Redskins-Cowboys matchups: DeAngelo Hall & Carlos Rogers vs. Miles Austin & Roy Williams
This will be one of the most intense matchups of the game. DeAngelo Hall is a fierce competitor and I'm assuming Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is going to give Hall exclusive rights to wide receiver Miles Austin. But if Haslett lines the secondary up in a true 3-4 defense, Hall will be on the left side and Carlos Rogers on the right side. This would mean both corners could get their fair share of Austin.
The key to this matchup will come down to Hall's and Rogers's ability to take Austin out of the game. Austin was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, his first, and led the NFC (and was third overall in the NFL) with 1,320 receiving yards in the 2009 season. He also tied for first in the NFC with 11 receiving touchdowns, even though he started only 11 games. If Hall and Rogers can cover him well enough, then the Cowboys will have to rely on either running the ball, getting it to tight end Jason Witten, or hoping that Roy Williams is finally able to be a consistent playmaker.
I wouldn't count on it.
Williams was brought into Dallas to replace Terrell Owens, but his lack of production has been disappointing. In his first season with the Cowboys, he started seven games, caught 19 passes for 198 yards and scored one touchdown. That said, he is capable of a big game, so the Redskins cornerbacks have to be careful not to be overconfident in their approach to covering him.
Austin, on the other hand, is a baller and will demand the attention of defenders every play. If you give this guy an inch, he will get the ball and run miles, pun intended. He's very talented and very crafty, so whoever has him in coverage will have to be ready to deal with his lunchpail-worker mentality.
It will be interesting to see if the Redskins play more zone defense, rather than press man coverage. The 3-4 defense is based off of deception, meaning you don't know who's blitzing from where and where players are in coverage. This could lead to a classic game of cat and mouse between corners and receivers. Austin and Williams, along with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, will have to figure out how they are being covered if they want to avoid turnovers. It should be fun to watch.
If Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter win their matchup in the pass-rush game, then you have to believe the pressure will disrupt Romo's ability to read the coverages and force him to get rid of the ball more quickly or risk being sacked. Whichever one it is, I believe it plays into the hands of the Redskins defense.
Rogers is a very talented cornerback who is pretty consistent with his coverage. If Rogers ever decides to start catching some of those passes he breaks up, he could be on his way to his first Pro Bowl. As for Hall, we all know he's going to take chances. He plays a big risk-big reward style, and he usually comes out on top. If he comes out ahead with his risk-taking, they should have a great night of football.
I did not include Witten in this matchup because he will be the responsibility of the linebackers and safeties. So with this matchup, the advantage has to go in favor of the Redskin's corners.
Advantage: Redskins corners, that makes it 2-1 in favor of the Redskins.
Next up: Ware & Spencer vs. Brown & Williams. Stay tuned.
September 8, 2010; 10:41 AM ET
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