Arrington on Talib: It's like he's been here all season


Arrington on Talib: It's like he's been here all season

FOXBORO -- Anticipation has been building in New England since the Patriots traded for Aqib Talib. Though it's hard yet to say how much the veteran cornerback can help patch up the team's porous secondary, his presence should indeed be positive.
A clearer picture will form after this weekend's matchup with Indianapolis. Talib's teammates did well to continue cranking up expectations on Friday, though.
"He has a few things you just can't see," said cornerback Kyle Arrington. "He's 6-1, 6-2, whatever he is; fluid; and he's just a good player. Can't speak highly enough about him."
For the record, Talib is listed at 6-1. He is one of only two defensive backs on New England's 53-man roster who's taller than 6-0 (safety Tavon Wilson is the other). With NFL receivers seemingly getting bigger by the year, a cornerback's height can't be discounted.
But Arrington sounded more impressed by Talib's intangibles.
"Can't talk highly enough about his work ethic, as well. He's one of the first ones here and the last to leave. You reporters talk about all the time he's definitely buying into the 'Patriot Way,'" Arrington said, smiling as he wrapped air quotes around the famous phrase.
It's early to make judgments; Friday marked only the third practice for Talib. But despite knowing there isn't one Patriot in the locker room who would utter a bad word about another, it's worth noting what, exactly, they're saying.
Arrington went as far as to note it feels like Talib has been in New England all season.
Safety Steve Gregory was just as enthusiastic.
"Aqib's a great player," he stated. "He's in the process of really trying to pick up the system, and get out there and get a feel for what we're doing, and it's fun to have him around. He's a great athlete, he covers well, and it's great to have him around."
Gregory said Talib's veteran status has catalyzed the transition. By now, playing in his fifth season, the corner has a strong grasp of terminologies and schemes, which puts him ahead on the learning curve.
"He's doing a really great job so far," Gregory concluded. "He's a smart football player and he seems to be picking it up really fast, so that's a good thing."
Finding out just how good? That starts with Indianapolis on Sunday.

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17


Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.