FRISCO, Texas – Having watched the tape, a quick look at the two matchups I think matter the most in this matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick vs. Cleveland Browns WR Terrelle Pryor
With the injury to Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick will make the start at left cornerback. It's been a difficult start to the season for Scandrick, who was dealing with his own set of health issues but appears to be healthy now after a fine outing last week against Philadelphia.
Scandrick was limited to slot duty during his first game back, but he made those snaps count in coverage and as a blitzer. Scandrick is no stranger to having deal with receivers that have size, which is what he will be going up against with Terrelle Pryor -- who has become a go-to guy for the Browns. Pryor doesn't have much overall experience as a receiver, but on tape, he appears to be natural for the position. Last week against the New York Jets, he was targeted 13 times and came up with six receptions.
The reason I mention this game is because he could have added three more catches to that total, but he just misplayed the ball. I have a feeling that we just won't see that happen this week. Scandrick has the overall speed and quickness to stay with Pryor, but he has to be careful not to get bullied by him during these routes.
Dallas Cowboys C Travis Frederick vs. Cleveland Browns NT Danny Shelton
There is no secret about how the Cowboys want this matchup to play out on the offensive side of the ball. They want to control the game on the ground against one of the worse run defense in the league. Only the San Francisco 49ers allow more rushing yards than the Browns, and with the Cowboys averaging near five yards a carry, the Browns appear to be in trouble.
If they are going to slow down this Cowboys ground game, it's going to have to start in the middle of their defense with Danny Shelton. At 339 pounds, Shelton is a load to deal with. There was once a time where Frederick had trouble with these large nose tackles across the league when they played him head up. He just didn't have the upper body strength and technique to handle how they attacked him.
Since his rookie season, he has done a much better job in both of those areas. The way Dallas likes to run the ball is to cut it behind the center and guard, so securing Shelton inside will be necessary. If Frederick struggles with Shelton, it won't take long to notice. If you see the backs having success in the middle of that Browns defensive line, you will know exactly why.