Radio silence, of sorts, has fallen at Redskin Park, where Your Heroes are being gentlemen about Saturday's game with the distinguished visitors from Dallas. Here's a coach walking the halls. Let's ask him about the Cowboys. Isn't it true, a joker said yesterday, that the Cowboys are rootin' tootin' son-of-a-gunnin' no-goods who won't be within three touchdowns of the Redskins come sundown Saturday?
"The Cowboys are a very good football team," this coach said, "and we look forward to a very good game."
But don't the Cowboys drop-kick small dogs and shove in line ahead of little girls at McDonald's?
"The Cowboys are a very good football team," the coach began again, "and we . . . "
Football coaches read newspapers not only for coaching tips (aw, shucks) but also for quotes from the enemy that they can tack on the bulletin board to fire up their fellows. So the coach in the hallway yesterday kept his mouth shut, not even risking a joke, because he already had read what Rafael Septien said.
Septien, the Cowboys' place kicker, said Mark Moseley was lucky this year.
He also said Moseley's one-for-four work on field goals in the playoffs is a sign something isn't right.
(We pause here for a commercial: later on, we'll tell you why the Cowboys are struggling a little and we'll hear Tom Landry praise the Redskins as mighty. Now, back to our program.)
Septien's words weren't in yesterday's Dallas papers, but the Cowboys' publicity staff printed them on a quote sheet after Sunday's 37-26 victory over Green Bay. Septien kicked three field goals, giving him 14 straight in postseason play, a record.
"He's lucky," Septien said of Moseley's consecutive-field goal record of 23. "He's had a lucky season, a lot of short field goals this year. Now (as for Moseley's troubles) he's probably not ready mentally."
Alex Karras didn't like foreigners who kick sidesaddle. "They say, 'I keek a touchdown,' " Karras said. This time, Septien may have keeked his foot right into his mouth, because if Moseley hasn't been ready, he is now. A Redskin scout flew all night, from Dallas to New Orleans to Washington, and hand-delivered the quote sheet to a coach, who showed it to Moseley.
"There's no need to say something like that," Moseley said. "I'm disappointed in Rafael. But you can say whatever you want. Everybody's got an opinion. We'll settle it on the field Saturday."
Moseley remembered another squabble with a Cowboy kicker, Efren Herrera. This was back when Tex-from-L.A. Schramm, the Cowboys president, whined that Moseley's kicking shoe looked illegal and so had league officials check to see if it were stuffed with lead.
"One time Herrera hit one from 50 yards and I hit one from 53, and then he hit a couple more and so did I," Moseley said. "And afterward Herrera said, 'Yeah, but I did it without any lead in my shoe.' He didn't have to say that."
Other Cowboys were more discreet than Septien, for two reasons. They can't brag much because they admit they're having trouble winning. And the Cowboys can't downgrade the Redskins because, practically to a man, they believe the Redskins are for real.
Drew Pearson, Dallas receiver: "The Redskins are the best team in the NFL. They're playing great, and we'll have to play great to beat them."
Tom Landry: "They are on a roll now much like the 49ers last year . . . They aren't doing anything differently (from the Dec. 5 game won by Dallas, 24-10), they're just doing it better. They'll go to John Riggins if you let him run. Or they'll pass. They do it all very well. They execute very well, they don't turn the ball over. If you're going to beat them, you gotta beat them. They won't help you."
Someone suggested that the beaten Packers of Lofton-Jefferson renown must be superior to the Redskins in offensive firepower.
"Those guys like Alvin Garrett are doing nothing but catching touchdowns," Landry said, naming the little Redskin who in two playoff games has caught four touchdown passes. "There's not any more firepower than that."
On Dec. 5, quarterback Danny White said Dallas played perfectly. Yet the Cowboys won, it says here, only because White made an impromptu run from punt formation that destroyed Washington's momentum late. How, he was asked, have the Cowboys changed since December?
"We've been down and up, down and up," White said. "And right now we're on the way up again. The Redskins have made steady progress."
The Cowboys have injury problems. Running back Ron Springs didn't play Sunday but probably will play against the Redskins. Defensive tackle John Dutton hasn't played in two weeks and is questionable. Though White's thumb is still swollen and painful, he passed superbly in the playoffs.
The Cowboys' defensive line and linebacker blitzes were neutralized Sunday, as they have been for a month now ("If we don't play any better," said Harvey Martin, "we'll have problems in D.C."). Landry depends on offensive fireworks and big plays to win.
When Tampa Bay might have beaten Dallas, cornerback Monty Hunter ran in an interception for a touchdown. Green Bay seemed the better team Sunday, but three turnovers handed Dallas 13 points and the Cowboys scored another touchdown after a 49-yard gadget play: wide receiver Pearson, taking a quick lateral, threw deep to Tony Hill.
"The last time we used it was against Washington and it was my only interception in 10 years," Pearson said. "So Coach Landry probably didn't want to use it next week."
Seeing reporters making notes, Pearson added, "Or maybe we'll come back with it again."
That'll keep 'em guessing at the bulletin board.