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Patriots 2015 Opponents, A Second Five Impressions of the Dolphins

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
8 years ago at 8:47 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Patriots 2015 Opponents, A Second Five Impressions of the DolphinsStew Milne - USA TODAY Sports


The Patriots make the trip down to South Beach to face another division rival on Sunday in a game against the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots (12-3), lost to the Jets 26-20 in overtime and need the win to secure the top seed in the AFC. Denver beat Cincinnati in OT on Monday night and both teams are now 11-4. Injuries continue to be the prevailing story line as the team lost LT Sebastian Vollmer on Sunday. His replacement LaAdrian Waddle later went down as well.

The team was already without their two starting safeties (Devin McCourty and Pat Chung), two top wide receivers (Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola), and top two running backs (LaGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis) among others. Chung’s replacement Jordan Richards was hurt on the first play of OT and his replacement, Tavon Wilson was victimized on the very first play for a 48-yard gain that set the Jets up for the win.

The Dolphins (5-10), poor season continued with an 18-12 loss against the Indianapolis Colts. Things don’t look good for interim head coach Dan Campbell to continue with the way the team is playing.

The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday and will be televised by the CBS with the announcing crew of Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon on the call. The game can also be heard on the Patriots flagship radio station of 98.5 the Sports Hub with the voice of the Pats Bob Socci on the call with Scott Zolak.

Here are our second five impressions of the Dolphins:

Tannehill Battered at QB: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill has been battered and bruised and Sunday was no exception. He was sacked six times and hit so hard his teammates commented he could barely catch his breath in the huddle.

His leg was wrapped after the game on Sunday and he walked with a noticeable limp. There were reports from the Miami Herald last week that Tannehill played Sunday even after there was supposedly blood in his urine.

No one has been sacked more (183) than Tannehill since he took over for the Dolphins in 2012. But he’s been a tough customer and completed his 63rd straight start for Miami on Sunday. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 329 yards and even added a 28 yard run to put them in position to win the game at the end.

But on fourth and goal from the five-yard line with just 27 seconds left, center Jamil Douglas, making his first start for Mike Pouncey forgot the snap count and sent it early where Tannehill was unprepared. The Colts smothered Tannehill and ran out the clock.

Dolphins Have Dynamic Duo At WR: Lost in the disastrous season in Miami that began with so much promise, is the development of their two young wide receivers Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker who should have them set at the position for years to come.

Landry is already in his second year becoming one of the more dangerous and exciting players to watch. He has 104 catches on the year for 1085 yards with four touchdowns. Landry is the first Dolphin WR ever to have a 100-catch, 1000-yard season. And he’s just getting going; he’s making some acrobatic catches seem routine this season.

Parker was taken with the 14th pick of the 1st round in the 2015 NFL Draft and was slowed in his development by foot surgery. But now healthy, he’s making his presence felt. In the last five games Parker has caught 17 passes for 339 yards and a pair of scores.

The duo combined for 11 catches for 204 yards on Sunday against the Colts. Facing a Patriots defense that has recently be susceptible to giving up big plays on defense, something they were adept at preventing earlier in the year, this matchup will bear watching on Sunday.

Lamar Miller On the Outs? Production Down: In one of the more baffling developments this season, the Dolphins talented running back Lamar Miller’s numbers are way down this season as the team has cut way back on his touches.

Two weeks ago against the Chargers, Miller got only two second half carries as the team went with rookie Jay Ajayi. His numbers, with 4.9 yards per rushing attempt are good enough for sixth best in the NFL. But his carries, with only 160 are the 23rd most so he has only 781 yards rushing. For a talented player like Miller, that number should be much higher.

There’s been some speculation in Miami that the team is limiting his carries to keep him under 1000 yards this season in an attempt to low-ball him in contract talks. Miller is a free agent in 2016 and will probably be a hot commodity, despite his lack of carries this year.

Miller has made it clear, that he wants to play in the post-season, so he may be taking his talents elsewhere next season. He can run, block and catch the ball out of the backfield. So take a long look at Miller on Sunday, he could a potential FA stud.

Miami Defense…back to Square One: With the signing of Ndamukong Suh this offseason, the Miami defense was supposed to transform itself into a tough unit that could get them over the hump and back into the playoffs. But that hasn’t worked out.

Miami’s pass defense has suffered this season; Brent Grimes after two stellar seasons has struggled this year and the Dolphins have allowed the fourth most touchdown passes this season in the entire league. Opposing QBs have a passer rating of 98.8 against the Dolphins which is 25th in the league.

While Indy didn’t find the end zone on Sunday thru the air, that may have had more to do with the play of 3rd string QB Charlie Whitehurst than it did the Miami secondary.

The Miami run defense has improved somewhat and is now ranked 13th in yards allowed but still gives up 4.0 yards per attempt and 108.9 yards per game. There could be plenty of changes in the Miami defense in 2016, with a new coach and possibly a new GM, this team will be looking to rebuild again.

Miko Grimes Continues Twitter Assault: As if the Dolphins and interim coach Dan Campbell doesn’t have enough problems, he’s been forced to answer questions about CB Brent Grimes wife Miko who’s been outspoken on Twitter all season. Now her latest target is QB Ryan Tannehill.

She took to Twitter on Sunday and unleashed a barrage of expletives at Tannerhill that are not for the faint of heart. Omar Kelly, one of the beat writers for the Dolphins and used to do a radio show with Grimes stated that she doesn’t post anything without the okay of her husband. So this latest tirade against Tannehill could signal a rift in the Dolphins locker room…or not.

Brent Grimes has been talked to numerous times this season by the Dolphins front office because of his wife’s behavior because it reflects poorly on the Dolphins’ organization as a whole.

She was fired from her radio gig after an altercation with the cops outside of the Dolphins stadium prior to a game this year. Charges were later dropped but it didn’t sit well with Miami brass. Now her attacks on Tannehill mark just another black mark on the 2015 season that has gotten as ugly as her remarks.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: Bill Belichick Brent Grimes Dan Campbell Devante Parker Jarvis Landry Lamar Miller Miami Dolphins Miko Grimes Ndamukong Suh New England Patriots NFL Patriots Ryan Tannehill Tom Brady

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