Cowboys offensive player to watch: TE Jason Witten

In two games against Washington last season, Witten recorded a combined nine catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

How he beats you: Now in his 10th NFL season, Witten has rebounded from a slow start and is enjoying one of the best campaigns of his career. Witten has 73 catches for 636 yards and projects to record 116 catches (a career high) and 1,017 yards (third most in his career). At 6-foot-6, 261 pounds, Witten has great size, which helps make him tough to bring down. But another element that helps Witten remain so productive although his speed had diminished, is his approach to the game. “He’s a technician in everything he does, man,” Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen says. “His route stems, everything he does is designed to get himself open. It doesn’t matter what the concept is, he’s going to run the route that’s most advantageous to getting him open. He sees it really well, he uses his hands. He has great hands, so if he gets the ball in traffic, he gets it. I definitely have a lot of respect for him.”

How to stop him: The Redskins linebackers and safeties will have their hands full on Thursday, but they will try to find ways to limit Witten’s impact with strong technique of their own, by mixing up their coverages, and at times using double-teams. With Witten being Tony Romo’s go-to guy, Washington’s defenders know that another big key is working to ensure that Romo doesn’t have time to locate Witten. “Pressure Tony as much as possible, because they have a great connection,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said on the key to stopping Witten. “That and stay as tight as possible as you can, maybe double a little bit, mix it up to keep him out of the game as much as possible.”

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