Rich Tandler and Larry Michael talk Redskins Cowboys
The Redskins’ stated goal defensively is to stop the run and force the other team to beat you throwing the ball. That plan might seem like the way to go when they’re playing, say, the Matt Flynn-led Oakland Raiders. But how about when they’re playing the Dallas Cowboys, who boast weapons in the passing game like Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Dez Bryant?
You stick to the same approach, according to Jim Haslett. He talked about last year’s game in Dallas as an example.
“Last year he (Romo) threw 65 times against us for 365 yards,” said the Redskins defensive coordinator. “If you break it down you go, ooh, 365 yards. But then you go, 65 times, that's about right. Did they win the game? To me, that's the most important thing. I don't care if he throws 70 times.”
Haslett’s numbers are a bit off. Romo threw 62 times during that Thanksgiving Day for 441 yards. That comes to 7.1 yards per attempt, a number that is right at the NFL average for the 2012 season.
The Cowboys didn’t run the ball much in that game last November, gaining 35 yards on just 11 carries. But the game situation likely dictated the play selection. The Redskins scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 28-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. Dallas ran just twice in the final 30 minutes of play.
With Romo passing the ball 41 times in the second half the Cowboys were able to sort of make a game of it, although Dallas never had a second-half possession with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Haslett believes that the chances of the defense benefitting from mistakes by the other team increase when they have to throw the ball.
“If somebody is running the ball and you don't have an answer for it, it's a long day. And you're doing both? It's a long day,” said Haslett. “So at least in the passing game we get turnovers, you get a chance to get sacks, fumbles.”
The Redskins picked off two Romo passes in that game and they sacked him twice. They also recovered a Dez Bryan fumble in Dallas territory and turned that into a touchdown.
As far as Haslett is concerned, it’s just Football 101.
“I think if we can stop the run, that's universal with anybody that's coached defense or anybody that's been around as a defensive coach can tell you that,” he said.