Another tight spot for McGowan

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Patriots have made negating opposing tight ends a top priority in their game plan, they've turned primarily to safety Brandon McGowan.

In Week 3 against the Falcons, McGowan played an instrumental role in holding future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez to one reception for 16 yards.

In Week 7 against the Buccaneers, McGowan was at it again, limiting Kellen Winslow to just two catches for 9 yards.

Next up: Dallas Clark.

As the Patriots turn the page from their 27-17 win over the Dolphins and start thinking about their next game -- a Sunday night tilt at Indianapolis -- the presence of Clark looms large. The versatile Clark is second in the NFL with 60 receptions.

"He's a good tight end, you can see Peyton [Manning] likes him, and he likes the other receivers," McGowan said Monday. "The defensive backs are going to have our hands full this week."

At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, McGowan takes pride in his work against tight ends. He has filled a slot similar to Rodney Harrison's this season and has been one of the surprise performers on defense. He's proved to be fast enough to play competitively in the deep third of the field but physical and tough enough to move toward the line of scrimmage in more of a linebacker-type role.