Too Tall Jones walks into the Dallas Cowboys' dressing room at RFK Stadium. As he looks around, he sees a piece of paper atop a locker.
On it is written, "Game plan for Cowboys."
Jones looks it over quickly. All it is is a list of names and numbers. Jones gives it to Coach Tom Landry.
Landry looks at it and smiles.
"That's what I would do, too, if I were playing us," he says.
The real Redskin game plan for the Cowboys in Monday night's battle at RFK Stadium will not be left where Too Tall or any other Cowboy can find
With their biggest game of the young season coming up, there is not about to be a Redskin security leak or careless mistake but there are undoubtedly some things in the Redskin game plan that Landry knows about.
Because of Dallas' strong line and linebackers and comparatively weak secondary, common sense says to throw the ball against the Cowboys.
The book on the Cowboys is that they have a tough time playing man-to-man. Spread them out, shift, put men in motion to make their defense move around.
In short, do the same things they do to their opponents - try to confuse them. Show them one thing but give them another.
When you de throw deep, keep your backs in to help keep Harvey Martin, Randy White and Too Tall out, and when you throw short, throw quick.
When you run, use traps and sucker plays and quick pops. Don't give their linebackers a chance to read and react.
Of course, the book says, these things are easier said then done.
It is the situations and formations and the ball carriers that flesh a game plan out and make it meaningful.
"It takes us five days to get a game plan made out," quarterback Joe Theismann said. "It is a very well-thought-out and detailed thing but useless to anyone not familiar with it."
Every team has both an offensive and a defensive game plan. They are guidelines for what the teams wants to do
Most teams try to perfect their entire offense during training camp and then, the week of a specific game will review things they will use against that particular opponent.
In other words, plays the Redskins practiced last week in preparation for the Jets, may not be run at all in preparation for the Cowboys.
The Redskins put in their basic plan on Tuesday and changes are made throughout the week. The final product often is not decided until as late as the day before the game.
One of the major things that goes into making a game plan is the scouting of the opposition.
"We can see what plays a team runs from looking at film, but we want to know all the fringe stuff, like hang time and things like that, so we sent scouts out to see the first few games of the teams we are going to play," Coach Jack Pardee said.
"When you make the game plan up you try to get the feeling of what and why the other team does things.
"Once you understand why they do things, you can figure out what to do to take advantage of it.
"For instance, if you see that they put a linebacker on a wide receiver in front of their cornerback, you have to determine why. If it's because he is a weak cornerback and they don't want him out there alone, your game plan has to have a way for you to attack that cornerback without the linebacker there."
Pardee went on to explain that all the shifting and the sending of men in motion some teams do is done often to move just one defender around to take advantage of a weakness.
The Redskins also have what they call "What-if" game plans. What if it is raining? What if there's a big wind? What if a key player gets injured?
"All of these things affect your game plan and you have to be ready for them," Pardee said.
From observation, it appears the Cowboy secondary is vulnerable if it can be made to play man-to-man coverage, but Pardee said, "I don't think you can force them into a man-to-man defense. They are pretty committed to a zone."
The Redskin game plan almost certainly will have some way to make Dallas pay if it wants to stay in a zone defense all of the time.
Pardee cautions that the entire offense cannot be changed for one game. A few new wrinkles are fine, like a new formation or a little different pass route, something that may look like a major change to the opposition but really isn't.
"The game plan has to start with what we have been successful with," Pardee said. "From there, we look at the other team's personnel and see exactly what plays we want to run. A lot goes into it, but basically, that is all there is to it."
Yesterday's workout was the Redskins' first tough one of the week and everyone participated except wide receiver Danny Buggs, who is out with a separated shoulder . . . Pardee said he wasn't sure who would start for Buggs - Ricky Thompson or John McDaniel. "It doesn't really matter who starts because they, along with Frank Grant, will be alternating in and out with the plays, anyway," Pardee said . . . Pardee added that the defense had a little trouble getting settled in against the Dallas offense in practice "because the Cowboys do so much shifting that it's tough to get a good picture in one day. We'll be more familiar with things by tomorrow."
The Cowboys have signed 38-year-old tight end Jackie Smith to replace reserve Jay Saldi, who suffered a broken right forearm last Sunday. Smith played 15 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring at the end of last season. He has caught 482 passes for 7.918 yards and 40 touchdowns.