ARLINGTON, Texas — Sunday marked the third consecutive inactive for Patriots rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte.
Boutte, who was chosen in the sixth round out of Louisiana State, hasn’t played since the end of the season opener, in which he failed to get his feet down at a crucial moment against the Eagles. He made a cameo appearance on the injury report last week.
So why has Boutte been sidelined? Two reasons:
▪ The Patriots have utilized all three tight ends the past couple of weeks, with Pharaoh Brown providing a boost as a physical and versatile presence. Against the Jets, he caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones, delivered a savage stiff-arm to a defender on another reception, and was stout in the ground game, working as a blocker at tight end and at fullback. His presence means someone else will be squeezed off the game-day roster. In this case, it could very well be a choice between Brown and Boutte.
▪ His skill set is vaguely reminiscent of veteran DeVante Parker’s. Both are big targets on the outside with some speed. Boutte likely will end up playing behind Parker for the foreseeable future. He could be ticketed for a redshirt year in which he remains on the active roster but is a healthy scratch most of the season. (James White, Shane Vereen, and Trey Flowers followed the same path.)
As for the rest of the inactives, guard Cole Strange (knee) and cornerback Jonathan Jones (ankle) were ruled out on Saturday. Rookie Atonio Mafi, who went wire-to-wire in the opener against the Eagles, got the start at left guard.
Offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. was a healthy scratch and Will Grier was the emergency quarterback.
The notable actives included offensive lineman Sidy Sow, who was on the active roster for the first time since suffering a concussion last month, as well as cornerback Shaun Wade, who popped up on the injury report with a shoulder issue.
Defensive tackles Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux were on and off the injury report last week and were listed as questionable Friday, but both were good to go for the game.
Praise for the Cowboys
Some NFC East rivalries die hard.
For many years, Bill Belichick had a beef with former Washington GM Charley Casserly. “Who’s been wrong more than Charley Casserly?” Belichick said during a press conference in 2010.
But when it comes to the Cowboys, the Patriots coach has nothing but good things to say. That includes owner Jerry Jones, coach Mike McCarthy, former head coach Tom Landry, as well as legendary Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt, who died in August. He was 91.
“Gil had a big impact on both the college and the pro game,” said Belichick. “With [first owner Clint] Murchison [Jr.], [ex-GM Tex] Schramm, Brandt, and Landry, it was a pretty formidable operation they had down there. Twenty straight winning seasons, or whatever it was.
“I have a ton of respect for Jerry and Stephen [Jones], and the way they run the organization down there,” he said. “They’ve had decades of success. They were really the team of the ‘90s with Jimmy [Johnson] and they’ve been good. They’ve been competitive every year, obviously more than competitive. They’ve had a lot of great players down there.”
Texas is their state
Seven members of the Patriots’ 53-man roster (and four players on the practice squad) count Texas as their own when it comes to their high school hometowns, including defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr., who hails from Carrollton, 20 miles from Dallas. “It’s actually my first time playing in Dallas since I’ve been in the league, so that’s pretty cool,” Wise said. “I do have some family and friends coming. So that’s awesome.” … One defensive lineman who continues to make strides is Sam Roberts. The 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pounder, who saw his first action of the season last week against the Jets, was on the game-day roster against the Cowboys. “Sam is a great player,” Wise said. “Hard worker. Very strong. And actually very fast. He finally got his shot to play a lot of snaps this past game, and he showed us what he can do. He does great job of using his hands and getting off blocks.”