Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. Sunday night, that opponent is the Washington Redskins.
The Opponent: The Washington Redskins, aka the Skins, aka the Hogs, aka Mike Shanahan’s GTL Salon.
The Line: Cowboys by 4. The dreaded road favorite tag, which is perfectly warranted for the Cowboys here, but still never a mantle you want to possess.
Last Year: 4-12. And 4-12 isn’t even a proper indication of just how miserable Washington was last year. As with seemingly every year under Dan Snyder, last year’s Skins weren't assembled with any regard to cohesion or potential future productivity. Mike Shanahan’s arrival was meant to mark an end to the era of reckless spending and general nincompoopery under Vinny Cerrato. But it’s gonna take a long, long time to undo everything that’s messed up here. It’s like your dad asking you to help move a pile of firewood. Sure, you can do it. But man, does it look like a long and tedious process when you start.
The Coach: Mike Shanahan. You already know the knocks on Shanahan at this point. He was a lousy GM in Denver, responsible for drafting Maurice Clarett and signing free agent dreck like Courtney Brown. Not unlike the Skins, Shanny’s Broncos had an unhealthy amount of roster turnover from year to year. His record without John Elway was merely average, though average represents a vast improvement from what the Skins have resembled in the past. But hey, at least the fella is organized, and exudes an air of general competence that Jim Zorn so clearly lacked.
The Offense: This offense isn’t ready for the regular season. Donovan McNabb is hurt. The running back situation remains unsettled. Joey Galloway, JOEY FREAKIN’ GALLOWAY, is one of the starting wideouts. It’s not a good situation. Top pick Trent Williams should provide some boost to an O-line that was horrid last year, but lines need time to come together, and now is the perfect time for Dallas to set Ware and Spencer loose on McNabb and watch him flee.
The Defense: Again, Dallas is set up for success with Albert Haynesworth’s drama being dragged into Sunday Night’s contest. He won’t start, and he may not play at all. And the Skins are still transitioning to a 3-4. WOOHOO! YAY! GO NUTS, FELIX!!!
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Ware vs. Trent Williams. The rookie gets a stern test his first go round. If Ware gets to McNabb early, this one should be a walk. Then again, it’s the seemingly easy games that always give you the most anguish.