Sunday's matchup between the Redskins and Cowboys already has plenty of subplots, but you can add another to the mix: the weather. It's expected to be cold and blustery at FedExField, with a high of 39 degrees. By game time at 4:15 p.m. ET, the temperature should be dropping.
On Thursday, the Redskins moved up practice to early afternoon as snow fell at the team's training facility in Ashburn, Va. Icy conditions were expected later in the day.
At the start of practice, players had a little fun tossing a few snowballs at each other. Once warm-ups began, they were all business. It's Dallas Week, after all.
Coaches and players are preparing for a cold-weather game and what that means in terms of game-planning and strategy.
"It's tough to practice in the cold, but in the game it could benefit us," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "They might not be able to throw as well or hold on to the ball as well."
Added assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams: "From a defensive perspective and a running team's perspective, cold weather is what you like at this time of year. You put your pads on and tell everybody, 'Bring it on.' That's what our guys like to do. We'll have to wait and see--hopefully the weather will cooperate."
Williams discounted the notion that the cold weather would be a significant advantage over Dallas.
"I don't know if there is any edge, because those guys have played in a lot of different environments this year," Williams said. "Their players come from all walks of life and all different areas of the country. Drew Bledsoe has played in New England and Buffalo. He's played a lot of cold weather games.
"For both teams, it's the same weather. It's about execution. You've got to go in and play."
-- ARRINGTON SITS OUT PRACTICE
Linebacker LaVar Arrington did not practice on Thursday, but he remains probable on the team's injury report.
Arrington has been slowed by a thigh injury that forced him to miss last Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. Warrick Holdman started in Arrington's place in that game.
Cornerbacks Shawn Springs (groin), Walt Harris (calf) and Carlos Rogers (biceps) missed practice again on Thursday. They remain listed as probable for Sunday's game.
Asked his level of concern about the injury situation at cornerback, Gregg Williams replied: "I don't worry about it. I know we'll trot out 11 guys and we'll be ready to play."
Third-year cornerback Ade Jimoh could see extended playing time if Springs, Harris or Rogers are unable to play. The team also could elevate rookie cornerback Dimitri Patterson from the practice squad.
Meantime, left tackle Chris Samuels returned to practice on Thursday. He has a knee injury and is listed as probable for the Cowboys game.
-- WATCH OUT FOR TRICK PLAYS
Twice in the last three Redskins-Cowboys games, Bill Parcells has pulled a bit of trickery out of his playbook.
In the 2004 Week 3 game on Monday Night Football, Parcells used a halfback option to score what proved to be the game-winning points. Running back Richie Anderson threw a 26-yard touchdown to wide receiver Terry Glenn to help the Cowboys win 21-18.
In Week 2 earlier season, also on Monday Night Football, Parcells turned to the flea flicker, as quarterback Drew Bledsoe connected with Glenn for a 70-yard touchdown.
Redskins coaches are well aware of Parcells' penchant for trick plays, especially in big games.
Said Gregg Williams: "You know, you always worry about that. If you check out the nature of Bill Parcells, he always pulls out the trick plays in big games. I've been on our guys pretty hard about it. They're good set-up plays and we've been hit with two of them. We need to do a better job of that as a defense. Those plays have been significant plays for them in close ballgames."
-- DECEMBER RUN
Head coach Joe Gibbs now has a 37-14 record in December games, including postseason. Asked about the reason for his success in December, Gibbs credited the players he's had over the years.
"If you have something to play for, it helps," he said. "It really does. We've been fortunate to have good football teams over the years and that makes it a lot easier in preparation."
-- SIMMONS VISIT
Redskins great Ed Simmons stopped by Redskins Park on Thursday and visited with coaches and trainers. Simmons, an offensive lineman from 1987-97, was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins in 2002.