It’s Patriot week and even more special, it’s Patriot week in December, and at home. Traditionally, Tom Brady and the Pats have not fared well in Miami this late in the season and Joe Philbin will look to continue that thread and inch the Dolphins closer to a possible playoff spot in the AFC.
It will not be easy however as the Pats last played on Thanksgiving giving them an extra couple days to heal up and prepare for the Dolphins. With Miami’s secondary being unable to stop many of the lesser quarterback’s they’ve faced this year, one shudders to think what Tom might do with flashbacks of last year’s season opener probably still fresh in everybody’s mind. Brady threw for over 500 yards that night and could potentially challenge that this weekend if the Dolphins don’t play their best.
This will also mark the first matchup between rookie QB Ryan Tannehill against Brady and certainly the measuring stick within the AFC East for where Ryan wants to be someday.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
Ryan Tannehill QB
Miami has been very difficult to predict recently as they faced two lower tiered defenses in Tennessee and Buffalo and laid eggs in both of them. Then against a much tougher Seattle defense, the offense came alive in the second half and looked very good. This week Tannehill will once again face a defense that statistically isn’t very strong; however, they are very smart, and also very adept at takeaways, and producing points directly from those takeaways. New England has shuffled their secondary all year and has been prone to giving up a ton of passing yards all season long, and with the Dolphins likely to be trailing the Pats for much of the game, chances are good that Tannehill will be given the chance to throw the ball around early and often. If rookie DE Chandler Jones can’t play, that could help give Ryan a little more time to complete those attempts as well.
Brian Hartline WR
Seeing that secondary that isn’t really as stiff as what Miami faced last week against Seattle, and with Tannehill having more opportunities to throw the ball around a little bit, the two men most likely to gain from that are Miami’s best receivers starting with Hartline. Hartline, who is having a career year this season, still only has one touchdown however, but does have two career TD’s against the Patriots. Miami would certainly like to see that number increase this Sunday.
Davone Bess WR
Bess is coming off a career high 129 yard game against the Seahawks, and has scored four career touchdowns against the Patriots. When Tannehill isn’t looking for Hartline he’ll certainly have Bess next on his radar. If Miami has any sort of shot against the Patriots, all three of these guys will need to produce big games and big plays to keep Tom Brady on the bench and produce touchdowns instead of field goals. Hopefully, they won’t have letdowns like the Titans and Bills games a couple weeks ago.
RB Javorskie Lane – Knee
Did not practice on Wednesday. Lane started the year getting a lot of snaps as a full time FB especially with hybrid TE/FB Charles Clay struggling. With Clay showing signs of life, Lane has started to see fewer plays, and if he is limited at all this week then it may be safer to simply use the passing game even more.
TE Anthony Fasano – Hip
Was limited in practice but should be good to go. Both Fasano and Lane being nicked up however is cause for concern especially since they can be used for extra pass protection on passing plays. The only possible benefit if Fasano can’t go would be to see if rookie TE Michael Egnew could finally be on the active roster and get a shot at some playing time in live game action.
MLB Karlos Dansby – Bicep, WR Davone Bess – Wrist, S Reshad Jones – Thumb
All worked fully in practice but should be monitored given their importance to the team and more specifically this game. Miami needs absolutely all hands on deck against the Patriots, even with them missing one of their key players in Gronkowski.
Last week we focused in on some names of players that could fill the biggest needs the Dolphins have in this upcoming draft, here we will take a look at some lesser needs or minor upgrades that could be made, especially with a few extra picks this draft season. These should be primarily middle round picks or possible guys that slide out of the top 2-3 rounds to various red flags that Miami may not worry too much about.
Javon Harris, Oklahoma
Rashard Hall, Clemson
Vaughn Telemaque, Miami
Drew Frey, Cincinnati
Carson York, Oregon
Travis Bond, North Carolina
Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M
John Sullen, Auburn
Jordan Reed, Florida
Colter Philips, Virginia
Ryan Griffin, Connecticut
Ryan Otten, San Jose State