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How Patriots S Kyle Dugger typified a dominant defensive showing in Cleveland – Boston Herald


CLEVELAND — On the second play from scrimmage Sunday, the Browns called a play-action pass the Patriots didn’t prepare for once in practice.

It started with Jacoby Brissett faking a hand-off left and three tight ends aligned to the right. The inner-most tight end sprinted upfield on a deep corner route angled toward the near sideline while the other two blocked. After dragging the entire defense left with his play fake, Brissett booted back right looking for his deep tight end.

He fired.

Five seconds later, Patriots safety Kyle Dugger was celebrating with his teammates and Brissett’s pass in hand. Although the play fake had pulled Dugger forward, his mind, carrying a faint memory of old Browns film he’d recently studied, yanked him backward. Dugger had seen this play before, and knew where the ball would go.

“He literally watches film 24/7,” said Pats safety Adrian Phillips. “You don’t really see that from a lot of young guys, but the fact that he takes it so seriously and it’s showing on the field, it’s cool to see.”

The play had tested Dugger in the same way his coaches had tested him all week, forcing him to play pass first within a game plan designed to stop the run. The Patriots intended to halt Cleveland’s league-leading run game with a personnel package featuring four defensive linemen, three linebackers and just one cornerback, which meant Dugger had to assume full-time coverage duties instead of playing pseudo linebacker on early downs. Once the Browns declared their three-tight end formation on their second play, his duties became serving as a de facto outside corner.


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