Dolphins look to kick Pats while they’re down
The Miami Dolphins are off to a great start to the season, but perhaps more validity will come Sunday afternoon.
That’s when the Dolphins (3-0) take on the New England Patriots (1-2) in Foxborough, Mass.
However, the Dolphins sound as if they don’t want to make too much of the assignment against the reigning AFC champions.
“We just have to keep staying the course,” Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We just have to stay true to the path that we’re on and keep getting better.”
The AFC East usually goes through the Patriots, but a Dolphins victory this weekend would give Miami a three-game edge on New England.
“It’s easy to see why they’re 3-0,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.
Most of the attention is falling on New England because it lost its past two games, 31-20 at Jacksonville and then 26-10 at Detroit.
“With the personnel we have and the guys we have, we can get the job done,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “You’ve got to put that week behind you and focus on the week coming up. Just put some plays together and keep working.”
The Patriots, who have won 19 of their past 21 home games against division opponents, haven’t endured a three-game losing streak since 2002.
“Those other games don’t matter,” Belichick said of the two-game skid.
New England has come up short in numerous areas, and the Dolphins will arrive with confidence as the offense has been rolling at times. Miami coach Adam Gase has put together some unpredictable game plans.
“This is a well-balanced team,” Belichick said of the Dolphins. “They get to the perimeter. If you don’t stop them, it could be a long run for a long gain. They make you defend every inch of the field.”
One of the Dolphins’ weapons is receiver Danny Amendola, who spent the past five seasons with New England. Belichick said Amendola played his best in crucial situations.
“I’ve had a lot of experience playing there,” Amendola said of the matchup without elaborating too much on the reunion with his former team. “I’m excited to get back up there.”
Belichick said the Dolphins have shown flexibility defensively.
“As good as anybody we’ve faced,” Belichick said. “They’re a hard team to prepare for. There are going to be things we won’t have prepared for. There will be new wrinkles.”
The Dolphins signed linebacker Martrell Spaight, who played his previous 30 career games with the Washington Redskins, on Wednesday.
It’s unclear if Miami tight end A.J. Derby will be available because he is dealing with a foot injury. However, safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) seems to be a likely participant even though he was limited in midweek practice.
The Patriots didn’t list any player as not taking part in at least some of Wednesday’s workout. Still, running back Rex Burkhead (neck) and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (undisclosed injury) went on injured reserve Wednesday. New England signed running back Kenjon Barner and defensive end John Simon.
Though it’s September, it seems as if there’s a bit of role reversal with this matchup.
“It’s going to be a big game,” Gronkowski said. “They’re 3-0. We just have to keep our heads up.”
–Field Level Media
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