- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

Often overlooked but highly indicative of the Washington Redskins' 0-4 start is the statistic of rushing attempts allowed. The Redskins rank last in the NFL at 42.5.
The league's next worst figure is 34.3 rushes allowed by the Tennessee Titans. The Dallas Cowboys, Washington's opponent tomorrow night at Texas Stadium, rank third at 33.8.
Clearly a team surrendering 40 rushes a game has little chance for victory.
"[Opponents] have control of the momentum of the game, the time of possession, the clock," defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said yesterday. "All that is in their favor, and the defense is spending a lot of time on the field. Plus, when that happens game after game, it beats down your defense. We have to get that turned around."
Coach Marty Schottenheimer blames the stat on the Redskins' large deficits in the first three losses opponents tried to run out the clock and on Washington's poor offensive and defensive third-down percentages.
"You know that you're not playing well if they have the opportunity to run it that many times," Schottenheimer said.
A key to limiting the stat is forcing second-and-long situations, rather than the frequent second-and-shorts Washington's defense has seen so far. But regardless of the Redskins' tactic, they must improve against the Cowboys.
"When a running back carries the ball 25 or 30 times a game, the commentator is like, 'Oh, he's having a long, hard running day,'" Lang said. "Some [team] carries 42 times, oh my goodness. That's a lot of rushes. We've got to calm that down."

Still motivating
This Redskins-Cowboys matchup will not involve Dallas defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban or Washington quarterback Jeff George, but the memory of an incident involving the pair last December still lingers.
In the second meeting, Ekuban sacked George and dragged him around the Texas Stadium turf by the collar. The move symbolized the Cowboys' blatant disrespect for the Redskins and showed just how lifeless Washington was in its disastrous stretch run.
Now Ekuban is recovering from back surgery and George has been released. But Redskins offensive linemen haven't forgotten what happened 10 months ago.
"[Ekubans attitude is] something that doesn't come with just one or two players," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "It's in the whole team, and that's just something you don't forget."
Said left tackle Chris Samuels, who allowed Ekuban's sack but wasn't looking when the dragging occurred: "It's still lingering in my mind. They disrespected our whole team both times [we played]. They beat up on us pretty good. So I'm excited to go out and get some revenge."

Secret weapon
The Redskins got an unexpected lift on special teams last week from running back Ki-Jana Carter, who blocked a punt on his first-ever play in the kicking game.
Carter entered because safety Keith Lyle, a regular special teams participant, was heavily involved in the defensive scheme in an effort to stop the New York Giants' running game. Carter, a former No. 1 overall pick and star at every level, had never played special teams but broke through to get a hand on Rodney Williams' punt. Apparently Carter was not designated to try to block the punt but did so when his blocker executed poorly.
Tomorrow Carter will remain in a reserve role on special teams but is eager to get another opportunity particularly because he has just two carries this season while the Redskins struggle to get feature back Stephen Davis enough touches.
"I just want to get on the field and contribute," Carter said. "If it's special teams, I'm all for it. I'm just happy to be out there playing again."
Schottenheimer said that Carter also should get some work in third-down situations in place of Davis.

Extra points
Recently signed quarterback Kent Graham will be the No. 2 passer tomorrow, replacing rookie Sage Rosenfels. Graham continues to have limited knowledge of the offense, Schottenheimer said, but took the second-string snaps in practice this week.Cornerback Champ Bailey (ankle) practiced for the first time this week and should be able to play at Dallas. Wide receiver Michael Westbrook (hip) took the day off but also should play after practicing Thursday and Friday.

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