No love lost for Redskins

The NFL has changed. Thanks to free agency, and the fact that players from different teams share agents and appear at the same offseason functions, the animosity and rivalries of yesteryear just don't exist anymore.

Not true, according to Dallas fullback Deon Anderson.

The Cowboys open up the 2010 regular season Sunday night with a road game against the NFC East-rival Washington Redskins, and Anderson said that anyone who suggests it is "just another game" to the Dallas players is flat-out wrong.

"My rookie year was my rookie year — I didn't know anything yet," he said. "I got here, and I had heard about the rivalry with the Redskins, but hadn't experienced it. But after you get eggs thrown at you on the ride to the stadium, and you get flipped off enough times, you start to get the field for what it really is.

"I met people in Washington who talked about the Cowboys, and I didn't even know them — they didn't even know I played for Dallas — and I kept my mouth shut. But it sort of showed me about the feelings between the teams."

The Redskins probably have the longest-standing tradition of dislike for the Cowboys, and vice versa, but the tradition of dislike, of course, is not limited to Washington and Dallas.

"We played the Eagles my rookie year, and I hurt my rotator cuff on a hit by (linebacker) Takeo Spikes," Anderson said. "He moved on to San Francisco, but ever since then, I look for him on the field. I search for him, and want to hit him all day. It started when he was in Philly, and it stuck with me. I guess games like this tend to build some real dislike."

Anderson declined to specific Redskins he "dislikes," but one of the keys to his performance will be how he handles Washington inside linebacker London Fletcher.

"(Fletcher) is about my height and about my build (Fletcher is 5-10 and 245 pounds; Anderson is 5-10, 240, having dropped six pounds since last season)," Anderson said. "He flies around, and he's always in position to make plays. He's like the heart of their defense. It's hard to know exactly what they're going to do with him, since they're in their new (3-4) defense and everyone goes half-assed in preseason — they didn't show anything. But he's the leader of that defense. We've got to know where he is at all times."

Anderson refused — again — to identify Washington players he sees in a similar light to Spikes, but did say that in addition to Fletcher, the players he'll "be looking for" include fellow inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh and safeties LaRon Landry and Chris Horton.

Just as he said preparation for Washington's defense is difficult because the Redskins showed so little in preseason games, Anderson said the concern about the Dallas offense also is unfounded.

"We didn't run anything (during preseason games)," he said. "I mean, what did we have, three runs and three passing plays? You know the guys we have back, and Dez Bryant — he's going to be good. He's like a jackrabbit. You throw the ball up in the air and he's going to go up and get it. You add him in, and we've got a lot of weapons."

Entering his fourth season, the Cowboys human wrecking ball is still awaiting his first rushing touchdown in the NFL (he caught one in 2008). But Anderson knows his job is to open lanes for running backs Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, and said he isn't concerned about getting himself in the end zone.

"I just want to hit — it's not my job to score touchdowns," he said. "That's Marion's job and Felix's job. My job is to slay someone. When I do, it feels good, and I'm thinking, ‘who's next?'"

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