Redskins present a puzzle for coaches

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys can’t just pop in tape of the Redskins to prepare for the season opener.

The coaching staff has watched film from at least four teams as they try to figure out how the schemes used by the new Washington coaching regime will work with the Redskins personnel.

They’ve studied Mike Shanahan’s old Denver teams. They’ve looked at recent Houston Texans film to see what kind of twists offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son, came up with. They watched the Pittsburgh Steelers defense from the late ‘90s, when it was run by Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. And, of course, they studied the Redskins again.

Defensive players might also want to pop in some recent Eagles games to brush up on the tendencies of Donovan McNabb.

The Redskins have the element of surprise on their side, as the Cowboys attempt to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of how Shanahan and Co. will fit their schemes to their personnel. But the Cowboys have the advantage in most individual matchups, and it’s on Wade Phillips and his staff to maximize that.

At least the Cowboys had plenty of time to prepare. The coaching staff has been working on Washington for weeks.