Cowboys making big change to avoid sleeper-cell on Patriots

The Dallas Cowboys aren't taking any chances, and are making some changes as they face some old friends on the New England Patriots.

Aug 26, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (right) speaks with
Aug 26, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (right) speaks with / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys suffered their first loss of the season in Week 3 in an upset against the Arizona Cardinals, a team that many had expected to be the worst in the league. With that, the Cowboys' Super Bowl expectations from media figures and the fanbase have been tempered quite a bit. Now, they move on to get back in the win column, and the expense of the New England Patriots.

Ahead of the game, the Cowboys are making preparations.

Recently, the Patriots signed quarterback Will Grier from the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. Grier had spent the previous two seasons with the Cowboys, including this past preseason. With that, the Cowboys are deciding to make sure the Patriots don't have an idea of what plays are coming.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told reporters on Tuesday that the team will alter their signals because Grier and running back Ezekiel Elliott are on the Patriots. Schottenheimer said that Grier "knows where a lot of the bones are buried," and said he's sure Grier "is definitely being interrogated."

Cowboys altering hand signals and play calls vs. Patriots

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien laughed off Schottenheimer's comments that the Patriots would be interrogating Grier about the offense, saying that that's not the case.

“Interrogating!” said O'Brien, h/t “Schotty is a good guy. I’ve known Schotty for a long time. I think that’s the way it is every week in this league, every year in this league. … I don’t think we’re trying to pull a light over anybody and say, ‘Tell me what you did on July 20 of 2023.’ We’re not doing that. We’re not interrogating anybody. We’re just trying to put together the best game plan we possibly can.”

Grier was on the Cowboys roster through preseason but was told he was being released after Week 3. That was because the team traded for Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers. But Dallas told him they would allow him to start against the Las Vegas Raiders to show what he has for other teams.

In that game, Grier threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns while completing 29-of-35 pass attempts. Additionally, Grier ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. The Cowboys picked up the 31-16 victory.

After Grier's release by the Cowboys, he signed on with the Bengals as part of their practice squad. But ahead of Week 3, the Patriots signed Grier away from the Bengals, and he is now the third-string quarterback behind Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.

As for Elliott, he was released by the Cowboys earlier this offseason. After remaining on the free agency market for the better part of the offseason, he signed a one-year, $3 million contract this summer. Now, he is set to play against his former team. This season, Elliott ran for 122 yards on 28 carries while catching 6-of-8 targets for 28 yards.

The Cowboys aren't taking any chances, so they're altering some of their signals and calls for the game.

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