Braylon Edwards: 6’3”, 214 lbs., 28 years old.
Alan Ball: 6’2”, 197 lbs., 26 years old.
Terence Newman would typically cover Edwards if he was healthy, but he’s not, and neither is Orlando Scandrick, so that means fifth year cornerback Alan Ball gets the Edwards assignment.
Ball was Dallas’ seventh round pick in 2007. He’s played primarily as a dime corner in his four years with the Cowboys, but on Sunday he’ll most likely start. He’s a tall cornerback, so he should be able to cover the end zone fade to Edwards.
But Ball struggles tackling. His reputation is that he doesn’t play very physically – he goes for ankles instead of wrapping up. Look for Alex Smith to get the ball to Edwards on short slants, and for Edwards to use his size and strength to outmuscle Ball, both during the short routes and after the catch.
Matchup advantage: Niners