Redskins at Cowboys: 5 Questions

Thursday, 4:15 p.m.; TV: Fox; Radio: 980 AM, 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM

1. Can Washington’s defense overcome the loss of SS Brandon Meriweather? The Redskins have played nine games without him, so they’re used to it, but generally the results haven’t been good. Second-year safety DeJon Gomes isn’t as fast and doesn’t cover as well as Meriweather.

2. Will ILB London Fletcher play? He was not expected to test his sprained left ankle until pre-game warm-ups Thursday. He did not practice on Tuesday, but the NFL’s iron man (234 consecutive games) has an established history of defying injury and showing up on game days. It would be surprising if he doesn’t play.

3. Can the Redskins’ defense generate a pass rush again? Washington had four sacks against Philadelphia last week in its best game of the season. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was able to be more creative with his blitz designs because of Brandon Meriweather at safety. Now that Meriweather is out, we’ll see if the Redskins can send as many cornerback blitzes.

4. Will Robert Griffin III play his best game? The rookie already has demonstrated a knack for rising to meet big moments. The season-opener against New Orleans and late-game situations against Tampa Bay and New York are great examples. His first nationally televised game is within two hours of where he grew up, so the stage is set.

5. Will the Redskins’ special teams make a big play? Return man Brandon Banks is focusing on reading cutback lanes better. He almost broke a big return last week, but he ran into ILB Lorenzo Alexander. This should be a close game, and it could swing on one play. Banks is due.

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