FRISCO, Texas – We’re back to my weekly matchups.
Here’s a look at two big matchups I think will go a long way in determining the winner of Sunday’s season opener against the Giants.
Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence vs. New York Giants OT Mike Remmers
The Giants have struggled for years with their offensive line. Poor drafts and backups who couldn’t play have plagued their development. In particular, the right tackle position has been a source of problems.
Ereck Flowers, Chad Wheeler and Bobby Hart have come and gone over the years. This season the Giants turn to veteran Mike Remmers, who was with general manager Dave Gettleman in Carolina. From the early reviews, look for him to provide some stability to the group. His technique is not all over the place and you don’t see those huge breakdowns which we came to expect from the previous guys that lined up at those spots.
If Lawrence is going to defeat Remmers, he’s going to have to use his wide variety of pass rush moves. There was a time where he could defeat Flowers, Wheeler and Hart with one or two moves due to how poorly they played. Remmers will not allow that to happen and Lawrence knows this.
Where Remmers has had success is when rushers attempt to take him down the middle. He’s a powerful man and if he catches the rusher just right, he can stop their momentum, thus killing the rush. Lawrence is a powerful guy as well, but he’s going to need to work to set him up both inside and out.
Lawrence will need to keep Remmers guessing and on the move. That’s his best chance to break him down during the game.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper vs. New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins
The Giants are going to start rookie corner Deandre Baker opposite Janoris Jenkins, so you might think that would be a better matchup for the Cowboys. Baker has played in some big games during his career at Georgia, but he clearly lacks NFL experience other than preseason games.
With that being said, I like the matchup of Cooper against Jenkins for the simple reason that I believe Cooper as a route runner will give Jenkins problems. Jenkins tends to guess on routes. He will gamble on what he thinks he sees and that gamble will put him in a poor position. Cooper can initially show him one move and then completely change it to go another direction. I have seen him keep his upper body straight in the route, but then slightly open his hips in another direction and then explode off his inside foot.
The ability to not give the defensive back a clean read is what makes Cooper an effective route runner. Look for Cooper to toy with Jenkins in this game. Quick outs and slants would be a great example of this. Get Jenkins to believe there is a pattern here, then break one off deep.
The only thing that could possibly hold Cooper back is his game conditioning. Fans don’t realize how much running these receivers do during a game, even without the ball. How well he is able to handle this will be the key.