The players will be asked the usual questions about the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry and most will say that all games are big games, especially ones in the division, but that there is not particular hatred directed towards what some call America’s Team. There are a few exceptions; Brian Orakpo is from Houston and he grew up hating the Cowboys. But for the most part the intensity of the rivalry resides with the fans. Maybe if they meet in some games with a lot on the line for both teams that will change, but for now it is what it is.

Then the boys from Hogs Haven attempted to predict how players would respond:

“Just another game,” “divisional games are important” “blah blah”

Normally I’d agree, of course, but I was struck on Sunday by how many Redskins players suggested that they knew Dallas games meant something different to this city. These quotes are from interviews with Comcast SportsNet and the Redskins Radio Network

Rex Grossman: “When you’re talking Redskins-Cowboys, it’s the biggest rivalry in football. So Monday night, the whole thing, we’ll be ready.”  

London Fletcher: “[The newcomers will] learn pretty quickly that we hate the Cowboys around here. There’s no love lost at all. After that game you’ll normally see a bunch of people in the training room getting healed up for the next week. It’s gonna be a physical game, a lot of intensity. We definitely don’t like the Cowboys around here.”

Tim Hightower:“I’ve heard a lot about this rivalry. I’ve watched a lot of these games growing up. I know exactly what it means to this city and to this team. So I’m excited. To be on a Monday night, in a nationally televised game, and a chance to go 3-0, I’m looking forward to it.”

Brian Orakpo: “It’s gonna be a huge game. Everybody knows about the Cowboys-Redskins game. It’s gonna be phenomenal. We’re 2-0, I don’t know what their record is right now but it really doesn’t matter, we know it’s gonna be a great game.”

Oshiomogho Atogwe: “I know there’s a HUGE historic rivalry between the Redskins and the Cowboys, And I’m excited to be a part of it, and to come into this game and show these Cowboys what the Redskins are about in 2011.”

 Tim Hightower again: “Hey, you dislike every opponent you play, but I definitely know exactly what this rivalry means. Growing up, I don’t think anyone’s ignorant of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry. It means a lot to this city, it means a lot to this team. It’s a great opportunity for us, and just like I said last week, I expect to win, I expect to win this week. I’m looking forward to going in there with a great group of guys, nationally televised game. I’ve watched the rivalry for so long, it’s good to be a part of it.”