IRVING, Texas– The second start of Jermey Parnell's season promises to be a little tougher than his first. With Doug Free once again out, it looks likely to be Parnell who must cope with Washington pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan, who has 6.5 sacks on the season.
That and a tough matchup for Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr are the two matchups I'm most concerned about for this Monday night tilt with the Redskins.
Cowboys Jermey Parnell OT against Redskins Ryan Kerrigan OLB
Parnell will be making another start for the injured Doug Free on Monday night. Parnell was solid last week in his performance against the Giants, both as a run and pass blocker. It took him a series or two to really lock in, but once he did he was assignment and technique sound.
Against the Redskins he will draw the difficult assignment of Ryan Kerrigan, who over the years has developed into a fine two-way player. He originally came into the league out of Purdue as a true defensive end, but he was switched to outside linebacker in this 3-4 scheme used by Jim Hasslett.
Where Parnell has to be careful in this matchup with Kerrigan is taking plays off or playing with lazy technique. If Parnell does not finish blocks, Kerrigan will find a way to make the play. His motor and effort are relentless and to beat him, Parnell must match that intensity. What Parnell must prepare for in Kerrigan, technique-wise, is a player that can play at all different angles.
Kerrigan is just not going to pound Parnell up the field all night. He is going to give him a variety of countermoves and rarely the same ones. Where Parnell has struggled in the past is playing well for several snaps in a row then having those one or two where he loses concentration and it results in a negative situation. Kerrigan will test him the entire game.
Cowboys Brandon Carr CB against Redskins Pierre Garcon WR
When studying the Redskins on offense, there are several players that concern me in the potential problems they can cause this Cowboys defense. DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris all come to mind, but the one that is at the top of my list is Pierre Garcon.
I have always had a great deal of respect, even going back to his days with the Indianapolis Colts, for Garcon and the way that he carries himself on the field. With him there is that sense of explosive power, much like you see from Dez Bryant. He is a difficult matchup for any corner due to the fearless nature in which he plays the game.
There is nowhere he won't go on the field to catch the ball. My concern in this matchup with Carr is that exact reason. The Redskins like to carry their receivers across the field, allowing their quarterbacks to hit them on the move looking for a run and catch. Where Carr tends to struggle the most is when he has to deal with a receiver that plays this way -- especially in man coverage.
What the Redskins also like to do with Garcon is throw the ball to him quickly and allow him to run through tacklers. This also causes problems for a defense if the corners are not willing to come forward and make a tackle. We have seen Orlando Scandrick make plays this way by forcing the issue. Garcon was able to get the best of Carr in their last meeting in 2013, but Carr was struggling with an illness so this time around he should be at full strength and ready for the challenge. This defense needs him to be ready.