This matchup is going to come on a couple of different levels. Royal will line up on the outside as a normal receiver but he will also come out of the slot when the Chargers go with their “11” personnel. Royal is a dynamic player that can present problems due to his physical traits. On tape, he is an outstanding route runner. He has a real feel for how to get cornerbacks off balance. There is intelligence in his game. Knows how to attack the defender. Will go anywhere to catch a ball. Shows a burst with the ball in his hands. Type of receiver that keeps coming after you down-after-down. Makes it difficult for defenders to get a read on him. Hands are sure and dependable. Orlando Scandrick will give Royal all he can handle in this matchup as well. Scandrick can counter with his own quickness and movement skills. He can be a difficult defender to shake and he is playing with a physical edge that is making his overall game more complete. Scandrick is playing at a very high level and in my view the best of the Cowboys cornerbacks at this point in time. If anyone on this defense can have success against Eddie Royal for an entire game and not allow him to make those clutch plays that he has for the Chargers this season, Orlando Scandrick is Monte Kiffin’s best option.
Brian Waters will be making his first start in a Dallas Cowboys uniform. For the Chargers, Manti Te’o will be making his first NFL start after missing the first three games with a foot injury. Waters has been making steady progress to reach this point after a 18 month layoff from professional football. Waters looked much more comfortable against the Rams than he did the previous week against the Chiefs. His ability to pass block does not appear to have left him. He can sit down on rushers, no problem. On tape, where he has had his issues has been on second level blocks and getting to them. There have been plays where he was a tick slow or late securing those blocks, again he was much better against the Rams in this area. The last time we saw Manti Te’o playing in a regular season game, he and his teammates where struggling to stop Eddie Lacy and the Crimson Tide. Coming out of college, I did like his movement along with his skill to read and react. When he does get in trouble, it’s when he allows blockers to get up on him. Where Waters can give Te’o fits, is how he sustains blocks. One of Waters’ strengths is that when he gets a hold of you, you are block. Te’o likes to play on the move, it will be Waters’ job to keep him from those range plays.