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How Bill Parcells links Bill Belichick and Dan Campbell 10.28.15 at 8:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Bill Parcells coaching tree will extend some unlikely branches Thursday when the Patriots host the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

Dan Campbell, 39, is in his third game as interim head coach of the Dolphins. Bill Belichick, 63, is in his 41st season of NFL coaching, including his 16th as head coach of the four-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Their connection to the 74-year-old Parcells brings them together on Thursday night with some common bonds.

Campbell played three seasons as a tight end in Dallas for Parcells from 2003-05. He began his coaching career in 2010 in Miami, Parcells’ last of three seasons as Executive Vice President of Football Operations with the Dolphins. Belichick spent three different stints with Parcells (1983-90), Patriots (1996) and with the Jets (1997-99). Belichick was asked Wednesday what he learned after 12 seasons working with Parcells.

“Quite a bit. Bill and I were together for a long time. I think Bill has got a lot of strengths. One of them would be the big picture.”

What is that big picture?

“What are the three, four, five most important things we have to do this year, this week to be a good team? I mean, there are a thousand things, but he would identify what the big things were and concentrate on those,” Belichick said. “You can’€™t lose sight of those.

With Campbell’s early two-game success using a fiery and inspirational approach, has Belichick seen any Parcells in the new Miami coach?

“I don’€™t know. They’€™ve obviously played very well, so how closely that’€™s connected or not connected, I don’€™t know,” Belichick said. “That’€™s probably something Dan could speak on.”

And Campbell did speak on exactly that topic on Tuesday during a conference call.

“€œOh yeah, we talked, he’€™s one of the first people I talked to when everything that transpired here and he’€™s been a huge asset for me,” Campbell said of Parcells. “Obviously, I have a ton of respect for Bill and any advice that he gives and he’€™s somebody that I will continue to talk to from time-to-time. It’€™s probably been almost two weeks now, it’€™s pretty much the same as to a lot of the coaches I’€™ve talked to, it was ‘€˜Be you and change things up,’€™ that was the common theme.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Dallas Cowboys, Dan Campbell
Bill Belichick explains why safeties are so important to turning around Pats’ run D 10.12.15 at 5:48 pm ET
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If the Patriots are to turn around their leaky run defense, Sunday seems like a very good place to start.

The Patriots entered their game against the Cowboys ranked 23rd overall in the NFL in run defense, allowing 117 yards per contest. The Patriots are starting to show a very dynamic play-making defense and it figures to get only better if the run defense starts to show improvement the way it did Sunday.

The Cowboys entered the game averaging 108 yards per contest and figured to take advantage of their powerful and big offensive line to run it down the throats of the Patriots. But a funny thing happened. The Cowboys were never able to get Joseph Randle, the aging Darren McFadden or Christine Michael going. The Patriots held the Cowboys to 100 yards on 24 carries, with only two carries of over 10 yards.

What was the big difference in the big turnaround? As is usually the case, it was a combination of factors, including a much improved defensive front at the point of attack that allowed the Patriots to take some chances and shoot strong safeties Patrick Chung and rookie Jordan Richards into gaps caused by pressure from the likes of Jamie Collins and Jabaal Sheard.

“We got a lot of support from the safeties in the running game, and Patrick played very well,” Bill Belichick noted in his Monday conference call. “He tackled well as he usually does. Patrick is one of the best tacklers on our team, but he has a real good sense of how to fit on those runs, when to shoot the gap, when to stay back and play over the top, that type of thing, and he’€™s a very good in-line tackler. He’€™s got good fundamentals and he wraps up well.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dallas Cowboys, Jordan Richards, New England Patriots
Jerry Jones on Greg Hardy: ‘He was a part of the best part of our team today’ 10.11.15 at 10:15 pm ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots left Cowboys owner Jerry Jones little to smile about Sunday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots left Cowboys owner Jerry Jones little to smile about Sunday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t let a 24-point loss to the Patriots keep him from continuing his praise and defense of Greg Hardy.

Earlier in the week, Jones made a somewhat veiled defense of his volatile defensive end when Hardy came out saying that he looked forward to seeing Tom Brady‘s wife at the game and promised he would come out guns blazing for the Patriots quarterback.

Well, Hardy did manage to make life miserable for Brady with two sacks and three other quarterback hits in the 30-6 Patriots win. Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain returned from four-game suspensions and made an immediate impact in the first half, as the Cowboys defense kept the rest of the team in the game.

“He was a part of the best part of our team today, and that was the defense,” Jones said. “He made a difference out there. We didn’€™t win the game, but he and McClain and the guys that we didn’€™t have made a difference today. That’€™s where I want to keep my focus with Greg or any of players on the field.

‘€œI think that our defense was improved and mainly because of the respect that I had for New England. I did see us be competitive for at least a half. It was unfortunate that we had a combination of things where we had to settle for field goals. I was very impressed with the competitiveness of McClain, Hardy and Sean Lee because they were coming back. They inspired and made the other players more effective. On the other hand, we have to get the offense going.”

Yet, in spite of hitting Brady often in the first half, the Cowboys were completely inept offensively behind Brandon Weeden, playing his third game replacing Tony Romo as the starting quarterback.

“There are two things about being tough,” Jones added. “One is being able to take anything. The other definition of tough is the one that gives it out. That’€™s an aggressive tough. We were able to handle some of their best stuff early. But we couldn’€™t punch anybody. We couldn’€™t sock anybody in the nose. We can’€™t win games like that.”

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Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Greg Hardy, Jerry Jones, New England Patriots
Mike Petraglia talks Patriots’ dissection of Cowboys, Tom Brady’s toughness, Dion Lewis at 9:46 pm ET
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ARLINGTON, Texas — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia breaks down the adjustments made by the Patriots that produced a 30-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, improving the Patriots to 4-0 on the season. Tom Brady was sacked five times in the first half as the Patriots had trouble containing the return of defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain. But behind the defense of Jabaal Sheard and Jamie Collins, the Patriots completely neutralized Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden, not allowing a touchdown in the win. Next up, a revenge match with the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis next weekend.

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Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Dion Lewis, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Dion Lewis on key to his success: ‘It just comes as instincts’ at 9:27 pm ET
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Dion Lewis (33) was eluding Dallas all afternoon. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Dion Lewis (33) was eluding Dallas all afternoon. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Apparently Dion Lewis has been taking his cues from Tom Brady.

While everyone was talking postgame about the toughness of the Patriots quarterback after five first-half sacks and several more big hits, it was the Patriots running back who said his own ability to take physical contact has made him the player he was on Sunday.

That player, fresh off a two-year contract extension earlier in the week, caught eight passes for 59 yards and ran six times for 34 yards in a 30-6 win over Dallas at AT&T Stadium.

But ironically, Lewis made one of the spectacular plays of the early season early in the second half by avoiding contact in amazing fashion.  As he reached out with one hand as he was turning around to catch a Brady pass in the right flat. He not only caught the ball, he eluded two defenders, regained his balance as he was falling down and then reached into the end zone.

The dazzling play made it 20-3 Patriots and the Cowboys were never heard from again.

“I was trying to catch the ball and let my instincts take over after that,” Lewis said. “I was just trying to make a play, trying not to get hit, just trying to make a great play for my team. It was a great way to get us some momentum in the game.

“I just ran to the flat. It seemed like [the ball] was behind me so I had to adjust to it. I turned around, somebody was in front of me. Then somebody came from the side, I ducked under and I really don’t remember what happened after that. I was just out there playing. It’s something I work hard at, so when I’m out there in the game, it just comes as instincts, just trying to make a play for my team is what it comes down to.”

Added Bill Belichick: “Dion’s been giving us a lot of productive plays, both running and passing. Some inside plays, some outside plays, some run-after-catch plays. He’s been doing it for us all year. He’s a hard guy to tackle. He’s tough when he gets a little bit of space. He gained three or four yards on some runs where there wasn’t a lot of space.”

But Lewis made it clear, after a reporter asked, that no one should confuse eluding a tackler with being afraid of contact and fumbling when running with the ball. Lewis, who has two fumbles this season, was sure-handed on Sunday, as were the Patriots.

“I’m not scared to get hit,” Lewis said. “I get hit every play so I’m definitely not scared to hit [either]. I was just running with my instincts and going with the play design, then let my instincts take over after that and do what I’m coached to do.”

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Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Dion Lewis, New England Patriots,
Ryan Wendell again inactive for Patriots against Cowboys, Aaron Dobson also sits at 2:57 pm ET
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Aaron Dobson

Aaron Dobson

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryan Wendell will have to wait at least another week to make his 2015 debut.

The veteran offensive lineman made the trip and did some pregame running and stretch on the field in Dallas but was kept out for a fourth straight game. There was some speculation that the interior offensive lineman might make his debut this week after he fully participated in all four practices this week, coming back from an undisclosed illness.

Also inactive is receiver Aaron Dobson, who is missing his first game of the season. Dobson caught just one pass for five yards against Jacksonville two weeks ago and has nine catches for 101 yards on the season. Dobson appeared to have a breakout game against the Bills on Sept. 20, when he matched a career-high with seven catches for 87 yards against the Bills.

The other five inactives are linebackers Rufus Johnson and Jon Bostic, safety Tavon Wilson, defensive linemen Khyri Thornton and Trey Flowers.

Defensive back Brandon King and newly acquired defensive end Akiem Hicks are both active and making their Patriots debuts. King was activated from the practice squad on Saturday to take the spot of the released Bradley Fletcher while Hicks was acquired during the bye week in the trade of tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

For the Cowboys, linebacker Sean Lee was cleared from his concussion last Sunday night in New Orleans and is active for the game.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Dallas Cowboys, inactives, New England Patriots, nfl
Setting the scene from Big D as Patriots look to corral Cowboys at 12:16 pm ET
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The Patriots make their first trip to AT&T Stadium Sunday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Patriots make their first trip to AT&T Stadium Sunday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Patriots are hoping their first trip to Jerry World is a joy ride.

The 3-0 Patriots look to remain perfect against the 2-2 Cowboys in the climate-controlled retractable palace known as AT&T Stadium.

With temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees outside, the roof is likely to be closed for the game, which kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET.

This is the 12th meeting between the two teams, with the Patriots winning the last four after losing the first seven. This is the first time the Patriots have played in AT&T Stadium, leaving San Francisco’s two-year-old Levi’s Stadium as the only building the NFL the Patriots have never visited. That, of course, could end in February if the Patriots reach Super Bowl 50.

The Patriots actually opened the Cowboys’ last home, playing Dallas in the first-ever game held at Texas Stadium. In their first-ever meeting against the Cowboys, the Patriots lost, 44-21, in Irving on Oct. 24, 1971.

If the Patriots win, they will improve to 4-0 for the eighth time in team history and the fourth time in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. Brady will look to become just the third quarterback in NFL history with at least four 4-0 starts. Peyton Manning has done it seven times (including this season) while Fran Tarkenton did it four times.

Chris Price has a detailed scouting breakdown of what to expect in today’s matchup while Ryan Hannable has 10 unique nuggets to look for in the game.

Dallas is one of eight teams that Tom Brady has never lost to, beating them in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Since realignment in 2002, the Patriots have an NFL-best 42-10 record against the NFC, the best inter-conference record in the NFL.

After being held without a touchdown two weeks ago against Jacksonville, Rob Gronkowski once again looks to make history today as the fastest tight end to 60 touchdowns in NFL history. Gronkowski has 59 career touchdowns, the same number as his counterpart on the Cowboys, Jason Witten, has in seven more seasons. Gronkowski and Witten have been compared and contrasted all week as a matchup of two of the best tight ends in the modern era of football.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, nfl

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