NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
Tom. Brady. That’s all you really need to say about this game.
I think we were all a little worried after the first Dolphins drive, but in a hot, muggy Landshark Stadium, this Patriots team played about as well as anyone could have expected.
The offense was on all night, and the defense might have got a little winded there at the end, but once again, that’s to be expected. I split my thoughts into first half and second half:
-I usually try to tune out color guys as much as possible, but is there anything more laughable than Jon Gruden saying the Patriots have no natural pass rushers? Did he miss the Patriots entire offseason? Or was he just reacting based off four plays? Likely both.
-Patrick Chung is all over the field. Not only has he been in on almost every single Reggie Bush touch, he’s also got a sack and some nice play in coverage. KC can have Matt Cassel.
-Dan Koppen’s injury looked ugly, but lets hold off on panicking for now. Koppen is probably the Patriots 5th or 6th best lineman at this point in his career and Connolly is more than solid as a backup. The depth the Patriots have at OL really shows here. (Update: Ian Rappaport is reporting that Koppen has a broken ankle.)
-Nate Solder. The half might not have ended as well as he’d hoped with a couple hurries from Wake, but he’s been incredible one on one. It’s really allowed Gronk to not have to stay inside to block and he’s had a great game as a result.
-The Dolphins would be a lot better off if they let Reggie Bush run outside. The Patriots had trouble with speedy players coming off the edge in the Preseason with four down linemen. The Phins keep rushing Bush up the middle and he’s not going to find any room between our massive DL.
-I think we were all a little nervous after that first Dolphins drive, but the Patriots have really solidified the defense since. The Dolphins playcalling has left a lot to be desired as well though.
-Big surprise to see Dowling as a starter. Looks like that means that Bodden will be used strictly at “Star” corner to begin the season. Lack of Sergio Brown so far is a big surprise. I was thinking Barrett would have a big role in this defense.
-Guyton struggles big time in rushing situations, New England really misses Spikes in that regard. Guyton actually had nice coverage on that long Fasano play, just a better pass and catch.
-Ras-I Dowling played as well as anyone possibly could have imagined today. He actually played Marshall better than McCourty did tonight. If McCourty, Bodden, Dowling and Chung can play to their full potential this year, it doesn’t matter who the rest of our secondary is.
-The Patriots pass rush looked great tonight, they didn’t get a ton of sacks, but those will come in time.
-Don’t fret too much about how many yards and points the Dolphins put up on the board, it’s hot in Miami and these guys are tired.
-It’s always fun to see Kyle Arrington play DE, isn’t it?
-Brady is so good, you never expect him to do things you haven’t seen before. Tonight is one of those special nights.
-Sean Smith and Vontae Davis really hurt the Dolphins. Welker and Branch feasted on the Dolphins backups.
-How special is Aaron Hernandez? He’s like a stronger Brandon Marshall. I predicted a big game from him tonight, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this big.
-Guyton really struggled tonight, once Spikes and Fletcher are 100%, I expect to see a lot more of them.