The Inside Slant

Redskins guard Tre Johnson understands the meaning of this rivalry--he also knows what it's like to beat Dallas, even if it last happened a long time ago. And he knows how it compares to other rivalries, such as Cleveland-Pittsburgh.

Johnson is trying to find a rhythm with his linemates and hopes to find it soon. He also revealed what position he wishes he could play. You'll never guess.

''Sometimes we build this game up to be more than what it's going to be, that it's more than just one game. That's when we have problems.

''We have found ways to lose this game rather than finding ways to win. If we go down there and keep our heads and play a good game and play up to our potential, then no one can beat us. I don't care who it is. It could be the All-Madden team.

''But it seems like every time we've played them in the past we're always in some state of flux. It's always at some time of the year when we're going through something and we're not together enough at that time. The game just happened to be against them and we let one go, like we let one go at Jacksonville and New York. Those types of games usually happen in Dallas week. We have to make sure it doesn't happen this week.

''It'll feel like a rivalry once we go down to Texas. It's a different type of intensity when these teams get together. I remember in 1995 we didn't have a winning record, but they went to the Super Bowl and we swept them and I promise you everyone was congratulating us through the whole offseason because we beat Dallas.

''It would be nice to win for [owner Dan Snyder]. I want to win no matter what. But he'd like to bring that to the next owners meeting. I definitely want to help him out and let him walk with his chest out a little more.

''When I played for Cleveland, they were real pissed off about Baltimore, because they used to be the Browns. But Cleveland and Pittsburgh, those two cities just don't like each other. I've been to Dallas and it's a nice city to hang out in. It's clean, pretty. And D.C. is one of the top three greatest cities in the country if not the world. The teams just hate each other. Cleveland and Pittsburgh, they just don't like each other as people. They'd fight without the uniforms on. It's a different kind of intensity.

''Being on national TV  is always important. Embarrassment can be just as good a motivator as money. You'd give a paycheck up not to be made a fool of on national TV.

''I've got my rhythm back, but I don't have any real rhythm with the line yet. But I feel good about playing ball. I felt good on the shovel pass the other day when I hit [safety Adam] Archuleta. They put the safety in the hole and that was easy pickings. The more opportunities I get the more fluid I can be.

''I was a Giants fan growing up, but the first game I ever saw was a Raiders-Vikings game and Jack Tatum knocked someone out. I wanted to be a strong safety and wear 32. Tatum was my all-time favorite player. I would still love to be a strong safety; I think I am. I'm just miscast, gravitationally challenged and persecuted against. It is what it is.''

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