Posts Tagged ‘Miami Dolphins’

Without the Football: Exploring the Presence of Patriots Halfback Shane Vereen

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
In a 33-20 defeat, Shane Vereen left an impact on the Dolphins defense. (Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports Images)

In Sunday’s 33-20 loss, Shane Vereen left an imprint on the Dolphins defense. His seven carries and five catches were only part of why. (Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

There’s something to be said for dictating an opponent’s movements. Shane Vereen’s utilization has helped him do so.

That was on display Sunday, as the New England Patriots opened up the 2014 season against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The 5’10”, 205-pound running back caught five passes for 35 yards, and he handled seven carries for 36 yards and a goal-line touchdown as well.

But Vereen’s impact in a 33-20 defeat was about more than what he did with the football. Over his 53 snaps, it was often about what he did without it.

Force adjustments. (more…)


Front in Transition: Charting the Patriots’ Defensive Shift Beyond Rob Ninkovich vs. Dolphins

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
The Patriots showcased 17 different personnel combinations along the defensive line versus the Dolphins. Rob Ninkovich was part of only four. (Brad Barr - USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots showcased 17 different personnel combinations along the defensive front versus the Dolphins. Rob Ninkovich was part of nine. (Brad Barr – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Over the course of 2013, the New England Patriots defensive line altered through 58 personnel groupings.

Part of it was scheme, as some players departed to the sidelines during short yardage or passing downs. Part of it was attrition, as some stayed on the sidelines for the duration.

Rob Ninkovich was not one of them.

His No. 50 jersey was spotted on the field for 1,114 snaps last season – according to Pro Football Focus – second to only teammate Chandler Jones among the league’s 4-3 defensive ends. And by the conclusion of Week 17, there were only 54 snaps in which Ninkovich hadn’t been seen on it.

In Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 2014 regular-season opener, there were 39.

Ninkovich was one of the first 11 on the field for the tilt at Sun Life Stadium. But the 6’2”, 260-pound edge-rusher was not a constant across from Jones.

That wasn’t necessarily a deviation from the 2013 campaign, which saw Ninkovich step back to outside linebacker when the Patriots moved from a four-man line to a three-man line. Yet something was different on Sept. 7. (more…)


In the Red Zone: Examining the Patriots Passing Attack vs. Dolphins in Week 15

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Julian Edelman and the productive Patriots passing game met its match in the red zone. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

While 34 completions, 364 yards and two touchdowns convey otherwise, the New England Patriots passing game was condensed in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Without tight end Rob Gronkowski attracting defenders off the line, without rookie wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins stretching the edges of the field, and without left tackle Nate Solder enduring blocks off the blind side, New England’s offense was forced to change shape.

The unit did so with backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui supplanting Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and fourth-round pick Josh Boyce occupying the top three wide receiver spots, and left guard Logan Mankins transitioning to left tackle.

The modifications exchanged size and downfield presence for short, timing routes built to exploit Miami’s off-man and press-ball coverage while preserving quarterback Tom Brady.

The offense remained relatively efficient through the process. Brady was sacked once, hurried 12 times and hit seven times, according to Pro Football Focus, but the Patriots managed to sustain drives of 16, 10, 15 and 12 plays long.

As those four drives merged into the red zone, however, New England’s undermanned and undersized attack revealed its side effects.

Only one drive inside the 20 resulted in a touchdown. (more…)


Assisted Pick: Devin McCourty’s Tip to Marquice Cole Highlights Patriots Comeback Win vs. Dolphins

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Devin McCourty and Marquice Cole combined for a play to remember against Miami in Week 8. (Photo: NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

“A tale of two halves.”

It may be an overused phrase seen across sports ledes, but it was the story of what transpired at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. The New England Patriots went into halftime down 17-3 to the Miami Dolphins in the Week 8 AFC East battle. Yet through the first 30 minutes, the on-field performance signified a larger disparity than the box score.

The Patriots were stagnant on both sides of the football; the offense had totaled just 25 pass yards while the defense had allowed 103 rush yards. And in the process, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was lost to a gruesome leg injury, conjuring up the same season-ending reality that claimed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Just when things hit rock bottom for head coach Bill Belichick and Co. – a booed three-and-out on New England’s opening third-quarter series – fortune switched sides. A sack by New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower snowballed into a missed field goal by Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis, and the Patriots responded with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady wide receiver Aaron Dobson. Then, after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was strip-sacked by cornerback Logan Ryan, a two-yard score from running back Brandon Bolden tied the game.

Before the third quarter was over, the Patriots had propelled to a 20-17 advantage by way of a 48-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The lead would not be relinquished, as New England went on to win, 27-17.

But if there was one play that defined the contrast between the first and second half of the Oct. 27 contest, it took place five snaps into the fourth: the assisted interception. (more…)


Hard Knocks: Miami Dolphins Episode Four Recap

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Vontae Davis during happier times with the Dolphins. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

A storm was a brewin this week on Hard Knocks, but it wasn’t just any kind of storm.

Well, I guess there was one normal kind of storm. Or maybe two of them if you count the one that Jeff Ireland referenced when Vontae Davis was traded… But I digress.

The original storm I was referencing was a storm filled with trades, roster cuts, tears and overall ineptitude. All of that and more after the jump in my episode four recap.
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Hard Knocks: Miami Dolphins Episode Three Recap

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Joe Philbin spots a pair of untied shoes in the distance, his blood boils. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

As each week of Hard Knocks progresses, the more and more I’m driven crazy by Joe Philbin.

He’s just one of those passive aggressive, micro-managing, nitpicky, detail obsessed guys that reminds me more of a grocery store assistant manager than a head football coach.

More on Joe Philbin and the rest of episode three of Hard Knocks inside.

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Hard Knocks: Miami Dolphins Episode Two Recap

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Pat Devlin Buccaneers

So this is what Pat Devlin’s face looks like. Poor Pat Devlin. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Another week of Hard Knocks, another week that HBO pretends that Pat Devlin doesn’t exist.

It’s sad really. There’s been one instance in the first two episodes that they showed Devlin’s face, and I half expected it to be blurred out. Like they forgot to give him the waiver to sign for his permission to appear on camera.

Inside, I’ll have my full recap of episode two of the newest season of Hard Knocks. There’s a lot to get to in this episode, so lets dive right in.

(more…)







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