The Dallas Cowboys have a chance to humble the upstart NY Giants in their season opener on Sunday Night Football.
General manager Joe Schoen brought in multiple new pass-catchers to support quarterback Daniel Jones, who inked an extension worth $40 million per year. The Giants' receiver room still shouldn't scare any defense, but the addition of Darren Waller could be a real difference maker for Jones and the offense.
Reports out of Giants camp suggested Waller was unstoppable. While a seven-year pro with two 1,000-yard seasons should stand out in practice, it's clear that Waller and Jones have a budding chemistry, including in the red zone.
The Giants still have Saquon Barkley and other wideouts, but containing Waller could give the Cowboys a pathway to a comfortable victory.
In other words, Jayron Kearse -- who's adopted "the tight end stopper" moniker -- needs to come out on top in this matchup.
Jayron Kearse vs Darren Waller is crucial matchup in Cowboys opener against NY Giants.
Barkley could still be a handful and Brian Daboll is capable of scheming the Giants other receivers open, but Waller is far and away the biggest "concern" for the Cowboys. Luckily, Kearse is one of the best safeties in the game when it comes to blanketing tight ends.
Fans might remember his incredible touchdown-saving deflection against the Vikings and T.J. Hockenson in Week 11. It's what Kearse does.
At 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, Dan Quinn might have to throw Waller different looks. Kearse nearly matches Waller in height (the DB is 6-foot-4), but the former Pro Bowler has some 40 pounds on the Cowboys defender.
Kearse can handle his own (Hockenson is 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds), but it wouldn't be a surprise if Quinn sent double teams Waller's way -- especially since Daboll will be expecting Kearse to shadow the star tight end all game.
Quinn is all about the element of surprise and keeping team's off-guard.
Whatever Quinn decides, Kearse is ready for the matchup.
“He’s one of the top two tight ends in the game,” Kearse said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He can run, he can move after the catch. He poses a threat to whoever is going against him. I faced him before and I got some familiarity with his game and he does of me too. It’s going to be a showdown on Sunday night.”
Kearse and Co. will have their hands full against Waller, but preventing the 30-year-old from going nuclear might be the only thing standing in the Cowboys' way of walking out of MetLife Stadium with a snug victory.