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MORSE: Quick Thoughts After the Patriots’ 24-17 Loss to the Dolphins

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
1 week ago at 9:21 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

MORSE: Quick Thoughts After the Patriots’ 24-17 Loss to the DolphinsPaul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts After the Patriots’ 24-17 Loss to the Dolphins:

1) Speed Kills – Miami has 4 players on Offense that run in the 4.3’s 40- yard dash.  Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Devon Achane and Jaylen Waddle are also quick.  Waddle didn’t run a 3-cone drill and Achane was just over the 7.00 mark at 7.05.   Hill ran a lightning quick 6.56 and Mostert was 6.90.

2) Jonathan Jones, the fastest corner the Patriots have (4.29) missed the game.  The next fastest DB, Marcus Jones went out early with a shoulder problem.  This really put the Defense on roller skates.  They came out with the bend, don’t break defensive scheme that allowed the Dolphins a free release because the Safeties were playing an umbrella 3-deep, and the corners were 7-10 yards off the line of scrimmage.

They didn’t want to give up the big play.  Tua Tagovailoa made them pay for that, throwing to soft spots in the zone and letting the receivers run after the catch.  This worked on the 1st drive when the Defense held once Miami got into the more compressed Red Zone and the Patriots Defense didn’t have to cover as much of the field.  They held them to a Field Goal.  Then Miami figured it out and ran on the Pats because they had no SS in the box.

3) Four of the five starters on the Offensive Line had no snaps with the team in the Pre-season.  How could they possibly react as a cohesive unit?  Cole Strange blew a blocking assignment when he double teamed the Nose Guard with Center David Andrews and allowed the MLB David Long a free rush up the middle for a sack.  That stopped the Patriots’ momentum on the drive and they had to punt.

4) Vederian Lowe didn’t join the team until cut-down day, in a trade with Minnesota.  This is because Bill Belichick failed to secure an adequate starting tackle in the last three drafts.  Instead, he takes three Defensive players in the first three rounds.  They are going to be good, but it was not what we desperately needed.  Belichick leans on his days with the Giants when they made the lucky selection of Carl Banks despite the fact, they had Henry Carson and Lawrence Taylor already on the team.  His philosophy, always take the Best Player despite what your need is.

5) Speaking of Drafts.  Belichick as a head coach has only taken two wide receivers in the 1st round of the draft.  One was super bust N’Keal Harry and the other was Derrick Alexander in 1994 with the last pick in the 1st round.  You don’t get quality players, especially wide receivers, if you don’t invest in them early in the draft.

6) Pop Douglas is benched because he fumbled, killing the second Patriots drive deep in the Dolphins territory.  Despite the less than honest answer Belichick gave at the post-game press conference, he benched Douglas to teach him a lesson of how important ball security is.  Belichick has done this many times in the past, including Kevin Faulk.  Perhaps he might give some praise to Bradley Chubb who made a heck of a play to come from behind and swat the ball away.  Douglas was forced to sit on the bench clutching the football.  He will be required to carry that football everywhere now, with players trying to knock the ball out.  So, Belichick cuts off his nose to spite his face by taking away the one receiver with any juice on the team.  No receiver averaged 10 yards or more because the Patriots couldn’t throw the ball downfield.  This is due to lack of protection by the Offensive Line.

7) Why wasn’t DaVante Parker benched for his lackluster effort allowing Xavien Howard to re-route him out of bounds and make a terrific interception.  Mr. Velcro can’t separate from any DB, never mind one that is as good as Howard.  Of the 12 Interceptions Mac Jones threw last season and this, five have been attempts to throw to Parker.  The Patriots should have cut Parker and used the savings to re-sign Jakobi Meyers.  They also should not have signed JuJu Smith-Schuster.  JuJu is being worked back into the lineup slowly, managing his recovery from off-season knee surgery.  If he is not 100%, he shouldn’t be active on the roster.  Parker, Smith-Schuster and Douglas all play the same position, the slot, flanker or Z receiver.  The slot receiver should be Mike Gesicki!

8) I will also add that the Patriots are getting a bad reputation of not giving out second contracts to players they have drafted.  The word is if you want to get paid you have to leave the Patriots to get your money.  Meyers would have been the perfect player to re-sign.  They developed him from an Un-Drafted Free Agent to a starting player.  Over a silly million dollars they lose their most reliable option on offense.

9) The Patriots inability to run the ball is killing them and it won’t be any easier next week.  The Jets possess what many consider the best defensive line in the league.   The Patriots managed just 88 yards rushing and are under a 4.0 average.  Again, that points back to Offensive line inconsistency, lack of cohesion, playing time together.

10) I thought Mac Jones played well despite the issues going on around him.  He needs to read the defense better pre-snap.  He should have read the blitz and changed the play.  He did that in the third quarter and ran a play right into Christian Wikins for a tackle for loss.  In the fourth quarter he read the blitz correctly and threw a slant for a 10-yard gain.  Four sacks is too many.  The Van Ginkel sack was a complete mess up.  Henry chipped Van Ginkel right into the middle of the chest of Calvin Anderson. Knocking him off stride and allowing Van Ginkel a free run at Mac Jones.

11) There were some bright spots including a terrific special teams play by Brennen Schooler.  He blocked a FG attempt by starting in the outside gunner position like it was a punt, and sprinting down the line.  Once he saw the ball snapped he beat the edge protector and arched his way into the path of the kicked ball.  I think this play had a direct effect on a missed Field Goal later in the game as Sanders rushed the kick and hooked it wide.

12) Christian Gonzalez continues to shine.  Once Marcus Jones left the game, Gozalez was seen covering Hill a lot.  He did a very good job.  Later the Dolphins tried to test him deep and he made a great athletic leap to haul in his 1st NFL Interception.  He was also involved in the Tyreek Hill 2-yard TD.  For some unexplained reason, when the TE came in motion to his side, he took the TE, leaving Hill one-on-one with Kyle Dugger.  Total mismatch easily won by Hill.

13) Speaking of Dugger, why did the Patriots have him at single high safety?  He is not fast enough for that position.  The Patriots were shutting out the Dolphins in the second half with some good adjustments on the edges.  Miami busted a run up the middle and Dugger took the wrong angle and allowed the fast Mostert a long game winning TD.

14) Bryce Barringer continues to punt well, averaging 48 yards a kick.  His 1st three kicks were to the 15-, 7- and 8-yard lines.  His last kick was from the NE 4, and he kicked it 57 yards to Miami 39.  He outkicked his coverage though, and Berrios returned it to the NE 49.

15) Chad Ryland has his 1st Field Goal in the NFL.  He had no kicks in games during the Pre-season (why?).

More to come after I have reviewed the game’s video.


Posted Under: Patriots News

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