Since Daniel Snyder officially took over as owner of the Washington Redskins in July, he has made it clear that no one's job is safe and disappointing results will be punished with dismissals.
Following yesterday's gut-wrenching, 41-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the regular season opener, however, Snyder and other team officials were preaching patience and talking about the positive signs they had seen.
Snyder delivered a postgame locker room pep talk in which he told the Redskins' players it was only one game and they must remain upbeat. Later, he admitted that the defeat was difficult to handle, but he credited Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and said he liked a lot of what he saw from his team.
Redskins sources said there were no immediate plans for any coaches to be fired or any players to be released as punishment for yesterday's transgressions. The Redskins may make a roster move today, but club officials previously had indicated they would consider making a pickup from among the players cut by other NFL teams.
"I have no doubts that [the Redskins' players] are going to respond from this and that this team is going to have a heck of a year," Coach Norv Turner said.
Redskins Don't Miss Deion
The Cowboys placed cornerback Deion Sanders on their inactive list before the game because of his lingering toe injury. Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson, tailback Stephen Davis and wide receivers Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell had career-best days against a Dallas defense that also was without injured cornerback Kevin Smith and suspended tackle Leon Lett.
Johnson had 382 passing yards, his single-game career high in the NFL. Westbrook's 159 receiving yards and Connell's 137 receiving yards were career-bests, and Davis had his first 100-yard rushing performance in the NFL.
"Hopefully my next 100-yard game can have a better result," Davis said.
Johnson was sacked twice, but usually was given time to throw by his offensive line.
"As a quarterback, I couldn't be happier," Johnson said. "The offensive line is the strength of our offense. They played tremendously, and for three quarters we put on a show. . . . It was great to see Michael and [Connell] come up with some huge plays. We spread the ball around pretty well. A lot of guys made some plays, and that is what we are going to build off of."
Reserve defensive tackle Marc Boutte was sick yesterday and was placed on the team's game-day inactive list along with guard Rod Milstead, center Mark Fischer and third quarterback Casey Weldon. . . .
Turner said the Redskins weren't caught off guard by the fourth-quarter onside kick recovered by the Cowboys. Both he and special teams coach LeCharls McDaniel warned players about the possibility, Turner said. Still, the Cowboys recovered Toby Gowin's kick.
"It was absolutely expected," Turner said. "It was well executed by them and poorly executed by us." . . .
Redskins rookie cornerback Champ Bailey did a superb job covering Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin for the most of the day. But the Cowboys looked Irvin's way after Bailey left the game because of leg cramps, and Irvin victimized Darryl Pounds for one touchdown and Darrell Green for another.
"Everyone in the stadium saw [Bailey] walk off the field," Cowboys Coach Chan Gailey said. "Did we run some things to that side of the field [after Bailey's departure]? Yes."