Patriots vs Dolphins: Opening Ceremonies

Cameron Wake Dolphins Patriots

Stopping Cameron Wake will be a big challenge for Patriots rookie tackle Nate Solder.

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

I have a feeling tomorrow’s work-day will be the longest in recent memory. I know I’ll be waiting all day in preparation for the Patriots week one matchup (7pm eastern on ESPN). Here’s are 11 thoughts for the Patriots opening game.

-We learned on Sunday that the Patriots announced five players have been downgraded to out for tomorrow night’s game: Sebastian Vollmer, Taylor Price, Ryan Wendell, Jeff Tarpinian and Jermaine Cunningham. The big surprises there are Price and Cunningham, but even with how many practices Vollmer missed, I still expected him to be active. The Patriots are left with just two active tackles after cutting Steve Maneri.

-With Nate Solder getting his first start lining up against Cameron Wake, I’d expect a lot of help from the Gronk brothers. If you were planning on starting Rob Gronkowski in your fantasy leagues, I’d have second thoughts.

-The Patriots will only have six active offensive linemen for tomorrow, there’s going to be a problem if there are any injuries, especially at tackle. James Christensen and Mike Reiss mentioned Logan Mankins as a possibility at tackle if Light or Solder go down. The Boston Herald’s Ian Rappaport also mentioned the possibility of signing an OT before tomorrow’s game. Quinn Ojinnaka was in for a workout earlier this week.

-I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of Aaron Hernandez tomorrow. With Price out, he’s the Patriots biggest deep threat and I would assume he’ll be in on four receiver sets over Julian Edelman or Matt Slater.

-With five players already announced as out, I’ll predict Ryan Mallett and A.J. Edds as the final inactives. I’ll throw in Shane Vereen as a wild card possibility.

-Expect a big rotation along the defensive line tomorrow night. Apparently, there were a lot of players cramping up in Tampa today. Therefore, the Patriots won’t let their big guys be on the field for too long. Without Cunningham, Mark Anderson will be expected to fill in as a backup DE behind Andre Carter.

-Speaking of cramping, regardless of whether Connolly or Waters starts at RG, I’d expect to see all 6 OL playing at some point.

-Obviously Devin McCourty and Leigh Bodden will start the game at LCB and RCB, but who will be the first CB to come out in a flex package? Bodden will slide over to cover Davone Bess in the slot, and once again, I’d expect a rotation to take over at RCB. I would expect to see Kyle Arrington first, but expect to see a lot of Ras-I Dowling.

-McCourty, Bodden, Jerod Mayo and Patrick Chung will likely play 90-100% of defensive snaps barring injuries, as for the other 7 players: rotation, rotation, rotation. Sergio Brown will likely be the first safety in to play next to Chung, but Josh Barrett will absolutely get some time back there as well.

-We haven’t seen Brandon Spikes or Dane Fletcher for a few weeks now, but I look forward to watching those two in at MLB while the Pats are in a 4-3 base. The Patriots looked far more impressive in their first two preseason games with Fletcher in the middle, rather than when they were basically playing a nickel base against the Lions and Giants.

-I wouldn’t expect to see much of either Patriots rookie RB in week one. Since both have missed time with injury and without a typical rookie offseason, they will be behind the curve. RBs will be in to block a lot in passing situations, so expect to see BenJarvus Green-Ellis protecting Brady often.

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10 Responses to “Patriots vs Dolphins: Opening Ceremonies”

  1. Bill says:

    I believe the Pat’s will win(convincingly). And the Saints will lose next week(0-2 start).

    However, given the choice of either the Pat’s winning tonight or the Saints losing next week…I’ll take a Saint loss. We’ll be closer to drafting Andrew Luck and unloading an old TB to SF.

    • Liam says:

      You sir, are continually a muppet. I think you must be a troll. Recently you’ve said that the Patriots should get rid of both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I don’t think there is anything you can say to that. Maybe you’re actually Al Davis. He’d do something like that.

  2. Dan says:

    One last comment: No big secret, but the entire league is rushing the QB hard. O-lines have to survive, and QB’s have to get rid of the ball and burn these D’s for coming so hard. I think the Pats are well equiped as anyone to deal with this with Brady, Welker and some quick backs to dish off to, and the TE’s. But, Brady is not Aaron Rogers…who is now the best player in the league and can move away from pressure.

  3. Dan says:

    This is going to be very interesting. It’s a road game in the NFL and the Pats in Miami is never a good thing.
    I do believe we are the superior team, but they still have to do the job and win the game.
    I’m very curious to see that defense…not just the front, but the backs, and I’m really curious to see Dowling. I think that he is the one rookie that can help this year more than anyone; unless Vollmer is out for a while. I see Solder getting help tonight.

  4. Dan says:


    What an ass! I’m watching that game and saying to myself, “he’s going to blow it”. That fumble was just so stupid I still can’t believe it. The freakin Jets get more great luck.

    What bothers me is that smile Romo has on his face while he’s sucking…like it’s a big joke….a complete joker. Any 30-something who wears a baseball hat backwards is a clown, and he’s the king of the clowns.

    I’m venting…that was a win, and he handed the game to the Jets on a silver platter; they could have survived the ridiculous blocked punt.

    Oh, and the lecture he was giving Bryant after the pick was priceless. Here’s Bryant, all out of shape cramping up after playing so well, and he can barely run, then Romo decides to throw a bunny right to the best CB in football, and he’s lecturing Bryant. Maybe Bryant can return the favor and give Romo financial advice…a nice trade-off of idiots sharing.

  5. John says:

    cunningham and price are pretty big blows

    • Dan says:

      Cunningham is a non-factor…another 2nd round pick who may not even make the team next year, but I’m hoping I’m wrong and he reaches some level of potential. For now, he’s an injured back-up….that’s it…not a big deal.
      I want to see Price, but I can wait till he’s healed up. I think he’ll be a nice player…maybe he’ll become more than that.

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