Perhaps no other Redskins played needed the bye weekend more than defensive tackle Joe Salave'a.
Salave'a suffered a left calf injury in the Redskins' Week 2 game at Dallas, and he was forced to sit out the next two games. In Week 5 at New York, he suffered a right calf injury that sidelined him for another game.
The calf injuries have limited his effectiveness in getting off the ball and attacking the line of scrimmage, he said.
"It has been a frustrating five weeks, because I haven't been able to be on my toes," he said. "I've been flat-footed coming off the ball, and I didn't have as much power and strength. It changed my technique a little bit and took away from my aggressiveness."
With two weeks to rest, Salave'a expects to be at full health for this Sunday's game against Dallas at FedExField. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
"I finally feel somewhat refreshed," he said. "I've had to work my way back into it."
In four games this season, Salave'a has logged seven tackles. He is the Redskins' primary run-stuffer up front, and in his absence the Redskins have struggled in run defense.
With Salave'a and Cornelius Griffin both sidelined in Week 6 against Tennessee, the Redskins yielded 194 rushing yards to the Titans. The Redskins yielded another 110 yards against Indianapolis in Week 7.
Salave'a's services will be needed against Dallas. The Cowboys have the NFL's fifth-ranked ground game, averaging 140.6 yards per game. Dallas is led by Julius Jones, who is sixth in the NFL with 616 yards, and complemented by Marion Barber, who has 264 yards, six touchdowns and a 5.1 yards-per-carry average.
With Salave'a and Griffin both at practice this week, the Dallas game should be the first time both starting defensive tackles are in the lineup since the Week 5 game against the Giants.
Salave'a, who has 7.5 career sacks, will need his aggressiveness this Sunday because Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo has displayed mobility in and out of the pocket.
Romo, who replaced Drew Bledsoe after halftime of the Cowboys' Week 7 game against the Giants, has rushed eight times for 27 yards in six quarters of action.
"No doubt about it, [Romo] has good mobility," Salave'a said. "But it doesn't matter who is at quarterback. We have to get out there and maximize our opportunities in getting to the quarterback."