Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys, 'Skins Renew Hot Rivalry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys, 'Skins Renew Hot Rivalry

Article excerpt

Gone is Joe Gibbs. Missing is Emmitt Smith. Out is Jim Lachey. Healing is Troy Aikman.

Yet, despite all the uncertainty surrounding this National Football League opener tonight, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins approach the game for exactly what it is: another chapter in the league's most intense rivalry.

Some marquee names may be missing, but this series has seen plenty of people come and go over the years without losing its ferocity. It's no surprise these teams are the last two Super Bowl champions.

"This rivalry is excellent for the NFL, for the people who own the teams, for the people who love sports and for the people who don't like to see one team dominate," said Washington cornerback Darrell Green. "But I'd like to see the Redskins win every game."

Said Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, "Of all the games we play, our guys look forward to playing the Redskins because of the rivalry and the electricity at RFK."

This game (No. 65 in a series the Cowboys lead 36-26-2) will mark the head coaching debut of 15-year Redskins defensive assistant Richie Petitbon, who was promoted last winter when Gibbs retired after 12 seasons and three Super Bowl championships.

Petitbon has added diversity to Gibbs' one-back offense but will be without All-Pro left tackle Lachey, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.

Mo Elewonibi, with virtually no experience after three injury-filled seasons, now is responsible for protecting quarterback Mark Rypien's blind side.

If Elewonibi can do his job, which will include stopping pass-rusher Charles Haley, Rypien appears ready to return to the level of play he reached two years ago while leading the Redskins to the Super Bowl title.

Rypien was sharp throughout the preseason, adjusting well to a receiving corps that lost Gary Clark to free agency and added Tim McGee the same way. …

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