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Friday, October 28, 2011
Scout's Eye: Cowboys-Eagles matchups

By Bryan Broaddus


Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware vs. Eagles LT Jason Peters: Peters returns to the starting lineup this week after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.

He is a large man that will struggle at times to move. Peters can be a little slow-footed and will become overextended in his pass set. There are times where he will give up the corner and allow the rusher to get around him. The harder that the rusher gets to the shoulder, the harder it is for him to work in front of his man.

Ware is the type of player that gives Peters fits because he has a hard time adjusting to his rush. If Peters tries to overset and get wide, Ware can take him down inside. It is under this type of pressure that Peters will struggle because he will not be able to adjust quickly enough.

I believe that Ware will try to keep a wider rush path in this game, as will Anthony Spencer. Vick has made some of his bigger runs this season when the rush gets trapped inside, he reads the coverage and he takes the ball outside. Peters wants you to rush him down the middle so he can use his mass to stop the defender’s charge because he doesn’t have to move his feet.

Earlier this week, Ware was asked if it makes a difference rushing a left-handed quarterback. His response was, he thought it was good that Vick could see him coming on the rush. Against Peters this week, Vick might see Ware a bunch.

Cowboys RT Tyron Smith vs. Eagles DE Jason Babin: When the Cowboys drafted Smith with the ninth overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, this was the type of game that they had in mind.

The Eagles have two outstanding pass rushers in Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Cole will be rushing over left tackle Doug Free, while Smith will handle Babin.

When you study Babin, the first thing you notice is how quick he gets off the snap. It almost looks like he is in a track stance when he is coming off the ball. He is extremely quick up the field and plays with suddenness to his game. Smith is more than athletic enough to handle the speed of Babin, but there are also a great deal of pass rush moves that he has to deal with. Babin likes to spin, dip or just explode up the field.

One of his real strengths is to attack the outside shoulder of the tackle. If he can get to the corner, he can get around you. Like most good pass rusher, Babin doesn’t give you much of a hitting surface to deal with. The most important thing for Smith to do in this game is get his hands on Babin as quickly as possible and not allow him to get up the field. Smith needs to find a way to make Babin restart his rush and don’t let his build momentum to the quarterback.

Smith also has to be careful of the way that Babin lines up very wide. One of the problems that Smith has had this season was the inside rush but its more with a guy that has strength. Babin doesn’t have that type of strength but he can rush inside. If the Cowboys are going to move the ball offensively, Smith will need to find a way to not allow Babin to become a factor in the game.

Cowboys ILB Sean Lee vs Eagles RB LeSean McCoy:There are so many things that LeSean McCoy does well for the Eagles offensively whether it’s taking the inside handoff out of the gun, running the crack toss on the outside or catching the red zone screen and taking it in for the touchdown.

When Rob Ryan builds his game plan, right below on having to deal with Vick is how to deal with McCoy as well. Sean Lee will need to be outstanding in this game.

The Eagles like to formation you to death and are very creative in the way they run their plays. Lee and Keith Brooking are outstanding at how quickly they are able to see the formation and at the snap of the ball, react to the play. The Eagles like to try and use misdirection to create a mismatch and the big play. Linebackers will get confused with all the movement, then you lose track of McCoy and he hits you for the big play.

With the Eagles struggles in the offensive line, look for Lee to take advantage of his ability to see the play develop and run through for the tackle. If you asked me who the best tackler for the Cowboys on defense was, I would say Sean Lee. Against a dynamic back such as LeSean McCoy, he will need to be at the top of his game at all times.