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An impossible task for the Redskins next Sunday?

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An impossible task for the Redskins next Sunday?

Do the Redskins face an impossible task on Sunday when they go to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Sunday night?

If you are one of many Redskins fans that settled in on Sunday afternoon to watch the Cowboys take on the Broncos you might think so. Although Dallas ultimately lost to Peyton Manning and company they put on quite an offensive show in the process. Tony Romo completed almost 70 percent of his passes and gained just over 14 yards per pass attempt. He set a Cowboys record with 506 yards passing and he threw for five touchdowns.

Yes, Romo did throw an interception that ultimately led to a game-winning field goal with no time left. But they were only in that position because the Dallas defense couldn’t stop Manning, who had quite a game himself (414 yards, 4 TD’s).

Now the Redskins come into Big D and they are decidedly not the ’13 Broncos. They aren’t even the 2012 Redskins through their first four games. With Robert Griffin III still working to get back to form after his knee injury their offense isn’t what it was. If you take away 21 points scored by the defense Washington has just 10 first-half points all year. That won’t cut it against the Cowboys if they play like they did on Sunday. They put up 20 in the first half yesterday and 48 for the game.

They key question is, will they play against the Redskins like they played yesterday? That is one of a few factors that should give Redskins fans some hope and reason to watch on Sunday.

—Which Cowboys offense will show up? Eight days ago against the Chargers they did not resemble the fearsome juggernaut they were against Denver. Dallas scored 14 points in the first 17 minutes of play and then they were shut out the rest of the way. They lost 30-21, getting a TD on an interception return by linebacker Sean Lee. The San Diego defense, by the way, is not very good. They were ranked 27th in the NFL prior to their late-night loss to the Raiders.

—Since Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett came to town, the Redskins have had pretty solid success against Romo. In five games against the Romo-led Cowboys (he missed one 2010 meeting with an injury) the Redskins have allowed over 20 points just twice. One of those came last Thanksgiving when the Redskins played soft in the second half to protect a 28-3 halftime lead. Since 2010 with Romo playing, the Cowboys have averaged 20 points per game against the Redskins and almost 25 per game in all of their other contests. Washington is 3-2 vs. Romo in that time.

—Regardless of how well the defense manages to contain Romo, Dez Bryant, and company, the offense is going to have to do better if the Redskins are going stay in the game. The good news is that the Washington offense has shown signs of life against the Lions and Raiders and the Dallas defense, Peyton Manning not, looked pretty bad. Griffin is not all the way back to his 2012 form but he’s getting better each week. They won’t be able to put up 51 points like the Broncos did but if they can avoid killer mistakes they could score enough to keep the pressure on the Cowboys.

The Redskins will be underdogs in this game and I’m not sure if I’m going to pick them to win. But to look at this game like it’s some sort of impossible task is off base if you look at the big picture, beyond what has transpired in the past 24 hours.

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.