2018 Dolphins: Back to Gasics

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sodenj5

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Reshad rules out for the game.

Objectively, this sucks for this week, but Reshad played two years with a torn labrum. Sometimes you have to take the decision out of his hands.

Also, would you rather see #20 on the field against the Raiders or next week in New England? Easy decision.

It seems like Minkah will play FS in base and move down to the slot in sub packages.
 

sodenj5

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About as ugly as the first half could have possibly gone. Oakland commited to stopping the run from Miami. Miami looked better on the drive to end the half and got absolutely robbed by the officials on two awful penalties.

Secondary definitely misses Reshad back there. Minkah looked lost out there at FS several times.
 

Clears Cleaver

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It's really hard for me not to think these games are fixed. Miami drives down and has two straight first down plays called back on just terrible penalties. the hold on the center was not a hold and the PI on Stills was absurd. Gruden has more value to the league than Miami, I guess.
 

rymflaherty

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^
I wish I didn’t see that “interference” call on the Red Zone. I’ve been dejected and pissed since. That’s about as bad a call as I’ve ever seen and it could play a huge roll in the final outcome.
 

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Speed kills. This game looked so familiar as a game by most objective measures they "should" have won but due to stretches of lackluster play by the line on both sides, dumb penalties, and shitty luck (injuries and the aforementioned god-awful calls), were all set to lose, except for.......speed. It appears to be the big difference so far this year compared to most Dolphin teams from the last decade or so. Clutch turnovers don't hurt either.

I'll be curious to hear some of all y'all's thoughts on Tanny. Best game of the year so far?

3 - 0 and on top of the AFC going to New England. Damn.
 

dwainw

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I think I'll answer my own question about Tannehill. Checking his line I was reminded that he had 0 picks--I could have sworn he had one in the first half. Tremendous game by Tanny. Two gorgeous TD passes, some nice short shots, and he nicely picked his moments to run.
 

sodenj5

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If I were to summarize Tannehill in one word, I would say decisive. He is seeing the field well and pulling the trigger. Even his scrambles. That play where Irvin lost contain he looked downfield, saw no one open and a huge lane to run and took off.

Wilson and Grant make this offense so fun. Gase is dialing stuff up that looks like it belongs in KC or Philly’s playbook.

Xavien Howard is playing shutdown, lockdown, throw away the key corner right now. That red zone pick was gigantic and he made a tremendous play on the ball. That’s his second red zone pick this year. Those are humongous, game changing plays.
 

pdaj

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3-0! It's nice when you see a prime opportunity for your team to start off the year fast, and they take advantage of it. This one, perhaps more so than the others, wasn't easy -- but this gritty, playmaking group got it done, despite a number of challenging events taking place. Let's list them:

- Reshad Jones couldn't play, which shook up Miami's Base/Nickel looks. This especially looked problematic on Oakland's opening drive, which lead to 7. Fitzpatrick seemed hesitant on at least couple of single-high safety looks as well, one of which lead to a huge gain by Jordy Nelson. Pass coverage from Base continues to be an issue, and the Raiders exploited this to begin begin the game.

- Man, was that Akeem Spence penalty/ejection a big one. I'm still not sure what exactly he did that warranted getting tossed from the game, but the flag negated a huge 3rd down sack and allowed the Raiders to extend a very long drive.

- Gosh dang, were those OPI penalties bad. Gase will be sending a lot of tape to the league office this week. At the time of these calls, it just didn't look like it was going to be Miami's day.

- Injuries to Hayes, Branch, Derby, and McCain. Think Kendall Langford gets a phone call from Miami this week?

In other news ...

Miami fans seemed split on DeVante's return this week, but he deserves some love. Parker was able to beat the defense over the top and snag a beautiful Tannehill pass on that key drive, which eventually brought the game within reach, 14-17. With Amendola, Wilson, and Grant making the opponent's defense work their butt off east to west, it's nice to have an additional receiver to Stills with the speed/size to attack defenses vertically. Yeah, he has a role on this team.

Tannehill got a lot of cheap yardage on those two shovel passes for scores, but the throw to Stills (TD) and Parker (41 yards) were f-cking gorgeous, big boy throws.

We missed this last week, but Nick O'Leary was signed to the Practice Squad this week. He's a guy to keep an eye on if Derby's out for an extended period of time.

Miami now heads to Foxboro next Sunday, where the Patriots almost never lose, and then to Cincy, who's offense looks explosive. If Miami's able to split these 2, I'll be over the moon.
 

Clears Cleaver

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If I were to summarize Tannehill in one word, I would say decisive. He is seeing the field well and pulling the trigger. Even his scrambles. That play where Irvin lost contain he looked downfield, saw no one open and a huge lane to run and took off.

Wilson and Grant make this offense so fun. Gase is dialing stuff up that looks like it belongs in KC or Philly’s playbook.

Xavien Howard is playing shutdown, lockdown, throw away the key corner right now. That red zone pick was gigantic and he made a tremendous play on the ball. That’s his second red zone pick this year. Those are humongous, game changing plays.
Agree on Howard, he's been great.

Tannehill played really well. Caveat, Raiders got ZERO pressure from the front four and barely any when they blitzed. But...his pocket presence is 1000x better than in the past. HE steps up at the right time now and not into a sack.

3-0. hard to complain about anything. Hopefully Jones and the d-lineman get healthy
 

sodenj5

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Yeah agree on the OPI calls. They were horrible. Kilgore also got called on a non existent holding call and Miami was robbed of at least 3 before the half.

The rushing attack wasn’t a factor, but Oakland was selling out to stop the run, daring Tannehill to beat them with single coverage. He did.
 

rymflaherty

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Wilson and Grant as the two fastest guys on the field, high fiving on the way to the end zone is the coolest Dolphins moment I can remember in some time.
More often than not, even when things have gone well for this team the past decade or so, it’s felt like a slog (past two weeks included) so seeing the explosion and knowing something other than a controversy would be highlighted on Sportscenter and seen nationally just felt exciting as a fan.

Fwiw - as much as I’d love to see Detroit finish this off and beat NE, the thought of that does make me a bit uneasy. Tough to imagine NE losing 3 in a row. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be tough next week and hopefully Miami is up to the challenge.
 

pdaj

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Agree on Howard, he's been great.

Tannehill played really well. Caveat, Raiders got ZERO pressure from the front four and barely any when they blitzed. But...his pocket presence is 1000x better than in the past. HE steps up at the right time now and not into a sack.

3-0. hard to complain about anything. Hopefully Jones and the d-lineman get healthy
It’s hard to complain about anything? Hold up, is this CC’s wife? Does he know you’re using his account?

Yeah agree on the OPI calls. They were horrible. Kilgore also got called on a non existent holding call and Miami was robbed of at least 3 before the half.

The rushing attack wasn’t a factor, but Oakland was selling out to stop the run, daring Tannehill to beat them with single coverage. He did.
Yeah, I forgot about the call on Kilgore — thanks for that reminder. The zebras certainly weren’t kind or at their best today. Thankfully, they didn’t cost Miami the W.

The Dolphins ran nearly 1/2 as many plays as the Raiders in this one, which has often been a problem for Gase in previous losses. I understand not wanting to completely abandon the run, but getting 2 yards or less on 1st and 10 (or 20) can stall an offense. Glad he finally let it fly late in the 3rd. As you mentioned, Oakland was often daring Miami to throw.

Gonna have a two game lead over the entire division. Next week basically a must win for the Pats
I expect New England to come back and win this one by holding Detroit to FGs in the 2nd half. But we’ll see. I’ll never fret a Patriot loss, but I prefer to see New England win big prior to facing the Dolphins. If the Pats end up 1-2 at home next week, the chippiness is going to be off the charts.

I think Miami will present some challenges for the Patriots’ defense, but the same goes for Tom and Co. vs. the Miami defense, which may find itself a little battered come next Sunday.

It’ll be a “measuring stick game” for the Dolphins, for sure. Nice not to be completely out of the division race already.
 

pdaj

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Fwiw - as much as I’d love to see Detroit finish this off and beat NE, the thought of that does make me a bit uneasy. Tough to imagine NE losing 3 in a row. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be tough next week and hopefully Miami is up to the challenge.
NE’s offense is just so damn good at home. With zero crowd noise, Brady can seemingly get the offense into a near perfect call anytime he needs to. And if they’re 1-2? The intensity will surely be off the charts.

Love the Edleman’s out for this one; but, of course, Gordon will likely be unwrapped for our game. I could easily see him making the difference, like Michael Floyd did last season. Having to use Howard on him will have a trickle down effect for the likes of Hogan, Dorsett. Gronk, as always, will be a problem. MIA’s LB unit will be tested to the fullest extent.

But that’s this future fan’s problem. For tonight, I’m still in party/celebratory mode, haha.

Side note: Seeing LB chase down Jordy Nelson today was mighty impressive. That dude’s going to be quite the Nickel LB, in time.
 

pdaj

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Listening to the local radio as a MA resident will be fun this week. Not sure why so many Pats’ fans don’t recognize this, but NE has routinely looked like trash to start the season, only to end up in the Super Bowl mix once shit gets figured out. Rinse and repeat. Sure, they typically manage to win some of these early ugly games, but that’s often been vs. lowly division opponents.

Tom and Co. performed brutally tonight, but I’m selling on the, “This is the end!” storylines that some folk will be petaling. I do wonder if some of the behind-the-scenes garbage, which likely contributed to Brady missing some of the offseason, has contributed to the slow start, but I’m not betting against the machine after a 1-2 start, especially with NE missing several key players.

I do think an 11-5 season is a possibility, however. Could that second game in Miami actually be meaningful? It’s a long way away, but something to think about for now.
 

Clears Cleaver

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“The division is wide open!!”

Lolololol

As has been the case for the past 18 years, the Pats have never had to really worry about winning the division. It makes it easy to use September to see what you’ve got and December to rest banged up players if need be. It’s an advantage no other team has had. The best QB other than Brady during that time has been chad Pennington. Second best might be Tannehill!

The Kilgore hold was the other penalty I referenced early, along w Stills OPI. Awful.

I still don’t know what the plan is on third and 1. Gore I guess?

Hopefully the d-line gets healthy and 20 is 100 percent.
 

sodenj5

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Listening to the local radio as a MA resident will be fun this week. Not sure why so many Pats’ fans don’t recognize this, but NE has routinely looked like trash to start the season, only to end up in the Super Bowl mix once shit gets figured out. Rinse and repeat. Sure, they typically manage to win some of these early ugly games, but that’s often been vs. lowly division opponents.

Tom and Co. performed brutally tonight, but I’m selling on the, “This is the end!” storylines that some folk will be petaling. I do wonder if some of the behind-the-scenes garbage, which likely contributed to Brady missing some of the offseason, has contributed to the slow start, but I’m not betting against the machine after a 1-2 start, especially with NE missing several key players.

I do think an 11-5 season is a possibility, however. Could that second game in Miami actually be meaningful? It’s a long way away, but something to think about for now.
I think we’ve all seen this movie before. I refuse to count the Patriots out until they’re mathematically eliminated.

Looking objectively at the matchup, what Miami has been able to do with Grant and Wilson and stretch the field horizontally as well as vertically has to be a big concern for New England. They just don’t appear to have the speed to matchup and chase these guys across the field.

Oakland made an effort to take away the running game. I would imagine New England does the same, trying to force Miami into third and longs and dare Tannehill to beat you.

On defense, obviously the boogeyman is 87. I think you see a lot of man coverage on the outside. Hogan and Dorsett aren’t scaring me. Howard and McCain should be able to handle them. It’s all about bottling up Gronk and defending the RBs out of the backfield.

If Reshad Jones can play Sunday, I feel a lot better. There seemed to be a bunch of errors in the secondary with Minkah back there. I don’t think that’s an indictment on him, that just happens when you shuffle pieces around back there. Putting Minkah back in the slot where he can play closer to the LOS and matchup with Gronk and the RBs is more beneficial for Miami in this game.
 

tims4wins

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Unfortunately for you guys it's likely you'll run into a pissed off Pats team. That said, clearly the Pats aren't playing well, so this should be a tight one.
 

sodenj5

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Unfortunately for you guys it's likely you'll run into a pissed off Pats team. That said, clearly the Pats aren't playing well, so this should be a tight one.
Running into a team with their backs against the wall at home is definitely less than ideal. Is what it is. A bigger game for New England than Miami, which is bizarre to say. If Miami scratches out a win, that’s as big as a Week 4 win can get.
 

tims4wins

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Running into a team with their backs against the wall at home is definitely less than ideal. Is what it is. A bigger game for New England than Miami, which is bizarre to say. If Miami scratches out a win, that’s as big as a Week 4 win can get.
Right, and we've already seen it a bunch this year this week - the more desperate team seems to win a lot of these games.
 

dwainw

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Well, regardless of the outcome next weekend, the Dolphins will leave Foxboro in first place at the 1/4 point of the season. While none of us are under any illusion about how the Patriots will make the adjustments needed to retain their lofty status within the AFC, it's refreshing as hell to go into that game with nothing to lose. It'll be the most relaxed I've been going into that particular game in a long time.
 

sodenj5

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Well, regardless of the outcome next weekend, the Dolphins will leave Foxboro in first place at the 1/4 point of the season. While none of us are under any illusion about how the Patriots will make the adjustments needed to retain their lofty status within the AFC, it's refreshing as hell to go into that game with nothing to lose. It'll be the most relaxed I've been going into that particular game in a long time.
I wouldn’t necessarily say they have nothing to lose. You’re right that they’ll leave in first place regardless, but the Patriots are more likely to get better than worse as the season progresses.

If Miami can get a W in New England, they would be essentially 3 games up on the Pats with a win in their back pocket already. The Pats are clearly on the ropes, and securing a win on Sunday can make that hole New England is in just that much deeper.

Before the season, I think everyone chalked this game up as a loss for Miami, however I think they have a legitimate chance to go in there and get a win.

I would expect the kitchen sink from both sides of the ball in New England. I think they know they need this win and Miami needs to be on high alert. I’m thinking something along the lines of that shovel pass jet sweep with Dorsett. Something we haven’t seen from them yet to generate a big play or two.
 

pdaj

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I'm hoping the storyline this week from the national media is something like, "The Patriots are going to knock the Dolphins back into reality." Fortunately, I still think Miami's at least another win away from the media ass-kissing. Sure, we're talking about NFL professionals, but most of these guys are on their phones checking Twitter literally 10-15 minutes after the end of games. Please let the disrespect continue.

This Miami team was labeled as a 3-5 squad with "bottom 5 level talent," by just about everyone nationally, while only a select few locally recognized that the Dolphins were finally building the team intelligently. No more "stars and scrubs" roster building; but instead, quality depth with known hardworking, team-oriented professionals and diverse playmakers on offense. Building through the draft. Additionally, the Gase factor was completely forgotten following a 6-win season minus his starting QB, the loss of a BYE, an AOL starting LB, and a trip to London. The year prior, Gase went 10-6 and made the playoffs with Matt Moore playing the last 1/4 of the season, and a defense figuratively held together with duck tape.

That all said aside, I agree with Sodenj5. The Dolphins do have something to lose ... which is a great opportunity to grab a game from New England while they're scuffling quite a bit. At times like this, especially at home, the Patriots have let teams beat themselves. They'll be conservative on offense, play bend-but-don't-break defense, and put forth a stellar Special Teams effort. No turnovers or stupid penalties. Just get the W and move on.
 
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sodenj5

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Agreed that Miami will still be able to play the disrespect card. Pull off a win in NE, move to 4-0, and go up three on NE, and people will start talking positively.

I think most people realize Miami is better than they thought, but they’re reserving judgement until they see a statement win against a good team.

Lose in NE and the narrative of “who have they beat” and mediocre will continue.
 

pdaj

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Agreed that Miami will still be able to play the disrespect card. Pull off a win in NE, move to 4-0, and go up three on NE, and people will start talking positively.

I think most people realize Miami is better than they thought, but they’re reserving judgement until they see a statement win against a good team.
Some of the early injuries this season for Miami, Williams Hayes being the latest, are really unfortunate. Hayes was a bit underrated, and he contributed to a defensive line depth that is one of the strengths of the team. The Dolphins have benefitted from a well distributed D-Line rotation, which may be a little harder to replicate now with Hayes season-ending injury and Andre Branch being a bit banged up. Hopefully Branch can go on Sunday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kendall Langford re-signed and/or Jonathan Woodard promoted from the Practice Squad. Both of these guys could fill in nicely. At this point, I think it's fair to question Gase keeping 4 QB, with depth arguably best needed elsewhere.

Speaking of Miami's DL rotation, New England loves to go no-huddle at home, which will likely make substitutions more difficult.
 

RedOctober3829

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Some of the early injuries this season for Miami, Williams Hayes being the latest, are really unfortunate. Hayes was a bit underrated, and he contributed to a defensive line depth that is one of the strengths of the team. The Dolphins have benefitted from a well distributed D-Line rotation, which may be a little harder to replicate now with Hayes season-ending injury and Andre Branch being a bit banged up. Hopefully Branch can go on Sunday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kendall Langford re-signed and/or Jonathan Woodard promoted from the Practice Squad. Both of these guys could fill in nicely. At this point, I think it's fair to question Gase keeping 4 QB, with depth arguably best needed elsewhere.

Speaking of Miami's DL rotation, New England loves to go no-huddle at home, which will likely make substitutions more difficult.
Rapaport tweets that Andre Branch is going to be out a few weeks with a knee injury.
 

pdaj

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Rapaport tweets that Andre Branch is going to be out a few weeks with a knee injury.
Ugh. If Akeem Spence gets suspended for whatever behavior (still unknown) lead to his ejection yesterday, the Dolphins are going to be really short up front in this one. Got to get Kendall Langford back in Miami ASAP, and Charles Harris is going to have to step up and play well.

I haven't seen any update on Reshad Jones yet, but obviously his status will be significant, as well.
 

pdaj

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https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article218928230.html

The Patriots dynasty is under siege. But the front-running Dolphins aren’t buying it.

“We’ve played three games. I mean, they’re going to do the same thing they always do — they’ll get better every week,” Miami coach Adam Gase said Monday. “They have a really good coaching staff and they have a Hall of Fame quarterback. I mean, the records are irrelevant right now. It doesn’t mean anything.”
It's nice having a HC that gets it.
 

pdaj

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Michael Lombardi has chimed in on New England. I recommend that you all check out the full article, which I linked below. Per The Athletic:

https://theathletic.com/544893/2018/09/24/new-england-patriots-week-3-nfl-lions-tom-brady-bill-belichick/


There are two annual rituals that occur in late September in America. One is that autumn begins. The other is that many folks around the NFL ask whether the Patriots’ dominating run is finally coming to a close ... And this time, for the first time, I have my doubts that things will get better.
One of the many things Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has always been able to do is define roles for players on each side of the ball. One player leaves and another one comes in to seamlessly fill the role. That transition has not occurred so far this season. Their 2018 first-round running back Sony Michel has not adequately replaced Dion Lewis ... no one on the current roster has replaced wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who was traded to the Rams this offseason ... And no one on the current roster has replaced wide receiver, Danny Amendola. Amendola gave the Patriots’ offense a high degree of toughness, as well as critical third-down catches.
The foundation of the Patriots’ success on offense relies on trust — it’s as vital as any play they execute, and without it, the Patriots can not consistently move the ball. Right now, it’s obvious that quarterback Tom Brady does not trust his teammates, and for good reason.
... No wonder Belichick took a risk with receiver Josh Gordon. Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews, both released in August, weren’t able to fill Cooks’ role, and now the Patriots hope Gordon can. The 2013 version of Gordon would quickly fill that role; however, questions surround his ability and consistent availability, as well as whether he can earn Brady’s trust.
... As for who will replace Lewis? That’s more problematic, and the Pats must hope they were right with their evaluation of Michel, because Lewis was a vital component of their spread attack. Without a play and space-making talent in the backfield, everything relies on Brady to be perfect with each throw.
On the defensive side of the ball, the problems are just as significant, and those have been problems for quite some time. Does anyone remember Super Bowl 52 when the Eagles marched up and down the field? The Patriots gained 613 yards of offense in just over 26 minutes and lost. The Patriots are painfully slow on defense.
In the past, the Patriots’ ability on offense had helped to mask or at least off-set these problems with their defense. The Patriots always have led the NFL in first-half point differential. They score quickly and play from in front which helps their defense. So far this year, that has not been the case. They have allowed 40 points in the first half and scored just 27, which makes them minus-13. They cannot convert third downs, nor can they stop their opponents’ from converting third downs. When the Patriots’ offense does not carry the water for the defense, things look bad — really bad.
 
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dwainw

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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that a Miami win this week would be anything but huge. My "nothing to lose" comment was a simple fan's perspective on the level of anxiety involved in watching the game, knowing it's far from a season-killer if things don't go well. That is a refreshing feeling as a Dolphins fan. And I say that knowing full well that as the game unfolds, I'll be as big a wreck as I always am, if not more, knowing how important a win it would be if they are in a position to pull it off. That is an exhilarating feeling as a Dolphins fan.

Optimism has to be tempered by the injury situation, no doubt. That Raiders win came at a huge cost. I just read that Hayes actually hurt himself while trying to let up on Carr on the play due to the new rules. Good God. And Branch is expected to be out 2 - 4 weeks. The later-than-usual bye could end up biting us a bit as well.
 

sodenj5

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I think the Pats problems all go back to the WR position on offense. Hogan and Dorsett just aren’t scaring teams and Patterson has been Patterson. Teams are doubling Gronk and they’ve predictably struggled.

I was higher on Michel but I think he doesn’t look 100% up to speed after his knee procedure and is still finding his way.

Everything comes down to trust with Brady. He has to know you’re going to be in the right spot at the right time when the ball comes out. Right now, he trusts James White and Gronk. That’s about it.

That’s why I’m not losing sleep over Josh Gordon, at least this week. He might garner some attention, but I feel confident that if they need a first down or a TD, he’s looking to Gronk or James White, not Josh Gordon.

I personally feel like Xavien Howard can erase Gordon if he plays. McCain can handle Dorsett or Hogan. It’s still all about slowing down Gronk and White/Burkhead/Michel.

If Reshad Jones plays, I think Miami can take this game. If he doesn’t and Miami is forced to play McTyer and Minkah at FS again, that could be trouble. Miami struggled to defend the middle of the field against Oakland and had too many errors. The Pats will expose that.
 

pdaj

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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that a Miami win this week would be anything but huge. My "nothing to lose" comment was a simple fan's perspective on the level of anxiety involved in watching the game, knowing it's far from a season-killer if things don't go well.
No worries at all, man; I understood what you were saying. It’s definitely nice to be in the driver’s seat, for a change. This game’s a big opportunity for Miami, but the season’s far from off track if it ends in a loss.

I was higher on Michel but I think he doesn’t look 100% up to speed after his knee procedure and is still finding his way.

Everything comes down to trust with Brady. He has to know you’re going to be in the right spot at the right time when the ball comes out. Right now, he trusts James White and Gronk. That’s about it.

That’s why I’m not losing sleep over Josh Gordon, at least this week. He might garner some attention, but I feel confident that if they need a first down or a TD, he’s looking to Gronk or James White, not Josh Gordon.
When it’s all said and done, New England’s going to figure it out and be one of the AFC contenders. The return of Edelman will be huge, as will Burkhead’s health; and there’s no question in my mind that Michel will improve as the season goes on. And if Gordon can contribute? These are all considerable factors.

But it doesn’t mean Brady hasn’t slipped a bit, or that Gronk isn’t possibly a step slower. The loss of Cooks and Lewis may have been underappreciated. Overall, the team may not be as talented as they have been over the last decade. Perhaps that leads to only 10 or 11 wins?

If so, the division is likely in play this year; and playing for that prize late in the season in Miami, having already beaten the Patriots in Foxborough, would be quite an event.

The Patriots are scuffling at the moment, but we’ll see just how much come this Sunday. Historically, at home, they manage to find a way to win, even if it’s ugly as all hell.

In other news, per Barry Jackson, Miami has signed 2 players. The first is LB Martrell Spaight, who’s considered a strong ST contributor. With Chase Allen on the mend for at least a week, he’ll fill in on special teams and provide LB depth. Meanwhile, William Hayes was placed on IR. DE Jonathan Woodard will be promoted from the Practice Squad. He’s a big, strong dude who played well in PS. I’m interested to see how he does. Tanner McEvoy was waived to make room for Spaight.
 
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sodenj5

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So I was reading Football Outsiders DVOA rankings for this week and Miami is currently their second ranked team in DVOA.

However, maybe more importantly, based on their opponent’s current DVOA Miami has the easiest remaining schedule in the league. A big part of that is New England looking bad the first three weeks. Using DAVE, which is adjusted for preseason expectations (which would give NE significantly more credit than they currently have) Miami’s schedule still ranks 31st.

Their current playoff odds are 81.6% and a 65.7% chance of winning the division. Using just their preseason DAVE projections, they still have Miami making the playoffs at 55%.

All of this basically points to Miami wildly defying preseason expectations as well as their opponents underperforming.

Miami is a legitimate playoff contender based on their own merits combined with what looks to be a softer than expected schedule.
 

dwainw

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Honestly, regardless of what happens in New England, that game at Cinci the following week could prove to be surprisingly pivotal. It's potentially the toughest conference road game left on the schedule (at Houston, maybe?, at Buffalo in December, will it snow?). A win there would set them up nicely in the AFC heading toward the second half of the season .
 

sodenj5

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Honestly, regardless of what happens in New England, that game at Cinci the following week could prove to be surprisingly pivotal. It's potentially the toughest conference road game left on the schedule (at Houston, maybe?, at Buffalo in December, will it snow?). A win there would set them up nicely in the AFC heading toward the second half of the season .
100% agreed. While I was looking through the DVOA rankings, I noticed Cincy is ranked 4th. They have a far more difficult remaining strength of schedule, but that game might carry just as much, if not more significance than the Patriots game.

Big two week stretch coming up. We will know much more about this team after those games.
 

Clears Cleaver

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I think Pats target Gronk 15 times, especially if Jones is not playing. Can Miami defend him? or get to Brady? I think Pats score at least 24 points
Can Pats get to Tannehill? They need to do because if he gets any time, Miami's speed will kill the Pats. That's the game to me, and whether Miami can establish any kid of running game to convert third downs. Miami scores at least 21
So I guess I think Pats win by 3
 

rymflaherty

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I’m not sure I should admit this (don’t want to jinx things) but I haven’t felt this confident in a “big” Dolphins game in quite some time.
The Dolphins ATS may be one of my favorite plays of the day. But not only do I think they cover, but I think they win, and not only do they win, it’s something along the lines of 27-16.

And now we get to see if I’ve set myself up for a very disappointing Sunday...
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Dolphins win this easy. 2+ possession game. Tannehill is the kind of QB that gives slow defenses fits, the Dolphins will have the ball for 38 minutes, and the Patriots offense will continue to suffer until Edelman comes back.
 

dwainw

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Dolphins win this easy. 2+ possession game. Tannehill is the kind of QB that gives slow defenses fits, the Dolphins will have the ball for 38 minutes, and the Patriots offense will continue to suffer until Edelman comes back.
I don't follow the other Patriots threads, but you must be a real ray of sunshine over there. ;)
So how would you see this game going if Edelman was available?
I’m not sure I should admit this (don’t want to jinx things) but I haven’t felt this confident in a “big” Dolphins game in quite some time.
The Dolphins ATS may be one of my favorite plays of the day. But not only do I think they cover, but I think they win, and not only do they win, it’s something along the lines of 27-16.

And now we get to see if I’ve set myself up for a very disappointing Sunday...
If I knew you and if I was anywhere near you, I swear I'd punch you right in the mouth. Unless you were a lot bigger than me.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I don't follow the other Patriots threads, but you must be a real ray of sunshine over there. ;)
So how would you see this game going if Edelman was available?

If I knew you and if I was anywhere near you, I swear I'd punch you right in the mouth. Unless you were a lot bigger than me.
The slot receiver is Bradys most important binky. It keeps the chains moving. Without a good one, the offense doesnt rip off sustained drives, the Patriots dont succeed in their ultimate gameplan (winning field position), and the defense is left to do what they've done so far this season.

A health Edelman really does flip the script. It keeps our shit defense off the field and helps create longer fields for our opponents to drive. Longer fields, more plays. More plays, more chances for mistakes (dropped catches, missing first down markers, turnovers, botched blocking assignments, etc).

I said it when Welker was here, and I'll say the same thing for Edelman. The slot receivers really are that important for the Patriots.
 

dwainw

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The slot receiver is Bradys most important binky. It keeps the chains moving. Without a good one, the offense doesnt rip off sustained drives, the Patriots dont succeed in their ultimate gameplan (winning field position), and the defense is left to do what they've done so far this season.

A health Edelman really does flip the script. It keeps our shit defense off the field and helps create longer fields for our opponents to drive. Longer fields, more plays. More plays, more chances for mistakes (dropped catches, missing first down markers, turnovers, botched blocking assignments, etc).

I said it when Welker was here, and I'll say the same thing for Edelman. The slot receivers really are that important for the Patriots.
Thanks for the response. And to be clear, it wasn't you I wanted to punch.
 

pdaj

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I do agree that Edelman’s absence is absolutely gigantic for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. I was elated when I learned that Miami would be one of the 4 teams to benefit from his early-season suspension. He’s just that important as a middle-of-the-field, zone-busting, 3rd-down converter.

Additionally, if BB can manage to salvage just one strong season of play from Gordon, that would be equally as significant. In 3 or 4 games from now, the Patriots offense could look a lot different. But, fortunately, that time isn’t now.

That said, I believe that, without a doubt, New England will find a way to manufacture offense tomorrow. I also think there’s a considerable chance that they’ll be the better red zone team. With strong special teams play and 0 turnovers from NE, that could be the difference.

The more I watch Miami’s defense, the more I loathe Kiko Alonso, who is, unfortunately, almost always on the field. Yes, he sometimes makes big plays, but he’s more often out of position and/or the victim of poor angles and decision-making. I think it’s possible that he gets absolutely abused tomorrow.

If Miami is to win this game, they’ll need an A-plus performance from Gase and Tannehill, which hasn’t happened often on the road. In fact, it still hasn’t happened this year. The Dolphins’ offense has sputtered in each game for 1-2 quarters, only to be saved by big defensive and/or Special Teams plays.

The Dolphins have to come out swinging and executing; and when they get into striking distance, they need to convert. Otherwise, they’ll come up short. Even if NE manages to grab the win in ugly, blue-collar fashion.
 

sodenj5

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Reshad Jones likely out for this game according to reports.

I legit think he could be the difference between a W and an L. I’m still hopeful, but my expectations are lowered now.
 

pdaj

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No Reshad Jones, in combination with the Oakland week casualties, seriously deflates Miami's chances today. It's really unfortunate. Had Miami been able to go into this game at least nearly locked and loaded, I think "we" would have had better than a "puncher's chance". Now I think the Dolphins will need a well-timed uppercut, i.e. the offensive performance of Gase/Tannehill's career.
 

rymflaherty

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Okay, the Jones inactive and seeing Gordon active for NE has deflated my enthusiasm some. More so the Jones news, that is a big loss for today...
 

dwainw

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Damn. Very disappointing news to start the pre-game buildup. Parker is out, too. Miami's going to have to be creative and gritty as hell to stay in this game today.
 
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