Redskins-Cowboys matchups: Trent Williams vs. DeMarcus Ware
Talk about the worst possible first-game challenges for a rookie. The NFL is a place where it takes time to put the tools in the toolbox for challenges like the one Trent Williams faces against DeMarcus Ware Sunday night. Unfortunately for Williams, his toolbox doesn't include the tool of experience yet. Which gives Trent only a small -- and I mean a very small -- chance to come out on top in this matchup.
Here's the rundown on Ware. In 80 NFL games, he has recorded 356 tackles, 64.5 sacks, 61 tackles for a loss, 23 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one of which he returned 69 yards for a touchdown), 18 passes defended and one interception that he returned 41 yards for a touchdown. His stats are scary, Ware is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL.
Here are the reasons why Williams will struggle with Ware.
Ware has really long arms and giant hands. He keeps blockers away from his body pretty much every play, run or pass. This allows Ware to execute pass rush moves or read for the run. It's very difficult to block a man when you can't get a hold of him. It's also frustrating. So it will be worth watching to see if Williams gets frustrated trying to block Ware, and how he reacts under this pressure.
Ware also is very strong and agile. In the 3-4 defensive scheme that Dallas runs, players are encouraged to get up field, seek the ball out and go get it. With that type of freedom, look for Ware to bull rush Williams early with that strength and those long arms. By doing this, Ware will be creating more and more for Williams to process. Once this happens, watch for Ware to use more technical pass rush moves.
Here's what Williams must do to have a chance.
He must be patient when the ball is snapped on pass plays. I'm sure he will have blocking help from the Redskins' running backs, so he must get back off the ball as quickly as he can without giving up too much space inside. This will force Ware to climb higher in his rush. Then he hopefully will run into a chip block from a back or far enough up field to give Donovan McNabb a chance to pass the ball. If Williams can keep Ware in front of him and use Ware's reach advantage against him by basically "Dancing with a Star" this will also buy time for the passer.
In the run game, Williams is going to have to get off the ball quickly, but under control. Again, I'm assuming there will be a back or tight end to assist Williams. He will need help all night against Ware. With a lot of help, Williams could enjoy some success, but without a doubt the edge in this matchup goes to Ware.
This evens things up at two apiece. Stay tuned for my next matchup. It will be a head to head comparisons of the Redskins and Cowboys quarterbacks and running backs.
September 9, 2010; 10:19 AM ET
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