Game Day Player Match-Ups
Two 1-1 teams coming into this game on very different planes... the Cowboys squeaked out a hard-fought 19-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns, while the Redskins are trying to recover from an embarassing performance in last week's 20-14 loss to the Giants.
Greg Ellis vs. Chris Samuels
By Scott Hurrey
Greg Ellis has had some success against the Redskins during his 7-year career. Over the last three years, he has put up some decent numbers from the left defensive end position. Ellis registered 13 solo tackles with 5 assists, 1.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery against the Skins during that time.
Ellis was moved to the right side of the defensive line this season. With the addition of defensive end Marcellus Wiley, the Cowboys believe this will give Ellis more opportunities to get to the quarterback. In week 2, he routinely harassed Jeff Garcia and his team-high 7 tackles, 1 sack and 5 quarterback pressures were a major contributor to Garcia’s 0.0-passer rating.
Chris Samuels is a perennial pro-bowl left tackle, and regarded by some as one of the best in today’s NFL. Samuels was upset with his showing last year, and he came to camp this year with a chip on his shoulder.
The Redskins had a dreadful showing against the Giants in their first NFC East showdown. Samuels had a decent day, giving up only 1 sack to Giants defensive end Keith Washington in the fourth quarter. In week 1, Samuels held Simeon Rice –a much better pass rusher-- to no sacks.
This is the first time these two players will face each other on the gridiron. Ellis is an above average pass rusher, but should be no match for the new and improved Chris Samuels and the proven blocking schemes of Coach Bugel.
Jason Witten vs. Marcus Washington
By Dan Hines
This match-up features two emerging stars, Jason Witten in his second year as a pro, has become the Bill Parcells prototype tightend. A reliable receiver and better blocker, Witten has 99 yards on 9 receptions and more than a few eye-opening pancake blocks in two games.
Marcus Washington was brought in from Indianapolis this year to compliment LB Lavar Arrington. Washington has done that and more, as he leads the team in tackles with 19 (15 solo) and although he hasn’t recorded a sack yet, he has hurried and harassed opposing quarterbacks.
Jason Witten will have his hand full this week; Washington will continue to be used by Redskin defensive coordinator Greg Williams to apply pressure. That will be intensified this week with the absence of DE Philip Daniels and LB Lavar Arrington. The versatile Washington has no problems dropping deep into pass coverage, when the defensive schemes call for him to do so.
Witten will spend most of the night helping to control the Redskins blitz packages, and provide time for Cowboys quarterback Vinny Testaverde, limiting his receptions. For the Skins to win Washington must have a big game. Look for Washington to respond with a huge game, including a few big plays that help swing the momentum of the game.
Laveranues Coles vs. Terence Newman
By Fran Farren
Where has Laveranues Coles been this year? Skins fans have yet to see Coles catch a deep ball this year with his longest catch this year being 22 yards. With the new focus on the running game, the Redskins obviously have not been using their wide receivers as much as in years passed. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is very important to keep your wide receivers involved in the game, even if it’s simply to open up the running game a little more.
Terence Newman is a second-year player out of Kansas State that will draw the assignment of covering Coles on Monday. At the exact same height as Coles (5’11”), the big difference in this match-up will be athletic ability, and experience. Coles plays week in and week out with a lot of heart and no one can doubt his athletic ability. As far as experience is concerned, Coles is also head and shoulders above Newman.
The Skins will need to establish a good passing attack so that the Cowboys can't keep eight men in 'the box' like the Giants did so much last week. If the Redskins are going to stretch the defense with some long passes, you can expect that Coles will be the recipient of most of the calls. You can also expect the Redskins to continue to throw Coles the quick out and allow him to use his toughness and ability after the catch to get yards. Newman typically likes to play 'off' a receiver and success early with the quick out will force Newman to have to try and check Coles at the line of scrimmage. Coles definitely has the edge in both strength and toughness, and turning the match-up into a more physical one is certainly to his advantage.
The status of Mark Brunell starting is still unknown. If he can't go and Patrick Ramsey gets the start, expect the Redskins to use Ramsey's arm and Coles speed to stretch the field even more.
This article was released on 2004-09-24.
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