From Sunday night to Thursday afternoon, the Redskins have a quick turnaround before facing the Cowboys, but head coach Jay Gruden knows his players will be ready to play.
Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden wanted his player to enjoy their hard fought victory over the Green Bay Packers, but he also had the Dallas Cowboys in the back of his mind.
"We have a game in about 75 hours against the Dallas Cowboys, who's 9-1," Gruden told his players during his victory speech in the early hours of Monday. "Put that in your bag when you go to bed tonight. Think about that. So enjoy this victory for about an hour, get some rest. You've got off all day tomorrow, right, and then we've got to start grinding on the Cowboys."
Indeed, the Redskins have one of the quickest turnarounds between two games that any team can face. Not only did Washington conclude their victory over the Green Bay Packers very late Sunday night – shortening their recovery time for the week ahead to begin with – they now have to travel to Dallas Wednesday night to take on the Cowboys Thursday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
It means more time in the cold and hot tub, more time in the training room and more time spent in meetings to cram what is normally six full days of preparation into just three.
"We've got a short amount of time to get ready," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "So do the Cowboys. It's simple. We've just got to be on our preparation, be asking questions, making sure we're all on the same page and maximize the reps that we do get here today and tomorrow before we fly out there."
It would have been easy for the team to ride out the high of blowing out the Packers on primetime television.
Linebacker Will Compton insists that the big victory shouldn't change how they approach this game. Dallas holds a firm lead in the NFC East right now with their 9-1 record and have an additional leg up on Washington after they defeated the Redskins in Week 2.
If the Cowboys were to beat the Redskins once again, it would create a sizable record difference (10-1 to 6-4-1) with just five games remaining. A win, however, would close the gap.
"We're just excited for the game," linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "Yeah, it's a tough turnaround, but Dallas obviously isn't a short flight for us either. It's tough, but it'll make it all the worth it if we get the win."
One beneficial factor for the Redskins is their familiarity with the opponent. This isn't an AFC foe they're facing or an NFC team from another division they see every few seasons.
This is the Cowboys and they've already seen the potent one-two punch of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.
"Dak and Zeke, they've done a great job," Gruden said. "You know, Zeke is a powerful runner. He's been bottled up from time-to-time in first quarter, but as the game goes on, that offensive line can wear you down and he gets chunks of yardage. And Dak has just done a great job. He's just been very poised under pressure. He doesn't make many mistakes, if any, and he gets the ball to the right people. So they've both been very impressive for young football players and they're getting better as the season's going on, as their nine-game winning streak proves it."
Gruden added that the Redskins may try to throw some different looks at Prescott this time.
In September's game, Prescott – who was making only his second NFL start – Prescott completed 22-of-30 passes for 292 yards along with a six-yard touchdown carry.
Still, the Cowboys – like the Redskins – have a lot of weapons they can go to throughout games.
"You put too many guys in the box, you've got Dez Bryant and they've got good receivers that can hurt you," Gruden said. "Cole Beasley's doing a great job. So they can hurt you a couple of different ways so it's just a matter of A) we have to stop the run, we have to do a much better job against the run, and then B) when we get them in third down, they did a great job of converting their third downs last time we played them, if I recall, and hurt us in that regard. We've got to do a better job on third down. Tighter coverage."
With a lot riding on the game, Gruden is confident that the team will be ready to fight and take down Dallas' nine-game winning streak.
"I think the guys feel pretty good," Gruden said. "They're a little beat up now and they'll be a little bit sore now and grumpy tomorrow, but I think come Thursday they'll be ready to roll."