Cowboys need to handle Redskins' blitz

IRVING, Texas -- Last December, Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had the Dallas Cowboys' number.

He dialed up several blitzes involving the strong-side and middle linebackers that threw the Cowboys' offense for a loop.

As a result, Tony Romo had a season-low in completion percentage (54.1), a season low in yards (218) and was intercepted three times. The Redskins had only two sacks, but the pressure was bothersome all night.

“I know how good this defense is,” Romo said. “It’s a great challenge for us. Tough to score points on. We’ve got to be able to do some things that they’re not prepared for. I know they’re going to have new pressure packages. They’re going to be ready to bring it after us. We’re going to hopefully have some things up that will give them some trouble.”

The Cowboys spent a good chunk of the offseason trying to protect Romo better against blitz looks. The biggest change came on the interior of the line, with three new players in Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick and Brian Waters.

The return of Brian Orakpo changes some of the Redskins' defense, but they still expect a lot of pressure from Haslett to slow down a passing game that went off for 506 yards last week.

“You go back a couple of years ago, when the game was on the line, I think it was a third-and-23 and he still brought the house,” tight end Jason Witten said. “That’s the mentality of the way that defense plays. They bring pressure, they have success bringing pressure and they bring pressure with a lot of different guys. It’s not just all [Brian] Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan. They bring it with secondary players and corners. Just stay on top of it and be alert so that you can have answers when they do bring it.”