Don’t Blame: Kyle Dugger
Fans have every right to be upset at the way most of the Patriots played on Sunday, but don’t include safety Kyle Dugger in that mix.
There was already immense pressure on the ballhawk to step up with Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones and Marcus Jones all missing from this secondary. An early injury to top cornerback Christian Gonzalez only made things worse for this unit.
However, Dugger did everything he could to help his team win. He racked up a whopping 15 total tackles on the day, including a staggering 12 as a solo act. The star also added a tackle for loss and a QB hit in Week 4, providing some much-needed pressure behind the line of scrimmage as well.
While the start to the season was a little quieter than expected for Dugger, he made up for it in a big way against the Cowboys. Unfortunately, the Patriots will need more Herculean efforts from the safety to even be competitive while this defense is weighed down by health issues.
Don’t Blame: Jahlani Tavai
Even in a game where the opposition scored 38 points, New England’s defense was somehow far superior to its offense — and linebacker Jahlani Tavai deserves some recognition.
The Hawaii product brought some serious energy in Week 4 that shouldn’t be forgotten. He did a little bit of everything for this hampered unit, recording 4 solo tackles, 2 TFL, a QB hit and 1.0 sacks.
That’s some serious game-wrecking behavior, and it could’ve made a big difference if the contest was closer.
Though it didn’t end up mattering much, it’s great to see a potential playmaker emerging for this defense at a time when they can use all the help they can get.