Patriots Can’t Let Dolphins Run Wild in Foxborough


November 6, 2009

Patriots Can't Let Dolphins Run Wild in Foxborough I?ll admit, I just don?t get the Wildcat.

Maybe it?s because I?m from the Montana-to-Rice and Brady-to-Moss school of football. Hey, I like a good post route. And really, who doesn?t?

The Wildcat has taken some getting used to, and I?m not alone here.

I mean, in a league that employs so many professed defensive geniuses, how is it that a gimmick offense which feels like it belongs in a Big East game on a Saturday afternoon has managed to survive this long?

Maybe it?s because, at least in Miami, it just works.

The Dolphins are perfectly built to run the Wildcat, with a solid offensive line and a pair of fast-but-physical running backs in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

And don?t forget their lacking identity at quarterback. Hey, don?t get me wrong here, there?s a lot to like about the two Chads, Pennington and Henne. But Dan Marino?s not exactly walking through that door, if you know what I mean. Instead of suffering through a season wondering if John Beck is the heir apparent (in a word: no), the Dolphins have found a creative solution to getting around mediocre quarterback play.

So give them credit. After all, Miami rode the Wildcat to an AFC East title last season, and at the expense of the Patriots, too.

And in Foxborough, the Patriots have not forgotten what it felt like to be the guinea pig for the Wildcat last September.

38-13, anyone?

Ronnie Brown did some damage that day, leaving the Patrios’ defense looking helpless. Granted, New England adjusted the second time around, but by then the Wildcat was more than just a passing fad in the NFL.

Four Downs: Dolphins at Patriots, 1 p.m., Sunday

First: Joey Porter hates the Patriots
Not exactly a newsflash here. In fact, I?d go so far as to say that the media baited Porter into his “shot” across the Patriots’ bow during this Wednesday?s conference call. But then, Joey could just keep his mouth shut every once in a while, right? Nah. That wouldn?t be Joey.

His motormouth aside, Porter is still a disruptive defensive force for the Dolphins, teaming with Jason Taylor for eight sacks and three forced fumbles this year. You know he?ll bring it on Sunday. And you know he?ll tell you all about it, too.

Second: He?s Ba-aack
Speaking of Jason Taylor, he?s back in Miami after a one-year exile with the Redskins. And Tom Brady?s not happy about it.

It?s nothing against Taylor, personally, but Tom is just not a fan of getting planted on his rear multiple times in a game. Taylor, who is on pace for a 10th season with at least eight sacks, might be the one defensive player who has rattled Brady the most throughout his career. Oh, and he?ll be going up against Patriots rookie left tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Good luck with that, kid.

Third: Laurence Maroney
Stop me if you?ve heard this before: He?s showing signs of finally producing on a weekly basis.

Fourth: Missing Jarvis Green

It?s not often you can turn to your bench and replace a starting defensive lineman with your team?s sack leader. Mike Wright (four sacks) will be asked to fill the void. And could we see rookie defensive tackle Ron Brace actually activated for a game?

Forward Progress
Brett Favre: Yeah, OK, I rolled my eyes when he (finally) decided to sign with the Vikings. I couldn?t believe my eyes watching him carve up his old Packers team. My guess would be his New York Jets teammates felt the same way.

Ted Ginn, Jr
: The Dolphins’ former first-round draft pick responded to a benching with a pair of touchdown returns. I wasn?t in the Patriots’ special teams meetings this week, but I feel pretty good in saying they won?t be kicking to him on Sunday.

Chris Johnson: Rushed for 228 yards, including touchdown runs of 89 and 52 yards. In a related story, the Titans actually won.

Down and Out

Kurt Warner: Tossed five interceptions and lost a fumble in Arizona?s 34-21 loss to Carolina. Man, even Matt Leinart thinks that?s pretty rough.

Aaron Rodgers: I know, it?s odd to have the highest-rated quarterback in the NFL on this list, but he bears some of the blame for those six sacks against Minnesota. Here?s a tip: Throw it away every now and then.

Roy Williams
: The Cowboys? “top” receiver is complaining that he?s the only one not on the same page with quarterback Tony Romo. Well, he and Jessica Simpson.

Film Room

So, you might?ve heard about the NFL aspirations of Celtics forward Glen Davis, who told ESPN The Magazine that he?d seriously consider pro football — once he becomes an NBA All-Star. It?s not entirely ridiculous. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez was an outstanding college hoops player at Cal. Ditto, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who didn?t even play college football at Kent State. But maybe “Big Baby” should stick to mastering one pro game (and his image) before throwing his hat into another ring. Then again, take a look at Davis as a tailback — yes, a tailback! He?s No. 86 in your programs in this video clip.

Fantasy Fix
After pitching a fit about his limited role with the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew has five touchdowns in his last two games. Logic says that number rises this week against Kansas City.

I?m not expecting much from Ronnie Brown, though the Dolphins’ running back torched the Patriots out of the Wildcat at Gillette last season. But this Sunday, he?ll face a defense that has had two weeks to prepare for it. Advantage: Belichick.

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