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Season's 'Biggest Stage' Awaits Redskins


It's Monday Night Football, prime time, under the lights, Redskins-Cowboys, the whole football-loving nation watching.

The Redskins have been somewhat under the radar all preseason and through the club's 2-0 start.

Not anymore.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall sees Monday night's game vs. Dallas as a big opportunity for the Redskins to not only beat a division rival, but also put the Redskins on the map among the NFL's upper-tier teams.

"This is the biggest stage right now," Hall said. "I'm definitely hyped, I feel like the rest of my teammates are hyped. If you can't get up for this game right here, something is wrong with you. It's right there on the table for us to be 3-0."

Head coach Mike Shanahan said he would try to keep the rivalry in perspective and instead focus on the importance of winning division games, especially on the road.

He can't deny that the Redskins-Cowboys game is always a big one on the schedule, though.

"If you can't get up for games like this, then you shouldn't be in this profession," Shanahan said, echoing Hall. "From a coaching standpoint or a player's perspective, Monday night, especially in Dallas – it's just a great venue. This, to me, is why you're in this game."

Anthony Armstrong is one of four Redskins who hail from the Dallas suburbs so he is especially excited for Monday night. He understands the rivalry from both sides.

"There's a lot of intensity that goes with it," Armstrong said. "The D.C. area definitely has a lot of pride in beating Dallas. Hopefully we can go and do that for them on Monday night."

Redskins players also feel like they have something to prove on a national stage.

The Redskins' last performance on Monday Night Football was a lopsided 59-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Nov. 15 at FedExField.

"A lot of people have written us off, but we're 2-0 right now, heading to play a real good Dallas team," Hall said.

The Cowboys lead the all-time series 60-40-2, but the Redskins have had some of the more notable wins in recent years.

In 2005, Santana Moss's two touchdown grabs led a fourth quarter comeback on Monday Night Football. The following year, Sean Taylor's return of a blocked field goal sparked another comeback. In 2007, the Redskins clinched a playoff berth with a 27-6 demolition of the Cowboys at FedExField.

Last year, the Redskins won a nationally televised, season-opening Sunday night game 13-7, thanks to Hall's 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown. A last second Cowboys touchdown was erased by a holding call in Brian Orakpo.

The Redskins lost the second game 33-30 on Dec. 19 at Cowboys Stadium. The team launched a furious second-half comeback behind Rex Grossman's four touchdown passes, but fell short.

Hall feels the intensity of the rivalry like few others in the locker room. He stoked the flames last week.

"I grew up in Virginia, so I don't like these guys, there's no secret about that," the native of Chesapeake, Va., said.

Rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is new to the rivalry, but he has quickly learned of its importance since joining the Redskins as a first-round draft pick.

On more than one occasion, Kerrigan has come across fans who point to the Dallas games as the most important on the schedule.

"I've seen this rivalry over the years and I'm glad to be a part of it now," Kerrigan said. "What better stage is there than Monday Night Football? I'm really excited. It's going to be a great stage and an electric atmosphere."

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