Redskins prepare for their biggest test


The Washington Redskins are less than three days away from commencing their 2010-2011 season with a home date with the Dallas Cowboys.  In the pre-season the Redskins went 2-2.  They experienced highs and lows.  They put on an offensive and defensive versus the Buffalo Bills and likewise were shot back down to Earth by the Baltimore Ravens.  An average performance against the New York Jets and an extremely vanilla showing at the Arizona Cardinals did not give us much true insight to what this team will be capable of in the regular season. And as quickly as the pre-season came and went, the regular season is now upon us.

Change at the top

Prior to the end of the 2009-2010 season, Vinny Cerrato stepped down as Executive V.P. of Football Operations and in came Bruce Allen as the new General Manager.  Allen, the son of the famed Redskins coach from the 1970’s ,looks to usher in a new era with values and practices from Redskins past.

Mike Shanahan was brought in as a proven coach who has won it all.  He brings to D.C. a track record that speaks for itself and an unquestioned authority.  Along with Donovan McNabb, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, the Redskins look to make strides immediately within the NFC East.  Though that have not said that, the moves they have made to obtain veteran support speaks volumes of what this organization looks to do.

Dallas comes to town

The Dallas Cowboys are heavily favored to win the NFC East and are among those who are contending to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  Should the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl, they would be the first team to truly host one.

The Cowboys however did not have a great showing in the pre-season.  Granted everyone is quick to dis-count the results of the pre-season, but performance and execution are key factors look for.  If that is the case, the Dallas Cowboys performed mediocre at best.  This was most evident in a game at the Houston Texans.  The Cowboys were shut out completely until the third quarter.  The only points came from the second team led by John Kitna.  In this game Tony Romo was responsible for key turn overs that shut down potential scoring drives.

This Dallas Cowboys looked flat in the pre-season, but will most likely rebound and have a great first quarter of a season like they always do.

What should the Redskins expect?

This Cowboys team for the most part will be the same team they have faced for four years since Wade Philips has been coach, but these teams have always been pretty good.  The Cowboys will have two starting right offensive linemen likely out, Marc Columbo-RT and Kyle Koiser-LG, this should be good news for the Redskins as their new 3-4 front seven has been successful in applying appropriate pressure and causing turnovers.  If the Redskins will have a chance, it will because they were able to win the take away battle.

The Cowboys though will no doubt unleash their ground attack which was very successful last season.  Mile Austin, who was recently extended for six years today, will lead a pack of receivers who have a great rapport with Romo.

Can the Redskins win Sunday?

Can they win? Yes. Will they win? Perhaps yes, perhaps no (my official prediction will be out tomorrow).  But what the Redskins need to do is execute if they will win.  The defense once again has led the way and the offense was still a few steps behind.  The Redskins will need to follow through with passes, and the run game will have to show up in ways they failed to do so in the pre-season.

The defense is bound to come up with turnover(s) in this game.  That much I am certain of.  Romo’s ball handling and potential gun-slinger mentality can help facilitate that.  If the Redskins are put in position to win, I think they can capitalize.  If the Skins allow the Cowboys to dictate the flow of the game, then it may be a long night.