Tom Landry said today the Cowboys will list Roger Staubach as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Redskins.The announcement quickly drew a long distance snicker from Redskin Coach Jack Pardee, as well as a giggle from Staubach.
Staubach's right thigh was deeply bruised when hit by an Eagle helmet in the Cowboys' 31-21 loss to Philadelphia Monday night. He missed five minutes of the second quarter, took a pain-killing injection at halftime and played the entire second half. He also threw three touchdown passes and had 308 yards in the air, the third-best performance of his career.
"It looked like Roger moved around pretty well enough to me," Pardee said via telephone hookup to the Dallas media assembled here for Landry's weekly press conference. "We know Roger well enough to expect him to play. I don't expect him to miss a whole week of practice, either."
Neither did Staubach.
"Right now, the leg is swollen to the point that I can't run on it," he said. "But barring complications, it should be find by the end of the week. It felt like a very deep cramp. But I went to the dressing room and, because it was just a bruise, they deadened and treated it so I could play.
"I'm sure not thinking about not playing. I've been questionable before and played. I'm looking forward to Sunday. It's a big game for both teams. I'll be there."
There is some doubt whether several of his teammate can join him at RFK. Landry said defensive tackle Randy White was limping badly on a sore foot and safety Cliff Harris had reinjured his heel. Both will be listed as questionable.Running back Preston Pearson, whose knee was injured two weeks ago against Pittsburgh, definitely is out, Landry said.
But Landry has had a history of loading the injury list with players, down to the last one with a hangnail.
"We expect them all to play," Pardee said.
Landry said he expects another typical Redskin-Cowboy affair, even if his football team has lost two of its last three games. That slump has left the Cowboys at 8-3 and only one game ahead of the Redskins and Eagles in the NFC East. Dallas also must play the Houston Oilers on Thanksgiving Day; that will be their third game in 10 days.
The Cowboys have been in this situation before. Last year they had a 6-4 mark, then won their last six regular season games and two in the playoffs to gain the Super Bowl. Still, there was some serious gnashing of teeth here after the Eagle game Monday night.
Outspoken linebacker Thomas Henderson said, "It's time for some veterans to step up now. We just assume everything is going to be okay and a lot of vets stand on the sidelines and look for someone to blame . . . We need to quit sitting back with our hands in our pockets, collecting our money."
Added Tony Dorsett: "It seems we only play withour backs to the wall. We ought to be happy now."
Landry seemed perplexed by the recent slide.
"We need to get a successful game like we had against the Rams (a 30-6 victory four weeks ago) because you have to play well in a tough situation," he said. "Whether we're in a tough situation in the eyes of our players, I'm still not sure.
"At this point, Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas are dead even as far as I'm concerned. We're all contenders. (Dick) Vermeil (coach of the Eagles) plays it down and says he's going for the wild card. He doesn't believe that today. He's going for the whole thing.
"But I'm confident. I'm always confident in the players we have. They are seasoned players . . . Anytime you have the kind of record we have, a lot of the players have no conception what it's like to be on the bottom. Sometimes you wish they'd all been down there as they could know what it's like.
"But I think we can pull out of it. We better start now."
Landry was asked if he thought the Cowboy-Redskin rivalry is as intense under Pardee as it was under George Allen.
"I don't think so," he said. "George created most of that himself, and we went along with it. Of course, I doubt if there's any love lost between the teams, either. It will be an interesting battle."
"I watched the Redskins on television Sunday for the first time and I was very impressed," he said. "I've also looked at their record defensively, and up until the last two games, they weren't giving up many points.
"I know their front four is basically the same, and the secondary hasn't changed much. (Diron) Talbert is still playing, and he's made a great comeback. There are some people who don't get along with everybody in life and Diron and I don't get along real well. But he's a competitor.
"I'm sure we'll say hello Sunday."