FRISCO, Texas – Having studied the tape, these are the two big matchups I'm looking at when the Bengals come to visit the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams against Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick
Terrance Williams has settled into a bit of a rhythm with Dak Prescott at quarterback. His touchdown catch against the 49ers was a well-executed route off a double move, so that was a promising sign.
Dre Kirkpatrick has been dealing with a hamstring problem and missed the Bengals' game against the Dolphins last week, but it appears he is good to go this week. He is a long and lean cornerback with good athletic ability. He's physically is not the biggest guy, as he has a small, slender frame. What is interesting about his build is that for a tall corner, he has short arms -- but it is impressive because he will defend his share of passes.
He is a fearless player when it comes to run support. This goes back to his days in college when he would fill off the edge. He will surprise you with his ability to deliver a blow, and he will play off blockers and tackle. He is a physical striker in jam coverage and plays good bump technique. He plays with his feet under him.
Kirkpatrick has good technique to get position on the receiver and keep it. He has the footwork and balance to succeed, and he will show the ability to run with a speed receiver. He knows how to get his hands on the receiver and reroute them.
With the way that the Bengals like to apply pressure to the quarterback, Terrance Williams is going to have to find a way to win quickly off the line against Dre Kirkpatrick for this offense to have success throwing the ball.
Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford against Cincinnati Bengals OT Cedric Ogbuehi
I have to admit that I was surprised to see Cedric Ogbuehi go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I didn't have the feeling that he was that type of player. While in college he played the majority of his snaps in a two-point stance, and you see this as well with the Bengals.
He is light on his feet to capture the corner. Tyrone Crawford has to be ready to deal with his reach. He can extend his arms to the point to make the rusher have to go wide on him. There will be times where he comes off the block when he gets top heavy. But when he keeps balanced, he does a much better job of staying with his man.
For a big man, he is effortless in the way he plays in movement -- outstanding as a position blocker. He will work his hands inside to control, and he gets better movement on the move than if he just comes off the ball one-on-one. I really don't know how strong he is, but he manages to stay in position while he blocks.
That said, Ogbuehi will catch more blocks than just trying to hammer the defender off the ball. He can get away from the line quickly. He needs better upper body strength in pass protection, and I believe this is where Crawford can take advantage of him. There are snaps where he has a hard time really sitting down on a rusher.
He really will try and finish blocks, but there are snaps where he just gets outworked. This plays right into the strength of Crawford and his relentless motor.