Patriots notebook: Opportunity strikes for JC Jackson against Cowboys top wide receivers

The Patriots managed to escape Week 5 with a win over the Houston Texans, but it wasn’t exactly a confident performance, especially on the defensive end of the ball. After looking a lot like a third-round rookie from his previous starts, New England allowed Houston’s Davis Mills to complete 21 of his 29 passes in the afternoon for 312 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a passer rating of 141.7. No disrespect to Mills, but the Patriots secondary had nothing to do to allow that level of production and efficiency to a rookie signalman.

The natural thought in seeing what Mills could have done against this unit is how much damage the Cowboys and their No. 4 rated attack in DVOA can do on Sunday when they enter Gillette Stadium. Dallas has a much better quarterback at Dak Prescott and a long list of skill players that include Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. This unit is also second in the league for total yards per game and is averaging 34 points.

When you factor in the New England offense, which ranks 24th in the NFL in DVOA (per Football Outsiders), the Patriots are going to need their defense to step up in a major way to help Mac Jones and company. outside.

It starts with the corner JC Jackson coming out of his recent crisis.

In the aftermath of Stephon Gilmore’s trade to the Carolina Panthers, all eyes are on Jackson for really stepping into a No.1 corner that can help anchor the Patriots secondary. Over the past two weeks, however, the quarterbacks have not been afraid to challenge the future 26-year-old. By Pro Football Focus, Jackson has been targeted 18 times and allowed 10 receptions on that stretch for 154 yards and a touchdown. He was also called up for three penalties last week, including defensive pass interference.

Jackson – and the entire defense in general – will need to turn the tide quickly, as he will likely be called upon to shut down Lamb or Cooper on Sunday. Each receiver has the ability to open a game.

“Sure. I believe in my high school,” Jackson said Thursday, as transcribed by WEEI. “We’ve always been good defensively, so I feel like we can compete with any NFL receiver. We have a pretty good defense – a few veteran players who have been here for a while… ”

Sunday’s game against the Dallas offense also gives Jackson an opportunity to further assert his claim for a lucrative contract in the next offseason. The impending free agent is already in a good position to cash somewhere in the NFL, but a close day against Dallas would almost certainly increase his chances of a team – including the Patriots – saving the Brinks truck for him next spring. .

How to watch

Dated: Sunday October 17 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Site: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)
CBS | Flux: Paramount + (Click here)
To follow: CBS Sports app
Chances: Cowboys -3, O / U 50.5

TE Patriots have a strong showdown against the Cowboys

The Patriots have spent a lot this offseason in the tight end position bringing in both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. So far, it has taken a bit for the two to acclimate to Foxborough, but Henry has specifically started to arrive lately. He’s had touchdowns in each of his last two games and had his best statistical outing (six catches for 75 yards) against Houston last week. Smith is still waiting for this breakout game, but his teammate thinks it’s coming.

“He’s going to come,” Henry told reporters this week of an impending escape from Smith. “Glad to see him burst.… He works extremely hard at what he does, so I think he’s going to keep coming.”

If there was a time when Henry and Smith could open a game for the Patriots in the passing game, it could be Sunday’s game against Dallas. The Cowboys are ranked 31st in DVOA Pass Defense Against Tight Ends this season, per Football Outsiders. They are also in the league’s bottom 10 in yards allowed at tight ends.

Backfield’s bad reputation

The Patriots running backs have earned an unenviable reputation for spitting football, putting the ball on the ground four times this season in five weeks. The last fumble came from Damien Harris, who had his second gift inside the 10-yard line this season. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, running back coach Ivan Fears didn’t hesitate to face the problem of his backfield knocking the ball over.

“It’s our reputation right now,” he said. “It’s no secret. Now let’s be honest. It would be crazy for anyone to think otherwise. We spilled the ball on key situations for scores. It would have given us two games now. It would have made the difference. in two games, so it’s a fact that we have to deal with and… all year round.

“And believe me, we’re going to work on it; it’s not something that everyone is happy about. I don’t think the players are happy about it, we’re not. But we have to – – the only way to change this statistic is to do so during the game. This is when you change it. “

Belichick’s post-NFL career advice to Edelman

Julian Edelman’s playing days are behind him, but that doesn’t mean he’s no longer coached by Bill Belichick to some extent. The former Patriots wide receiver still lurks in the game as an analyst for “Inside the NFL”. When he last appeared on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast, Edelman revealed some advice Belichick gave him as he entered the media arena.

“So I retired this offseason, and I haven’t seen (Belichick),” said Edelman, as transcribed by “I ended up going to a little shindig, and he was there. It was announced that I was doing ‘Inside the NFL’ for, like, five months. So he looks at me and he says, ‘So what is this what are you doing so far? ‘ I’m like ‘I’m doing’ Inside the NFL ‘,’ And he’s looking at me and like ‘Oh, are you doing media?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, you know, it’s gonna be pretty fun.’

“I didn’t know what I could say to him. He’s scary. He’s intimidating. And then he says, ‘Look, you can’t be a homer.… Curse) us.’ It was like a mafia reunion. But it was cool.… He was telling me to do my job. But it was just out of a movie, like I was (in) “A Bronx Tale” in an Italian restaurant and I see the former mafia boss. “

Edelman joins a long list of former Patriots who moved on to media jobs after their playing careers. This includes Tedy Bruschi (ESPN), Randy Moss (ESPN), Willie McGinest (NFL Network), Rob Ninkovich (ESPN) and Rodney Harrison (NBC), among others.

The Mac Jones era in New England began after the stunning release of Cam Newton. How will the rookie fare this season and what does that mean for the rest of the Patriots players? Download the CBS Sports app discover! Plus, get a sneak peek from our resident Patriots insider Tyler Sullivan. If you already have the CBS Sports app, be sure to pick the Patriots as your favorite team for the latest news.

About James Almanza

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