Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware vs. Packers OT David Bakhtiari
Revisited:Going into this game against the Packers, I honestly believed that DeMarcus Ware would have one of those games where he was able to just dominate this rookie tackle at AT&T Stadium but that wasn't the case at all. In the game, Ware rushed from both sides and took a snap or two against Don Barclay who I thought was the most suspect of the Packers offensive linemen. Both really bothered me about Ware in this game, is that when he was matched up against David Bakhtiari, he was singled blocked the majority of the snaps. There were times where he would get a chip block from Andrew Quarless and John Kuhn before they would head out in the route
The Packers did a nice job of inviting Ware up the field and working inside of him in the running game or would just work away from him. Bakhtiari was able to hold his own with his technique which was aided in the 2nd half by Matt Flynn making some simple easy throws out of the gun. Ware did get the corner one time and was just a tick late, trying to swat the ball out of Flynn's hand. In this game, Ware looked much better with his first step but give the rookie a great deal of credit, he was able to maintain his position several times during those rushes.
Friday's Take: This is one of those matchups that the Cowboys are going to have to win along the front seven in this game. Bakhtiari is having a solid rookie year and in the games I was able to study, was asked to single block a great deal of the time. You can tell that by the way the Packers run their offense, they have a great deal of confidence in his ability. This time last season, DeMarcus Ware attempted to put this defense on his back and try to carry it into the playoffs. If the Cowboys are going to accomplish this goal, it's going to have to be on the strength of Ware and how he can affect the outcomes of games. Bakhtiari is not the strongest tackle that Ware has faced nor would I call him an outstanding athlete but there is that part of his game where he manages to keep himself between the rusher and the quarterback or ball carrier. There will moments in this game on Sunday, where Ware will be able to get him off balance with his rush and that will cause the rookie some problems. The key will be that first step and if he can get it, then we should see from pressure from him which is exactly what this defense needs.
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Packers CB Tramon Williams
Revisited: I knew that this was going to be a battle all day and even though Bryant also took some snaps against the Sam Shields, Tramon Williams was in the mix against Bryant. Where Bryant was most productive was when he took Williams across the field in man coverage. You could tell by his alignment, that Williams respected the play making ability of Bryant. Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan were able to shake Bryant loose on a "9" route while Williams was in zone coverage and Bryant just ran through it on the outside. Bryant was open and if the ball was thrown in the proper spot, he has a touchdown but Romo overthrew him on the play.
Garrett and Callahan also did a smart thing scheme wise and put Bryant in the slot and away from Williams which also allowed him to run some routes with free access because [embedded_ad] Williams did not go with him and Dom Capers elected to keep him on the outside and play with Micah Hyde inside. I was surprised of the confidence the Packers coaches showed in Shields on Bryant, who had some plays on him that should have resulted in large gains or scores. Dez Bryant had an outstanding day but there was opportunities that were missed that could have totally put this game away.
Friday's Take: This one has the makings of an all-day battle. In my study, Williams is the Packers best cornerback. He is aggressive and he is not afraid to get right on top of the receiver and bang him around. Bryant will be physical in his own right and will look to take advantage of Williams' aggressiveness. Bryant has done a much better job in these types of matchups of using more than just his brute strength to battle an opponent. He has done a much better job with his route and by that I mean, selling his routes to buy him the separation that he needs to get open. As much man coverage the Packers play in their scheme, look for Garrett and Callahan to use some routes that we have seen from teams like the Broncos where you rub or pick defenders in order to get receivers into space. The outstanding thing about having Miles Austin back in the lineup or Jason Witten is that you can drive them on routes and it gets Bryant up the field. The more I watch these Packers corners, I really believe this is the plan of attack to try and make some plays down the field which is right in the wheel house of what they need to see from Dez Bryant against Tramon Williams.