Cowboys - Skins Snapshot

The Dallas Cowboys will face off with NFC East rival Washington Monday night. Here's a look at all of the major story lines headed into the game.

KICKOFF: Monday, 9:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/27/04
TV: ABC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Michele Tafoya
SERIES: 89th meeting. Cowboys lead the series 52-34-2. Dallas has won 12 of last 13 meetings, including 27-0 at Washington last season. The Cowboys have faced only the Eagles more than they have faced the Redskins. They have only beaten the Cardinals (53) more times than they have beaten the Redskins. The Cowboys are 12-12 against Joe Gibbs as Redskins coach. Bill Parcells is 11-6 against Gibbs all-time.

2004 RANKINGS: Cowboys: offense 1st (24th rush, 1st pass); defense 16th (27th rush, 8th pass). Redskins: offense 19th (9th rush, 22nd pass); defense 1st (1st rush, 9th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Cowboys have had no problem moving the ball through the air - finishing drives and avoiding turnovers has been their nemesis, to go along with a paltry running attack. The Redskins already have the top-ranked run defense and should have little trouble against Cowboys RB Eddie George. But CB Walt Harris struggled as the third corner last week and Dallas has a strong trio in WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and Antonio Bryant. Generating a pass rush against QB Vinny Testaverde will be key for the Redskins, who need to play the field position game with QB Mark Brunell's status uncertain and Patrick Ramsey likely to start. Ramsey has yet to show any comfort in the new offense, and RB Clinton Portis hasn't been overly effective outside of his 64-yard run to open the season. Portis has been more comfortable going outside, which will be difficult against a quick Cowboys defense.

FAST FACTS: Cowboys: Lead the series 52-34-2 and have won 12 of the past 13 meetings. ... Will make their 63 appearance on Monday Night Football, second-most all-time. ... Testaverde is coming off the first consecutive 300-yard passing games for a player at least 40 years old in NFL history. Redskins: Have lost 11 of their past 13 NFC East games. ... Defense has allowed only one offensive touchdown through two games.

Cowboys: RB Julius Jones said he does not know when in Sunday's victory against Cleveland he broke his shoulder, nor does he know when he will be able to return to the lineup. All he knows is he was not able to lift his arm in Sunday's game.

-- RB Richie Anderson (knee) and center Tyson Walter (knee) are expected to play against Washington on Monday, while right guard Andre Gurode (knee) and receiver Randall Williams (fractured shoulder) are questionable. Williams is back at practice for the first time since the fracturing his scapula in the preseason.

-- TE Jason Witten's cheek is badly swollen after getting hit in the mouth against the Browns. Witten said his cheekbone is not fractured, and he will play.

-- RB ReShard Lee has yet to earn the trust of Cowboys coach Bill Parcells as a third down back. However, he said "we're going to have to do it. Hopefully, it doesn't hurt us."

Redskins: The hamstring of QB Mark Brunell continued to improve but coach Joe Gibbs was guarded in his discussion of the plan for Monday. Gibbs said Patrick Ramsey took most of the practice snaps and refused to guess whether Brunell would be ready to play the Cowboys. Gibbs also didn't commit to making a decision on the starting quarterback in coming days.

-- LB Mike Barrow (knee) continues to work into practice and Gibbs held out some hope that the veteran would play against Dallas. However, Barrow has rallied several times in recent weeks only to be held out. Barrow's return probably would force Lemar Marshall to the bench and Antonio Pierce into the spot vacated by injured LB LaVar Arrington.

-- K John Hall is expected to play despite a pair of strained hamstrings. He practiced fully this week.

-- S Matt Bowen (shoulder) is expected to play against the Cowboys.

-- LB Antonio Pierce (ribs) is expected to play against the Cowboys.

--LT Chris Samuels (groin) is expected to play against the Cowboys.

Cowboys: Coach Bill Parcells called the NFL offices this week because he has noticed a trend. One in four passes is being thrown from outside of the pocket, and he wanted to make sure what he was telling his players -- that the receivers were fair game -- was right.

It was.

When the passer is out of the pocket, the rules change. Defenders may hit the receivers and cut them.

It's a point of emphasis for Parcells because of the plethora of scrambling quarterbacks in the league. The Cowboys have already faced Daunte Culpepper of the Vikings and Jeff Garcia of the Browns. They have future games against Donovan McNabb of the Eagles, Aaron Brooks of the Saints and Mark Brunell of the Redskins, although pocket passer Patrick Ramsey is expected to start Monday against the Cowboys in place of the injured Brunell.

"That play where (cornerback Terence) Newman got beat the other day, where the quarterback dropped back and rolled out and the guy ran an out cut, if Newman had chopped him that's not a penalty," Parcells said. "That's what the conversation was about."

During the conversation, Parcells said the league also told him the holding penalties on left guard Larry Allen and left tackle Flozell Adams were incorrect.

Redskins: Already down a starting defensive end, the Redskins now have lost their most visible defensive player.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington underwent arthroscopic surgery Thursday to repair torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. The setback is expected to sideline him for 2-4 weeks, the same amount of time right end Phillip Daniels is expected to miss with a torn groin discovered Tuesday.

The absences will hurt Washington heading into Monday night's big game against the Cowboys.

"We've got some guys out, and we're going to have to have some other people step in and play great," coach Joe Gibbs said. "That's the way to look at it. It's some other guys' opportunity to play. Now is the time. We need somebody to step up and play great for us."

Filling in for Arrington is expected to be Lemar Marshall, a promising young player who carved a role on special teams and in certain defensive packages in recent years. Marshall, like Daniels' replacement, Ron Warner, will be making his first NFL start.

The fact that Marshall already plays in some elements of Gregg Williams' scheme, along with the fact that he practiced last week as though Arrington would be sidelined, should aid Monday's transition.

"It's just an opportunity," Marshall said. "We thought it was going to happen last week, but it didn't. I was ready if he was going to go down last week, but he was able to finish the whole game. Now I'm just going to have to step up and try to get the job done."

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