LANDOVER, Md. – By the time Josh Norman was the last player to clear out of the locker room early Monday morning, 1 a.m. was fast approaching.
The Washington Redskins' looming Thanksgiving matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, a pivotal game in the NFC East and playoff picture, was already on the cornerback's mind.
Ah, the pitfalls of NFL scheduling.
“Oh, boy, this is going to be a quick turnaround,” Norman told reporters when reminded about the short week.
Late in the fourth quarter of the Washington’s 42-24 thrashing of the Green Bay Packers Sunday night, thousands of fans who remained to brave the chilly wind at FedEx Field joined in unison to chant, "We want Dallas!"
They’ll get their wish, as much as Washington’s players wish they’d have more time in between -- especially since they played a Sunday night game and the Cowboys were home for an early afternoon game on Sunday.
"I don't think it's really fair, no," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said on a conference call on Monday. "But we have to deal with it."
Quarterback Kirk Cousins already had a plan.
"Well, I need to sleep once I get done talking to you guys – and have about an hour-and-a-half drive home,” Cousins said in his postgame news conference. “But once I get home and get to bed, I’ll try to get some rest. Then, I’ll get in my hyperbaric and get in the film room watching this film to learn from it and watch the Cowboys film and be with the coaches tomorrow night to get the game plan and just go from there.
“It will be a full today tomorrow even though it’s an off day. Just trying to fill up with recovery and see my chiropractor, so lots to do."
This is the nature of the NFL’s Thursday slate of games.
Washington carved apart the Packers as Cousins and the offense avenged last year’s playoff loss. It was a festive locker room, to be sure, but several of Washington’s players were clearly looking ahead.
“I mean, it’s huge,” receiver Jamison Crowder said. “Anytime you can win, it’s always a plus. But we know that we still got bigger fish to fry so winning right now is crucial. You know, we have to keep winning, so it’s big to get this one. Now we’re looking forward to Dallas.”
The Cowboys (9-1) have won nine straight and are in the driver's seat for the division.
But Washington (6-3-1) has plenty to play for. The team is very much alive for in the postseason race, currently holding on to the sixth and final playoff berth in the conference.
The Cowboys are fresh off their 10-point victory against the Baltimore Ravens that came from the comforts of their home stadium.
“That’s a pretty good team and (we’ll) try and go in there with everything that we have,” running back Robert Kelley said. “Go in there and try and get that win going. It’s going to be hard. That’s a pretty good team, but that’s our plan.”