ASHBURN The players mostly left town for the bye week, but the coaching staff didn’t go anywhere.
The Redskins resume practices this morning, and will work on the plans those coaches drew up as they prepare for a Sunday night showdown against the Cowboys.
“It’s always a heck of a football game,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said.
Philadelphia spoiled a little bit of the fun on Sunday, advancing to 2-3 by beating the winless Giants. That means Washington (1-3) cannot claim first place in the division unless the Eagles lose next week.
Most of the Redskins players were returning to D.C. on Sunday, after five days away from the game.
Linebacker Nick Barnett took his family on a vacation to Orlando, while offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus went off-roading in West Virginia.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III was seen enjoying a more low-key destination: the outlet mall in Williamsburg.
During that time coach Mike Shanahan and his staff were breaking down game tape of the first four weeks.
“Our football team is pretty realistic,” Shanahan said. “They know what type of effort we have to have to get to the next level, what type of play we have to do consistently to win the division.”
A victory in Dallas would help revive a season that started off 0-3, and put Washington in a tie for first place in the NFC East.
That’s been the rallying cry all week, both for fans and the coaches inside Redskins Park.
“We can come back healthy, and we know where we’re at in the NFC East and start the season all over again,” Shanahan said.
Haslett said for his defense, containing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be a top priority. Romo has put up big numbers so far this season, and is arguably the division’s top quarterback to this point.
The Cowboys changed play callers during the offseason, transferring the duties from head coach Jason Garrett to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan.
Haslett conducted film sessions specific to the Cowboys last Monday, and held an on-field practice last Tuesday, before the players left for the bye week.
“They’re a little bit different than they were last year, because of the signal caller, but it’s the same players,” Haslett said. “It’s always a good game.”
While the stakes won’t be for the division, it will be an important test to see how much the Redskins have improved over the first four weeks, and how much was rhetoric backed up only by a win against a mediocre Oakland team.
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REDSKINS AT COWBOYS
Sunday: 8:30 p.m., NBC