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Dallas week; a Redskin Tradition

The Journal

Pete Barber

Wed, Dec 10, 2003

It's always special when the Skins play Dallas. All the way back to the days of Coach George Allen's paranoid, us versus them mentality. It's a little more tense, a little more exciting. When the dreaded Cowboys come to town, we don't seem to talk of much else all week. In the last few years neither franchise has had much to crow about. At least whoever won their match up had bragging rights till the next game.

If truth be told Redskins fans have had precious little to brag about the past few years. The way the Redskins season had been going, I thought Sunday's Game at Fed-Ex Field would again be nothing to look forward to.

Bill Parcell has come into Dallas like a whirlwind. Everyone knows his reputation for excellence. What has been a surprise is the immediate change Parcell's Boot Camp coaching style has brought to the woebegone Cowboys. They have instantly become a playoff caliber team.

Unheralded young quarterback Quincy Carter has blossomed under Parcell's tough love coaching style to become a steady reliable pro quarterback.

They haven't made any major personnel changes, yet find themselves right behind the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles and seemingly headed for the playoffs.

The Redskins? Well, we continue to have hope. The latest coaching regime seems, if at least a little more exciting than Marty's old school " four yards and a cloud of dust" philosophy, as inept and mistake prone as Norv Turner's teams. Steve Spurrier's "Fun and Gun", has not been much fun The Man who was in the top echelon of major college football for nearly two decades has suddenly found the answers harder to come by.

Lately on TV 4's Steve Spurrier Show, coach Spurrier's reaction to questions has become increasingly disconnected, agreement to every criticism or critical question from sports reporters or fans. Does he care?

Is he just banking his 5 million a year and waiting for the curtain to fall? Rumors of Spurrier returning to college coaching at the end of the season are everywhere. Where do we go from here?

Forget it all. The Dallas Cowboys come to Fed-Ex Field Sunday at 4:15 p.m. and all the questions and conflicts can be put aside for three hours or so. Forget Standings, won/lost records, will the Skins resign Champ Bailey. Will Spurrier be back next year?... Sunday it's just the Redskins versus the Cowboys.

Last Sunday a couple of interesting things happened, as expected the Redskins beat the disintegrating N Y Giants behind the solid play of backup up quarterback. Tim Hasselbeck..

At the same time Parcell's Cowboys were losing the third of their last four games to division leading Philadelphia Eagles. Are the wheels beginning to come off the Cowboys? Are the Redskins finally getting their act together? It had seemed the Redskins and the Cowboys were two teams headed in different directions. . Now, I'm not so sure

· Pete Barber is a sports writer with The Journal. He can be reached at news@journalpress.com

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