Matchups Revisited: Jenkins Battled Tough Against Dez


Football analyst Bryan Broaddus revisits his matchups from earlier this week, which included Dez Bryant against former Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Raiders CB Mike Jenkins

You have to give Mike Jenkins a great deal of credit in the way he was able to matchup with Dez Bryant in this game. There was no question it was going to be a battle with neither player giving an inch. Bryant fought hard for space and Jenkins was there to provide the issues. Where Jenkins made it tough on

Bryant was he was able to battle his power when he comes to getting off the line. The fact that Jenkins had faced him before as teammates, I felt like helped him here. One of Jenkins' best traits is his quickness and even when you knock him around a bit, he can recover and that was the way he was able to defend some passes not only to Bryant but the crossing route to Austin as well. Bryant did get Jenkins in the red zone on his touchdown reception that tied the game in the 3rd quarter. This is where Bryant has shined all season and despite being in decent position, have to fight Bryant, in the air, in a short area, is difficult to win that battle. Where the Cowboys coaches got smart later in the game was moving Bryant away from Jenkins and that freed him up for some chances.

Cowboys Defensive Front Seven vs. Raiders RB Rashad Jennings

As impressed with the job that the offensive line was able to do in this game running the ball, how this Cowboys defensive front seven, was the difference in the game. Where I worried about this group was how would they get off blocks and fill in the running game. The Raiders the last several weeks had been outstanding running the ball and with a rookie quarterback in the mix, I thought they would want to make this an ugly game and just slam the ball at this front, but DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Bruce Carter would have none of that. There were several snaps where Monte Kiffin went with a eight and even nine man box to try and help his defense to stop this Raiders running game but for the most part, his base front was getting the job done. On tape, the issues that this front had using their hands and getting off blocks, was taken care of. There were square fits by Carter, Sims and Wilber, behind them. I especially liked what I saw from Wilber in the way that he was taking on blocks with the correct shoulder, shedding his man and getting in on the play. There were not the gaps and creases that we observed in the Saints and Giants games. This defensive line was playing on the Raiders side of the ball and when it came time to get bodies to the ball, they were there. Great overall effort against an offense in the Raiders that came into the league as one of the top five rushing teams but with only 50 yards total for the game.

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Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Raiders CB Mike Jenkins

This will be one of those battles where both players know each other after having been teammates before. Bryant is coming off a game against the Giants where he saw an effort by Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan to get him the ball more. Bryant likes these types of matchups where he can fight an opponent all day and Jenkins will not back down. Jenkins as we all know is a press man corner that is most comfortable when he can line up tight to his man, use his hands to stab, then move in the route. As physical as Bryant is, he is still working on having to fight press coverage but each week, he is getting better at it. As important as size is here, experience is just as big of a factor. Where Tony Romo has to be careful in this game when attacking Jenkins, is there are times where he will bait you into a throw. I have seen some games this season where he stands completely still waiting for the quarterback to open his way, then drive hard on the ball to defend it. Where the Cowboys will take some shots against Jenkins is on some double moves to try and take advantage of his [embedded_ad]

aggressiveness. I also expect Garrett and Callahan to use Bryant like they did last week in the Giants game with the "In" making Jenkins to have to chase the route to buy separation.

Cowboys Defensive Front Seven vs. Raiders RB Rashad Jennings

This is a matchup, that Monte Kiffin cannot allow to get out of control. If it means walking Barry Church down in the box for the eighth guy, then he has to do that. I honestly believe that the Raiders want to run the ball and after watching the Cowboys play run defense against the Saints and Giants, on a short week, it would be real easy for them to just saddle Rashad Jennings up and hammer him at this front. The Raiders offensive line doesn't have the big named stars that we have seen from other teams and I feel like they are better than what they faced from the Giants. Kiffin and his group are going to see plenty of movement upfront, they are going to see fullbacks, tight ends and pulling linemen in order to get Jennings going. They also are going to need to be aware of Terrelle Pryor coming into the game for some read option snaps and maybe even a "Wildcat" from Marcel Reece who normally lines up as the fullback in this offense. If the Cowboys allow the Raiders to dictate the attack and struggle to get off blocks, it is going to be a long day. The Cowboys did do a much better job of handling the run against the Giants when they got down in the red zone but they are going to need that type of play from the opening snap in attempting to play against this physical back.

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