back.
Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DC Sports Report and The Recruiting Eagle, which focus on Athletics at Auburn University. You may follow Tom on twitter at #RecruitingEagle