Washington vs. Dallas
Kenny Watson will need to step up
Kenny Watson will need to step up

Posted Dec 27, 2002


A preview of Sunday's 1 p.m. ET game:
Offensive player to watch: Receiver Rod Gardner. He's 53 yards from 1,000, quite an accomplishment given the quarterback changes this season. Gardner has developed nicely and he's done it having to learn two systems, play with five different quarterbacks and have no mentor to tutor him. Gardner has improved because he wanted to, simple as that.

And keep an eye on: Right guard Tre Johnson. He's matched against La'Roi Glover and must have a strong game for the running game to click. Johnson owns a big size advantage, giving the Redskins a place to run over. Johnson also is playing for a new contract.

Defensive player to watch: Darrell Green. Maybe he won't do anything, but who else do you want to see Sunday? It's one last chance to appreciate one of the most unique players ever to play in the NFL. And he's been all yours for 20 years. What a gift. Green's play has clearly slipped this season and it's time to go. At least he exits in the manner he wanted.

And keep an eye on: Linebacker LaVar Arrington. Teams have blitzed Chad Hutchinson a lot, forcing him into errant throws. Just a hunch, but we expect Arrington to have a big game. It's about time he knocked another quarterback senseless.

How the Redskins can win: By attacking a few weak parts of Dallas' secondary. The Cowboys lack depth at corner and have only one quality starter in Derek Ross. And safety Tony Dixon is more of a run stopper than a pass defender. The Redskins can spread the field and attack, on the ground and through the air. But they must learn a lesson from the first game and attack straight ahead. They went off the edges too much in the first meeting, allowing Dallas to use its quickness to stop them. Defensively, Washington must stop Emmitt Smith, forcing Hutchinson to beat them. Other teams have confused him with various blitzes and two-deep zones. Look for more of the same Sunday. But the linebackers must do a better job getting to Smith.

Key stats: Dallas has won 10 straight in the series. . . The Cowboys have lost 10 games for the third straight year, the first such streak in franchise history. . . Dallas returner Woody Dantzler fumbled twice last week. . . Dallas kicker Billy Cundiff has made just 12 of 19 field goals.

Quotable: Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly, ''Darrell is the greatest corner in the history of the game. You could argue that certain guys at some points in their career played better. But no one played at his level for as long as he played.''

Former Redskins strength coach Dan Riley on Green, ''I wasn't in awe of his talent and what he did on the field. He's a professional athlete--he should be doing things at a high level. But I was more impressed with him as a person.''

Redskins SS Sam Shade, ''Darrell has had such a big impact on so many players in the locker room and in the community. For me, that's enough.''

Dallas coach Dave Campo, ''There's a lot of distractions. If the Redskins don't beat us this weekend, they may never beat us in the history of football.''



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OLB LaVar Arrington (profile)
WR Rod Gardner (profile)
CB Darrell Green (profile)
OG Tre Johnson (profile)
SS Sam Shade (profile)
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