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MORSE: Week 4 – Patriots at Cowboys Preview

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
2 months ago at 1:21 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

MORSE: Week 4 – Patriots at Cowboys PreviewDavid Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 brings us the Dallas Cowboys.  Depth chart courtesy of ESPN.

Mike McCarthy is calling the plays as he has replaced Kellen Moore as the Offensive play caller.   McCarthy has a history of being pass happy.  This even though the Cowboys have averaged 150 yards a game on the ground.  The last two seasons the Cowboys finished with 12 wins and are not playing in the AFC.   The big problem for the Cowboys is their drop in efficiency in the Red Zone.  Last year they hit on 71.4% of scores inside the Red Zone.  This year they are at 40%.  Last week The Arizona Cardinals held Dallas to only 1 score in 5 attempts.  Look for the Patriots to play a bend don’t break type of defense, allowing the Cowboys to move the ball downfield without allowing the big play.  Force Dallas to play on a shorter field, with less area to cover.

Offense 3WR 1TE
QB Dak Prescott Cooper Rush Trey Lance
RB Tony Pollard Rico Dowdle Deuce Vaughn
WR CeeDee Lamb Jalen Tolbert David Durden IR
WR Brandin Cooks KaVontae Turpin
WR Michael Gallup Jalen Brooks
TE Jake Ferguson Peyton Hendershot Luke Schoonmaker John Stephens Jr. IR
FB Hunter Luepke
LT Tyron Smith Q Chuma Edoga Q
LG Tyler Smith Chuma Edoga Q Asim Richards
C Tyler Biadasz Q    
RG Zack Martin Q T.J. Bass Josh Ball IR
RT Terence Steele Chuma Edoga Q Matt Waletzko IR


Dallas is ranked by Pro Football Focus (PFF) #5 overall in the Power Ranking.  In Points Scored Dallas is #5.  Their Offense is ranked 4th overall.  However, QB Dak Prescott is only ranked 25th, in comparison to Mac Jones 15th ranking, despite a horrible Offensive Line and under constant pressure.

Prescott is called an above average QB by Warren Sharp.  The Cowboy passer has completed 69 of 102 67.6%, for 647 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.   Prescott has tremendous Wide Receivers in CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Brandon Cooks.  Tony Pollard, now the starter at RB, is also a tremendous pass catcher out of the backfield.  Rookie TE Jake Ferguson is an up-and-coming player and already has 10 catches in the three games.  They also have another good young TE in Luke Schoonmaker.

Pollard has rushed for 264 yards, 4.3 YPC and 2 TDs.  Unheralded backup Rico Dowdle has rushed 17 times for 71 yards and a 4.2 average.  They allowed reliable TE Dalton Schultz to leave via Free Agency.


Defense Base 4-3 D    
LDE DeMarcus Lawrence Sam Williams Viliami Fehoko Jr
LDT Johnathan Hankins Mazi Smith
RDT Osa Odighizuwa Neville Gallimore Chauncey Golston  
RDE Micah Parsons Dorance Armstrong Dante Fowler Jr.
WLB Leighton Vander Esch  
MLB Damone Clark Markquese Bell
SLB Devin Harper DeMarvion Overshown IR    
LCB Stephon Gilmore Jourdan Lewis C.J. Goodwin
SS Jayron Kearse Israel Mukuamu
FS Donovan Wilson Malik Hooker Juanyeh Thomas
RCB DaRon Bland Noah Igbinoghene Eric Scott Jr Trevon Diggs IR


The Dallas Defense was one of the best in the league, if not the best before the injury to CB Trevon Diggs.  Even without him they are formidable.  In Points Allowed they are ranked 4th, and the Defense is ranked 3rd overall.

Defensive End / Linebacker Micah Parson is in the HOF Lawrence Taylor category.  If he stays healthy, he will be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  DeMarcus Lawrence is no slouch either.  Parson leads the Cowboys with 4 sacks, but he is not the only one putting pressure on the QB.  Osa Odighizuma has 3 sacks, DeMarcus Lawrence has 2 as does Dorance Armstrong.  They have 12 sacks as a team.  They are putting Pressure on the QB at a 40% rate.  Tough matchup for the patriots Offensive Line.  At Linebacker they have the steady Leighton Vander Esch who has 13 tackles.  Damone Clark leads the team with 14 tackles and Safety/LB Marquese Bell has 14 tackles.  Bell was an Undrafted Free Agent signed in 2022 out of Florida A&M.  He should have been drafted.  Now he is an integral Part of the Dallas Defense.

The loss of Diggs is significant, but Dallas has the players to step in and play.  Former Patriot Stephon Gilmore is still a very good corner.  Jourdan Lewis will jump in as the slot corner while former starter DaRon Bland moves out to RCB replacing Diggs.  Jayron Kearse has 14 tackles from his Safety position.


Special Teams
PK Brandon Aubrey
P Bryan Anger
H Bryan Anger
PR KaVontae Turpin Deuce Vaughn
KR KaVontae Turpin Deuce Vaughn
LS Trent Sieg


Placekicker Brandon Aubrey didn’t kick in college.  He played soccer and played professionally for Bethlehem Steel FC.  He started kicking after he was released and hooked on with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL.  After two seasons he was signed by the Cowboys after his USFL season ended this year.  He was a two-time USFL Champion.  He is currently ranked #4 in the league.

The Punter is nothing to write home about.  Bryan Anger ranks 29th.  Kick Returner KaVontae Turpin is even worse at 30th in the league.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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