- The Washington Times - Monday, October 15, 2001

The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are known for playing games with postseason implications. They play for a new title tonight at Texas Stadium: worst team in the NFL.
The first "Monday Night Football" meeting of 0-4 teams has ABC officials planning comedic segments and unleashing Dennis Miller's satirical prose to keep the nation watching two awful teams.
The Redskins already have been humiliated before a Monday night audience, by Green Bay 37-0 on Sept. 24. However, the Packers are a Super Bowl contender. Getting drubbed by the Cowboys would be a new low.
Don't think it hasn't been on players' minds for the past week. The rivalry seems secondary, because only 23 Washington players and one assistant coach have played in the series. More importantly, the Redskins don't want to be known as the NFL's worst team just one year after having preseason thoughts of reaching the Super Bowl.
"We hate it," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "We know it's being said. If we were on the outside we would say the same thing. We know we're not what everyone says we are. We just have to prove it."
Beating the Cowboys wouldn't absolve the sins of the past month, when the Redskins scored just one touchdown in four double-digit losses. Nor will it end speculation that new coach Marty Schottenheimer will be dismissed at the end of the season. However, a victory would give players something to build upon as the Redskins enter the easiest part of their schedule, with Carolina (Oct. 21) and Seattle (Nov. 4) among upcoming opponents.
"I feel like I'll be able to walk around among the people of Washington, D.C., if we beat the Cowboys," linebacker LaVar Arrington said.
The Cowboys aren't much better than the Redskins. The Cowboys keep switching young quarterbacks in the NFL's worst passing offense. Their offense is ranked 30th overall, with only the Redskins trailing.
Still, the Cowboys have beaten the Redskins seven straight and look forward to national redemption at their rivals' expense.
"We're playing the Redskins and it's a Monday night game you get up for that regardless of the records," Cowboys receiver Joey Galloway said.
Said Dallas coach Dave Campo: "I don't think the rivalry is diminished. It's Cowboys-Redskins, and we've been at it for a long time."
It's also the end of the Redskins' rugged early schedule, which included four of the first five games on the road for the first time since 1971. Throw in the preseason final at New England and Washington will have played at home just once over a two-month span.
"I feel like a traveling carnival show," Schottenheimer said.
The Redskins also spent the past week quelling talk of locker room moles. Defensive end Bruce Smith said that "Five-Os" were informing on teammates, and team sources confirmed that Schottenheimer confronted Smith about his remarks during a team meeting.
"There's the old adage that says 'adversity builds character,'" Schottenheimer said. "I don't believe that. It reveals character."
Washington has two keys to beating Dallas: establish its own running game and stop Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith.
Schottenheimer said running back Stephen Davis would be used more than his current 13-carry pace. However, quarterback Tony Banks also wants to prove Dallas wrong for releasing him Aug. 12. The Redskins could present a bipolar offensive approach.
Campo downplayed the release of Banks, saying the emergence of two young quarterbacks made him expendable. Still, the Cowboys signed Ryan Leaf on Friday after a poor beginning by quarterbacks Anthony Wright and Quincy Carter. Campo expects Banks' poor start second worst among NFL passers to improve over time. Indeed, Banks said his biggest problem was missing much of training camp, when timing is created.
"When you have to change quarterbacks [during the season], it's going to take awhile for whoever the quarterback is to get the chemistry back with his receiver corps," Campo said. "I think Tony will get better with work."
Smith has rushed for 100 yards or more against the Redskins nine times in his career and also had two 99-yard efforts. The Redskins' run defense already has allowed three rushers more than 100 yards this season. With the pass rush floundering without injured defensive ends Marco Coleman and Smith, the Redskins must bolster their run defense.
"Emmitt still has it," said Redskins defensive end Dorian Boose. "He may not be as fast, but he's still quick and elusive. In this league, that's all you need."

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