Bill Belichick isn’t about to take the injury-riddled Cowboys lightly. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — The Cowboys may have lost Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for an extended period of time but Bill Belichick sounded more concerned Wednesday with the players Dallas can still field on Sunday.
Specifically, Belichick highlighted the Cowboys offensive line, a unit he called the best in the NFL.
“They’re a good football team ‘ best offensive line in the league, they have a really good defensive front, a lot of good skill players, Witten is as good as they come, [Joseph] Randle has done a great job for them, [Darren] McFadden, he’s an outstanding player, [Gavin] Escobar, [Terrance] Williams, [Cole] Beasley, they’ve got a great kicker and a good punter, the defensive front is a problem, the linebackers are good, plus now they have McClain in that group,” Belichick said, referring to the return of linebacker Rolando McClain with Greg Hardy this Sunday.
Both McClain and Hardy are active for the first time since coming off the NFL suspended list for the first four games of the season.
“[Morris] Claiborne was the [sixth] pick in the draft,” Belichick said of the star cornerback. “The corners are good. The safeties are good. They play all those guys. Put [Byron] Jones in there safety, corner, nickel. So, there are a lot of good football players on that team. [Danny] McCray leads that special teams unit, [Jeff] Heath, the linebackers run well and they’re fast and active in the kicking game. They took Atlanta down to the wire, overtime against New Orleans, beat Philadelphia, beat the Giants ‘ not bad.”
Belichick sees a strong compete level with the Cowboys, much of which he says comes from a lot of depth.
“This is a good football team. They’ve got a lot of depth,” Belichick said. “They’ve got a lot of good players. They’ve got a lot of running backs, just traded for another one. Good depth at receiver, good depth at tight end, [Ronald] Leary was out on the offensive line but had a couple guys fill in for them. That’s a solid group. They’ve got a lot of defensive linemen, they all play, they all contribute, they’re all good. They played all their linebackers last week. They play all the defensive backs.
“[Jeff] Heath has got a role, [Tyler] Patmon has got a role. [Barry] Church and [J.J.] Wilcox, starting corners, [Corey] White has got a role. I mean, those guys are all in there. It’s not like they just play four or five guys in the secondary or a couple linebackers. They play five, six linebackers, eight, nine guys, 10 guys in the secondary, eight or nine defensive linemen, well more than that probably, including all the games, not in any one game because they have to inactivate some guys. But some of the inactive guys, sometimes they play, sometimes they don’t, so there are a lot of people. And they use their depth; they use it throughout the course of the game. It looks like they try to wear you down a little bit and they have the depth to do it.”
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