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New England Patriots Links 10/14/11 - Pats' D Ready to Man Up Against These 'Boys

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<em>Devin McCourty: "We're practicing better as a defense and I think it's showing on Sundays."</em>
Devin McCourty: "We're practicing better as a defense and I think it's showing on Sundays."

Devin McCourty talks about the biggest challenge for the Patriots defense in facing the Cowboys' collective talent on offense.

It's definitely a tough job. Both of their tight ends are very good in the pass game. Then they have two receivers that are good at getting vertical but also bigger guys that can catch the ball short and break tackles. Probably on the whole, as a group, it's going to be a very tough challenge.

With Dez and Miles Austin, they're both bigger, stronger guys. It always helps that it's not the first time you've seen it. Going against different guys this season who have been those bigger-type of receivers, you can use some of what they did against us and how they played. I think the biggest thing is just the physical nature of the bigger receivers - most of the time they're bigger than the corners they're facing so they try to use that to their advantage.

[Tony Romo is] very mobile. He moves around a lot. No play is really ever dead with Romo - even when guys get to him, he's able to escape. I think the biggest thing is once he escapes, he's not always looking to just take off and run. A lot of times he gets outside [and] he's still trying to throw the ball down the field. He has the ability, to really, no matter which side he is on -- left or right -- he can turn his shoulders and get the ball vertical. So in the secondary, we have to stay on our guys and stay ready no matter what he does back there.

Mike Petraglia notes Aaron Hernandez isn't chicken of anything, especially of talking with reporters while eating some of the General Tso's grilled version.

Has he ever thought of trying to eat while he’s playing? "Probably not, because I don’t want to drop any more touchdown catches," Hernandez quipped, referring to his drop at the end of the first half on Sunday, producing the first red-zone interception Tom Brady has ever thrown on home turf.

"So you guys thought that was pretty funny?" Hernandez rhetorically asked the group of cackling of reporters. Uh, yup, we did, Aaron.

"It’s not an excuse, though," he said of the brace. "You’re not thinking about it when it’s on. You still play football. It might make you a tenth-of-second slower but it’s not that big of a difference and you can’t use it as an excuse or I would have on that [potential] touchdown."

"I feel pretty good. Feels better and better every day."

Bill Belichick released a statement after placing Mike Wright on season-ending injured reserve.

"Mike did everything he could to return and contribute to the team.  Unfortunately, we felt the best course of action was to place him on injured reserve at this time."

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Mike Reiss offers some quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots locker room Thursday.
  • Mike Reiss brings up three points when analyzing DL Mike Wright landing on season-ending IR and what it means for the Pats D-line.
  • Chris Gasper breaks down his three keys to a Patriots win over the Cowboys.
  • Bruschi's Breakdown: Unlike the Cowboys, the Patriots have proved they can excel in crunch time.
  • Jeremy Lundblad says the Patriots are susceptible to the big play and the Cowboys offense seeks out the big play.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely sees the Cowboys big three receivers as tough to cover.
  • Chris Forsberg notes the Pats made it clear they'll be targeting TE Jason Witten on Sunday.
  • Mark Daniels examines what a tough matchup Jason Witten and the Cowboys' passing game will be for the Patriots defense.
  • Ian Rapoport reminds us that Rob Ryan's defense has stopped the Patriots before.
  • Mary Paoletti notes Tom Brady will have his hands full Sunday, while the Cowboys plan to have their hands full of his passes.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely says the Cowboys are in the process of getting to know the Patriots defense, which is still trying to figure itself out.
  • Mark Daniels believes the Patriots DBs are getting quicker on the draw and have some much-needed momentum heading into Sunday's game.
  • Christopher Price thinks it's been a weird year for Devin McCourty, who is now dealing with the burden of increased expectations.
  • Chris Forsberg reports Dan Gronkowski is all healed up and happy to be back.
  • Chris Forsberg notes Jermaine Cunningham is 'feeling good' and just 'trying to keep getting better.'
  • Shalise Manza Young reports Kevin Faulk is as hungry as ever. He's trying not to count the days until he can pull on the pads again.
  • Christopher Price charts the offensive opportunities for the Patriots skill position players through five games. BenJarvus Green-Ellis tops the list.
  • Mike Reiss offers an interesting look at the season breakdown between the Patriots base and sub defense.
  • Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat. Tough spot for the Patriots coming off a rivalry game win and the Cowboys coming off the bye.
  • Boston Globe Patriots Notebook: Another concussion ends Mike Wright's career; CB Phillip Adams was re-signed to fill Wright's spot on the roster; Patriots are expecting an explosive passing game from the Cowboys; Pats' pass defense is ranked last in the league (326.6 yards per game); Dan Gronkowski said he felt like he never left; Aaron Hernandez isn't thinking about the brace on his knee when he's on the field and won't use it as an excuse.
  • Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Mike Wright's 2011 season ended with a mix of sadness and relief; Players on the PUP list are eligible to be added to the active roster after Sunday's game and Kevin Faulk is hopeful to return to practice; BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed Thursday's full-pads workout with a toe injury.
  • Jim Lazar makes his Week Six picks. Pats over 'Boys 33-23.
  • Boston Globe Staff Week six picks: All five pick Dallas over New England.

NATIONAL NEWS

VIEW FROM DALLAS

  • Carlos Mendez (Star-Telegram) Witten says Cowboys need a win against Patriots, not keep it close.
  • Brandon George (Dallas Morning News) Cowboys know settling for field goals inside 20-yard line isn't a winning formula.
  • Rainer Sabin (Dallas Morning News) Cowboys face a Patriots team struggling to adjust to its new defense.
  • Charean Williams (Star-Telegram) Tony Romo sees Super Bowl title in Dallas Cowboys' future.
  • David Moore (Dallas Morning News) QB Tony Romo: 'This team is going to win a Super Bowl.'
  • Rob Phillips (DallasCowboys.com) Timing of Romo's statement no accident.
  • Nick Eatman (DallasCowboys.com) Walking the line: Romo searching for fourth-quarter balance.
  • Charean Williams (Star-Telegram) Romo will wear Kevlar jacket and take painkilling shot.
  • Carlos Mendez (Star-Telegram) New defense has Cowboys LB Ware feeling more free.
  • Rob Phillips (DallasCowboys.com) Ground control: Run game quietly boosting Pats' offense.
  • Nick Eatman (DallasCowboys.com) Patriots TEs another defensive challenge.