Cowboys OT Tyron Smith vs. Rams DE Robert Quinn
Rams defensive coordinator Tim Walton likes to use four man pressure and he has two defensive ends that can accomplish just that in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Long has some special traits, but Quinn is the one that gets my attention.
Where Quinn causes the most problems is his ability to explode up the field. His first step gets him on the blocker right now. There is no wasted motion when he rushes. He is always trying to counter the tackle with pass rush moves. Quinn can dip his shoulder, run low and get around the tackle, no problem. He can play on the edge or counter by setting up the tackle to the outside then exploding to the inside.
Where I was really impressed with Quinn's game was how quickly he was able to read what the blocker was trying to do to him then adjust. Against the Falcons left tackle, Sam Baker he read that Baker was setting him soft, so Quinn just drove his head in his chest and threw him aside to get a pressure on Matt Ryan. Smith is going to have to be ready for a variety of pass rush but where he will have an advantage is in the running game. Smith's athletic ability and power will help him here to match the quickness of Quinn. Smith cannot allow Quinn to be a factor like he was in the Rams win over the Cardinals in sacking Carson Palmer twice.
Cowboys Safeties vs. Rams TE Jared Cook
After watching Jared Cook play in these first two games for the Rams, this is a matchup that Monte Kiffin and his defense cannot lose. Cook is a weapon down the field in every sense of the word and how the Cowboys play him on Sunday could be a deciding factor in whether they win or lose.
For such a large man, he has incredible ball skills with athletic movement. He plays like these new era tight ends that line up all over the place and function well no matter what role he has to take on. I have seen him play as a true inline "Y", in a flexed position and even in a bunch formation with two other wide receivers. [embedded_ad]
Where Kiffin has to make a choice because of his size, does he play him with a larger safety such as Barry Church or rookie J.J. Wilcox to handle his size? Or does he go with the lighter Will Allen who might not be as physical but has the cover skills? My gut feeling tells me that he will most likely go with the larger safety to handle that matchup. Church has had opportunities to play in these types of situations but this will be new to Wilcox but let's remember that all through training camp, he has had to work against a group of teammates that have the ability to get down the field and make plays. Big job ahead regardless who has coverage.