The Washington Times - November 18, 2009, 05:13PM

We caught up with Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News, where he’s been covering the Dallas Cowboys since the 2003 season. He agree to answer three quick questions about this weekend’s opponent for Redskins 360.

1. The Cowboys were playing so well. What happened against the Packers and will that continue going forward?


I think you chalk that one up to the desperate team theory. Green Bay had to have that one or its season was over. The Cowboys’ offense was disjointed and could never get going. That hadn’t happened all year. Tony Romo makes it all go for Dallas and he never really got going. The Redskins come into this game, desperate, too, I suppose, and have won five of the last eight meetings.

2. Where the heck did Miles Austin come from?

He had just 18 catches during his first three seasons. He’s made a ton of big plays this hot streak, but things slowed some against Philly and Green Bay, which paid extra attention to him. He didn’t catch a pass in either game until the fourth quarter. It’s part of the growing process of a receiver. He has all the necessary skills, but he’s seeing things that he hasn’t seen before and he has to make some adjustments.

3. If Dallas has had a season-long weakness, it seems to be the pass defense. What’s going wrong there?

It’s improved a lot lately and most of that is due to the pass rush. The Cowboys didn’t get a sack in their first two games, but they have 24 in the last seven. Cornerback Mike Jenkins has played a lot better in second year, but he’s troubled by a bruised left biceps. Free safety Ken Hamlin won’t play Sunday because of ankle injury, but Gerald Sensabaugh has played well at strong safety. Terence Newman has been a little inconsistent, but when he’s matched up with a receiver all over the field, he has been terrific. The problem for the defense is that it doesn’t get turnovers. The Cowboys have picked off just six passes.

Want more from Todd? You can check out his Cowboys coverage at the Dallas Morning News Cowboys blog (, and you can find him on Twitter at @toddarcher.