DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys defense might be the fastest New England will play this season.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One thing Patriots coach Bill Belichick stressed Wednesday while breaking down the strengths of the Cowboys was how their overall team speed can be a factor, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
"They're fast and they don’t give up many plays," said Belichick. "You look at a lot of plays, the play starts and you think there’s a hole, so this could be a pretty good play. Then all of a sudden four guys hit [the ball carrier] for a 2-yard gain. They close very quickly. [Anthony] Spencer and [DeMarcus] Ware on the edge, they’re a problem, and the inside linebackers, especially [Sean] Lee, run well. Their defensive line is active, they really run well -- there's very good team speed. They don’t give up many big plays period, run or pass. That’s one of the big reasons: They converge to the ball so quick.
"They have a lot of team speed. It's the fastest team we’ve played this year. You look at their plays, you can stop the film and say, 'Looks like this is going to be a good play.' Then it just collapses. They do a good job of running to the ball, a lot of fast guys."
Belichick said it's impossible to fully simulate that speed in practice, but the Patriots simply have to be cognizant of it and try to attack the Cowboys in other ways.
"They just get there quicker than a lot of other people," said Belichick. "Every team we play, they're chasing it, too. These guys are just faster, they just get there quicker. Obviously, every team has its weaknesses -- hopefully -- that you try to attack. We’ll try to attack these guys, like any other team. One thing that’s hard to do is outrun them. There’s just not many guys that can take the ball and take off that they can’t catch. They track everybody down."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can vouch for that after watching the Cowboys on film.
"They can really run, sideline-to-sideline, they track a lot of plays down from behind," said Brady. "Everything’s very well coordinated. They got a bunch of different things that they do, it's certainly not easy to prepare for. They've got a bunch of different blitz looks, a bunch of different defensive packages. It's kind of a game-plan defense, so you're never really sure what you're going to get until you’re out there. So you gotta prepare for everything."