By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 3, 2006
Usually at this point, with Dallas on the horizon, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams would have spent his time dissecting the game of his former quarterback in Buffalo, Drew Bledsoe. But with Tony Romo starting Sunday for the Cowboys, Williams must build a game plan around a different guy.
Romo threw for 270 yards last Sunday in the Cowboys' 35-14 win at Carolina. It was his first start since Coach Bill Parcells replaced Bledsoe and has given the Cowboys a different look for the Redskins to ponder.
"He played well last week, against a pretty good defense," Williams said of Romo. "We have to play their offense. It doesn't come down to personnel like that. We have to play what we know about what they want to do. Coach Parcells wants to manage the ballgame. That position, when it manages very well, executes their offense very well. The young guy did a good job last week."
Williams said that Romo, who is inexperienced but has been in the league four years, wouldn't pose that much of a mystery.
"There's enough film on him in the preseason," Williams said. "We'll go back to last year's film and the habits or subtleties and mechanics that a guy has. He has to function within their offense. He has to do what they want done at that position, and he did it very well. I was very impressed."
Williams was more relieved that for the first time since training camp, the Redskins would play with their projected starting lineup. Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers will start at cornerback, and defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin and even a sore Joe Salave'a are expected to start. Over the past month, Salave'a has fought strains in both calves and has been inactive for three of the seven games. Griffin says he has recovered from a strained hip flexor that left him inactive for the past two games.Driven Into the Ground
In the Redskins' last three losses, to the New York Giants, Tennessee and Indianapolis, respectively, their defense was on the field for drives of 10 or more plays more often than at any point last season.
During the losing streak, the defense has given up nine long scoring drives. During that same span, the Redskins' offense has just three. And one, against the Giants, resulted in a 42-yard missed field goal attempt by John Hall. Against Indianapolis, the Colts produced four scoring drives of at least 10 plays, a problem that over the course of a game, and a season, withers the defense.
"We need to put a stop to this," defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "We've got the players to do it. We've got the personnel. What we need to remember is that it begins with us."
In the Cowboys' 27-10 win over Washington on Sept. 17, Dallas produced one long drive for 14 plays, but the killer was a six-play, 99-yard drive that ended with a Terry Glenn touchdown that broke the game open.
"Defensively, you want to make teams have to earn it, and you don't want to give up big chunks of yardage, and that's what it's been this year," Williams said. . . . Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall, inactive against the Colts with a sprained left ankle, is listed as probable.