If there is one team in the NFL that just will not allow you to feel bad for them, it’s the Miami Dolphins. If it isn't their late insufferable coach Don Shula leaving tarps off the field to slow down the Jets and get Dan Marino to his LONE Superbowl appearance, and trying to desperately keep his name relevant even though he had not won anything in 20 years, to its 1972 asterisk ridden alumni celebrating with champagne when the Phins beat the then unbeaten Bears in 1985 ,God that ‘85 AFC Title game was great wasn't it? [Pats 31/ Phish 14] to its ownership tampering with Tom Brady and telling then head coach Brian Flores to throw games. The list of reasons to loathe the Dolphins just keeps growing and growing. From 1972 to 2023 the swamp reputation that Miami is built on just gets deeper and deeper. Here are my monster keys to squishing the Phish.
Motion and Bunch
Bunch formations and motion will be the key to moving the ball in the air this week, keep the guys moving to let Jones read what's happening on the other side of the ball and use those bunch formations to create confusion in the Miami secondary.
Nickels and Dimes
It's get home with four week. I want - no - I expect the hoodie and Mayo to flood the field with defensive backs Sunday night. Disguise their coverages and keep Tua guessing at what he’s seeing. The big uglies are going to have to get home on their own with a blitz or five sprinkled in from odd angles. Get in Tua’s face don't give him time for plays to break down and his speed guys to find open space.
Waddel is a Yac machine and the Pats need to toss a monkey wrench into his and Hill's gears from the opening gun until the final whistle on Sunday night. They, along with TE Durham Smythe and the running backs, are going to make catches. Just don't allow them a yard after.
Win the turnover Battle : we saw last week how important it is to get this check mark in the Patriots column.
Limit the Laundry: the Pats were hit with seven flags last week for 50 yards. That's 50 yards too many. Clean it up. The Dolphins gave up just 38 yards last week to the refs.
Own Third Down: The Dolphins converted on just 4 of 9 third down plays last week. You know what that tells me? They converted a lot on second down. Don't allow them that early down YAC. Get them into third and long. Mac and company were just 5 of 15 on third last week, they converted even 50% and they won.
Flip the field : Bryce Baringer showed why Bill went after him in this year's past draft. He had a great day - 5 punts for 226 yards, 3 times pinning the Eagles inside the 20. Just remember the mess this aspect of the Pats special teams was a year ago and smile people. Pin them deep and force them to matriculate.
Run that Rock
Yes we all want to see Mac throw for 300 and three touchdowns again, but I, as well as the hoodie, likes to attack your weakest link. Austin Ekeler and Josh Kelley gashed this Dolphins D to the tune of 233 yards last week. Okay, Herbert chipped in for 17, but the top two chargers did the damage. Get Rhmondre Stevenson going early, keep the Dolphins pass rush off kilter and then exploit the underneath of Nick Fangio’s cover four concepts. How can you say that when you love quarters as much as you do Murph? You guys ask the best questions.
That's how. The Patriots are built as a cover four beater. Great running backs that will exploit Fangio's concepts and hit the seams and mid range passes. Quarters is there to eliminate the BIG PLAY. It begs you to run, so let's oblige them and do just that. It's okay. I'm fine with only taking three shots downfield all day and killing them by papercut. Why will this work ? Based on last week's games, this Patriots defense is this good - and the Chargers were that bad.
That's it my rabid readers. The Pats should be 1-0 right now. I did not expect them to be climbing back to .500 so early in the season but let's be thankful it's just a one rung ladder right now. I’m sick to death of hearing how Tua is undefeated against the Patriots. Let's change that narrative Sunday night.
As always you can follow / give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207