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Dolphins tape breakdown

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by pats1, Dec 7, 2009.

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  1. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just the first half for now - I'll get to the second half tomorrow:

    Run offense:
    Generally the Pats ran the ball with 2 or even 3 TEs (LeVoir), using a number of pulls, traps, and even an unbalanced line. Since the Dolphins stayed in their base defense and didn't counter with any extra big men, the Pats were generally successful running in the first half. Connolly was especially solid, while Kaczur had his share of problems. Moss also was blown back by a CB on a play and pancaked into Maroney's rushing lane. Other problems came when the Pats got in the red zone and tried to line Morris up at FB and Maroney at RB; Morris is quite simply not a lead blocker and that play didn't work. Instead, the Pats went to the draw on their next play, which was successful (their 2nd touchdown). The Pats' blockers generally took care of the DL, but it was the ILBs and SS that gave them problems; they were able to gobble up some good 4-5 yd gains before the SS got to the RB, though.

    (Forgot one): I'm going to disagree a bit here with the description offered by a Miami writer on the failed 4th-and-1 Morris run in the 2nd. While the Pats certainly didn't get any OL push on the play, they didn't allow any penetration either. On a FB dive, with inches to go, Morris saw the wall of blockers in front of him, and had three choices, in my mind: (1) jump and dive (2) lower his pads and push forward (3) turn and lower one pad and try to squeeze through a hole. His choice? #3. It didn't work, and that's not the type of running I would expect out of Morris. There wasn't a free linebacker in the area to stop Morris from diving forward, nor was there a penetrating DL to stop him from trying to push the OL forward. Still, he decided not to keep his shoulders square to the line and instead turned one shoulder into the pile (while at the same stopping his forward progress and going vertical) and tried to sneak through sideways, something Maroney is known for. Hardly a surprise, it didn't work.

    Pass offense:
    There was more play action here than I remembered. The Pats typically kept six in to block, taking the TE out of the passing game. The blocking, though, was solid, especially on the part of Connolly and Light; it should be noted that the Dolphins showed blitz on numerous occasions but actually blitzed very little in the first half. Accuracy wise, Brady was on-target, except for one throw in the red zone, you may remember, where he had plenty of time and Welker beat his man outside, but Brady just sailed it over the sideline. Welker was his usual self, running some beautiful patterns. The screen game was used some too, although Moss again blew a key block on that Faulk 3rd-and-short screen that wasn't converted.

    Run defense:
    The very little the Dolphins ran the ball, it was mostly off the play action and against the Pats' base defense (the 3-4). In that case, what gave the Pats the most trouble were the guard bubbles, specifically Mayo's. I'll get into it more in the next section, but the Pats were very careful about giving up big plays over the middle of the field, leading to Mayo not only staying home on the play action, but actually taking his first step away from the ball. As such, the G was able to meet him six yards off the line, opening up a hole that was either filled by the other ILB (Seau once, Guyton once) or a CB (Bodden, when he got hurt). The Pats also rotated linemen a bit, playing Wright at the nose and also Pryor, shifting Wilfork outside. Pryor plays a different NT, more of a 4-point stance and a low squat; on the inevitable double, this led to him getting too low to the ground and his knees buckling. Wright plays off the ball a bit more as a NT and fared better. As a DE, Wilfork was a machine, coming off the weakside on a run and catching the RB from behind. Last, the Dolphins used an unbalanced line for a handful of plays, all of which the Pats made the correct adjustment to (moved the weak DE over the ball and NT over strong G). In the one play they used the "pistol" with White, Banta-Cain bit on the fake but kept his head in it (thanks to Long whiffing on the block) and was able to pressure White on the option, with Green breaking free to cover the pitch back.

    Pass defense:
    Especially in the 2nd quarter (before the last drive), the Pats brought a pretty heavy blitz on almost every single play. However, the Dolphins countered this by keeping seven in (RB and TE). Still, this blitz was able to generate that sack in the 1st and later in the second had at least 2-3 hurries on Henne, and for all of them he stared down the rusher and delivered an accurate pass. When the Pats did blitz, though, it typically left the flats uncovered, meaning a DB or LB had to come up/over to make the tackle. Speaking of tackling, it was so-so for the half. Mayo and Wilhite whiffed on a big 3rd down play on the final drive, while Butler whiffed on Bess' TD earlier.

    As I mentioned in the last section, the Pats, as part of their game plan, were obviously concerned with the passing game over the middle. If you recall the Week 3 game from 2008, both the TE Fasano and WR Camarillo made some big plays over the middle, usually going over the top of the ILBs on a play action. That led to Mayo playing further back than usual and honoring that TE, and also led to the Pats playing a lot of cover one, putting McGowan in the lower middle third of the field, over the TE. As a result, the Dolphins did very little over the middle in this half, except for one pass on their two-minute drive late in the 2nd when the safeties were playing prevent. The Pats also honored the TE by bringing Chung onto the field whenever the Dolphins went to a 1 WR/2 TE package, instead of leaving a CB on the empty edge. However, the Cover-1 had an impact on the CBs. Without safety help over the top (Meriweather played the single deep zone, and had his pick when Chung was in tight nickel coverage on Bess), the corners generally had to play conservative, keeping everything in front of them. This is what led to a lot of those Bess catches we saw on Butler; because he had no immediate help over the top, Butler needed to play back and make a solid tackle on the stuff in front of him, and for the most part he did. Both CBs were on islands, simply put.

    Special teams:
    Nothing really of note here, except one funny moment on one of the Dolphins' early KRs. On the return, one of the Dolphins blockers got beat by a Pats coverage guy and was turned around. When he turned back around downfield, the Dolphins blocker immediately saw a guy in his face and landed a pretty good block on him. The problem? It was another white jersey. As the two Dolphins blocked each other, their KR was tackled behind their block.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  2. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Awesome! About time!
  3. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    about the cb's on islands....are they not good enough to keep with their man a little bit closer, or u think they were too worried about a big play which might result and overestimated miami's wrs?
  4. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think what they were worried about more was playing underneath a WR and having them catch it over them and then have a big gain before the FS could come across the field to make the tackle. When you have a safety high on your side of the field, you can afford to play routes underneath, because you're going to have a FS to mop up if the throw gets over your head. So it's not exactly getting beat deep on a long pass, because in that case the FS will probably give you some help. It's really a case of staying back and keeping short passes to short YAC and 5-10 yd gains instead of having short passes get lots of YAC and go for 25-30 yd. gains.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  5. SVN

    SVN Rookie

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    Thanks! Hopefully all of the screaming about corners playing back will get this explanation...
  6. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm pretty convinced scheme played a part. I will see for sure once I watch the second half today.
  7. WhiZa

    WhiZa Rookie

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    You mention they prevented the deep ball, but if the Pats blitz shouldn't you expect that Henne won't be throwing deep as the pressure would get their faster then the WRs could run the route? I remember seeing 3rd down plays the Pats blitzed and almost got the QB but the WRs just ran underneath and Henne was able to do the quick checkdown for 5-10 yards and a first down. I would think the best approach would be to blitz, and then bump the receiver making it harder to hookup on quick a timing route giving that extra second to the pass rushers.
  8. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't disagree. The thing is, the Dolphins generally kept their checkdown options in to cover the blitz and give Henne extra time.
  9. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Tom Curran did a little tape review of his own:

    A little tape review from Fins

    You should recognize the things I put in bold.
  10. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    "You can see the confusion/frustration building between Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien and Dante Scarnecchia. Prior to the fourth-down play in the first half there was uncertainty about what to call and a lot of conversation punctuated by a Belichick "Goddammit!" "

    Very interesting...
  11. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Great thread and posts pats1, I really enjoy reading and learning from these types of threads.
  12. WhiZa

    WhiZa Rookie

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    I remember that scene, and I don't think it was confusion about what to call. They were waiting to see when the game clock was going to start up so they can get to the 2 minute warning and think about it.
  13. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    As someone who's been talking about the inconsistent play on the offensive line and the lack of a fullback, this is what stood out for me. If you can't block, you can't run.

    Somewhere around is a description of the O-line getting absolutely destroyed on the 4th and 1 inside the Miami 10, as well. It's very telling when you read that the entire left side got beaten and the Patriots went with Morris instead of Maroney behind a Morris lead block. That's the sort of thing that's really hurting the offense.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  14. SVN

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    will the pats actually bench kaczur and replace him with vollmer after the contract ext they gave kaczur ? Thats what i would be interested to see.
  15. capetide

    capetide Rookie

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    While he's had a few games where he performed adequately, it's become more and more obvious that either Kaczur gets help or he will get beat with alarming frequency (and most importantly, to the risk of the health of the QB).
  16. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    Well, they could cut Kaczur.

    His bonus is 3 million and it's an option bonus that isn't to be paid until 2010.
  17. condon84

    condon84 Rookie

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    Thanks. I feel so much better about signing Kazcur to that long term deal.
  18. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Alright, here's the 3rd quarter:

    Run offense:
    Again, a pretty successful area of the game. The Pats seem to be most successful when they engaged the ILBs early and opened up some space and ran vertically. They tried a few stretch plays that were both utter disasters; one of them featured Baker and Mankins both whiffing on their blocks.

    Pass offense:
    For the most part, the Dolphins played Cover-5, keeping two safeties deep and playing man under. However, their ILBs were aggressive in the running game and blitzed often, opening some holes over the middle of the field that the Pats only exploited once (Welker). When the Dolphins went to a Cover-1 (Aiken TD), Brady took note of the lack of safety over the top on the edge and that's one of the reasons he was eager to throw it up to Aiken. The other would be that Koppen blew his block on Starks, and because Connolly already slid over to help Kaczur, Starks was able to get a good hit on Brady after the throw. However, the Dolphins did stay with two deep safeties most of the time, which leads to me questioning Brady's decision to toss it up to Moss on the play when the safety almost intercepted it and Moss had to play defense.

    Run defense:

    The Pats had their share of ups and downs in this area. The one obvious down would be the 4th-and-1 from the 9-yd line when Polite converted the first down. On that play, Pryor was doubled at the point of attack and never recovered, while Wright didn't get any push either. One one of the drives, the Pats subbed in Ninkovich, Sanders, Wright, and Pryor, taking a number of starters off the field. However, Pryor had a good play too, when he shot the gap on a 3rd-and-short and blew up the run in the backfield.

    Pass defense:
    Again, the Pats focused mainly on defending the middle of the field, which worked for all but one play, where Guyton dropped into a zone but didn't honor the TE coming up and behind him; he should have broken and pursued once the TE got past, but instead he continued in a spy and broke way too late to make a play on the ball. The Pats seemed to use more zone coverage in this half, too, especially in the red zone. On one play (which I think Curran mentioned), Bodden broke from zone and tried to make a run for the QB after Henne stared down one side of the field; just as Bodden broke, Henne turned back to the other side but missed the open WR badly (Seau threw his hands up in the air, BB actually gave Bodden a high-five after his explanation). However, a few plays later, Bodden got hi/lowed on a red zone play, the Hartline TD, and couldn't quite make it to the back corner of the end zone in time to make a play. Pass rush wise, the Pats continued to bring the blitz, but the Dolphins routinely kept their TE and RB in (even passing out of the unbalanced line) for protection, taking away Henne's checkdowns. Burgess, though, was generally ineffective, even falling flat on his face after extending his arms out while rushing.
  19. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Excellent breakdown, Pats1. Looking forward to the 4th Q. NFLN replay is tomorrow night so I'll be looking at the things you bring up.
  20. SVN

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    NFLN playbook today they showed a play where the front 4 occupied the center and guards and the edge rushers were matched up 1-1 ,dont remember who and they just could not win that match to get to henne.Thats the thing with indy , they have two guys who put pressure on all game and a fast and physical backfield which swarms to the ball and the passes.
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