FRISCO, Texas – Whether you're ready or not, the short week sneaks up on you. It feels like the Ravens game just ended, but kickoff is already just a day away.
As hard as it might be for we in the media to adapt to a short week, just imagine the strain it puts on players and coaches in the NFL. That's why Jason Garrett has been so sure to turn the page forward this week – there's just not much time for anything else.
Hopefully you're all settling in for a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family and you're ready for some Cowboys football. Here are my final thoughts for the short week:
- I still don't believe Orlando Scandrick is fully healthy, and playing on this short week will not help him. It's hard enough having to deal with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder at 100 percent, but this will be a difficult task. Anthony Brown and Leon McFadden will likely play a major role in this game as it moves along.
- I would be surprised if Josh Norman travels with Dez Bryant this week, with preparation being short. Coaches have to be mindful of their game plans and how much they really want to do with their scheme due to the fact that they are fearful of making a mistake that leads to big plays. I do expect that we will see Bryant line up in several different spots regardless if Norman goes with him or not. These offensive coaches want to do their best to keep Bryant as clean as possible in his routes.
- Washington has three legitimate pass rushers in Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Trent Murphy. I expect that we will see all three take a crack at Doug Free, who has had to battle all season due to defensive coordinators not wanting to put their best rushers over Tyron Smith. Kerrigan is a natural left defensive end, so he will not have to move. The Redskins are very comfortable rotating all three in their scheme and don't feel like they lose much at any spot on the field. The Cowboys gave up a season high four sacks to this Redskins pass rush.
- I have to admit that in studying the offensive tape on the Redskins, there hasn't been a huge drop off in the way Ty Nsekhe has played in place for the suspended Trent Williams. Nsekhe is a giant of a tackle at 6-8, 325 pounds, and despite his size, he moves well in space. Of him and Morgan Moses, I'd try my best to attack him -- but with how quickly the ball gets out of Kirk Cousins' hand that will be a difficult task.
- Something I found interesting about Kirk Cousins: For as good as he has been in the field of play, his numbers inside the opponent's 10-yard line are disturbing. Cousins has only completed 7-of-24 passes (29 percent) with two of his seven interceptions coming in those situations.
- Something to keep an eye on that I noticed from the Green Bay game last week. Redskins linebacker Su'a Cravens has become a key player in several of their packages as a blitzer and cover man. Where Cravens can also help is as a quarterback "spy." He has the athlete ability and physical traits to stay with the Russell Wilson and Cam Newton types of quarterbacks. Against the Packers it appeared that Cravens was watching Aaron Rodgers during the game, so don't be surprised if while on the field he is keeping tabs on the mobile Dak Prescott.
- Here's a name of a Redskins receiver that you have probably not heard much about but you need to know -- rookie Maurice Harris. The first time these two clubs met, Harris was on the practice squad. He doesn't generally get many targets, but the ones he does receive are big-time receptions. The last two weeks against Minnesota and Green Bay he has made clutch catches. Over the middle or along the sideline - Kirk Cousins has not been afraid to throw him the ball. With all the attention that these receivers require in coverage, Harris has the ability to make a defense pay if not taken care of, as well.
- My guess at the Cowboys inactives: QB Mark Sanchez, CB Morris Claiborne, RB Darius Jackson, S Barry Church, LB Mark Nzeocha, OT Emmett Cleary, DE Benson Mayowa.