Not sure if you guys have heard this week but the Dolphins are traveling all the way to the Codfish state and challenging the reigning, defending, undisputed champions of the AFC for seemingly the last 100 years, the New England Patriots. Probably won’t even be a contest, right? I mean the Dolphins haven’t won in Foxboro since 2008 when the Wildcat was unleashed. Also, the Patriots have beaten Miami at home by around 15 points (too early to do the math and let’s be honest it wouldn’t matter what time of the day it was) each of the last 10 times the Dolphins played them there. Oh yeah, the Pats still have a man named Brady and the hooded one running the show regardless of how many articles get written about how they’re on the verge of an all-out, celebrity death match type brawl. So, Miami shouldn’t even make the trip because we’ve seen this story before, right? In my averagish Lee Corso voice, not so fast my friend. These aren’t your father’s Miami Dolphins. And more importantly, these might not be your father’s New England Patriots. These current Patriots have the look of Ivan Drago after Rocky finally connects with a right cross. They’re cut, and they look vulnerable. I fully fully fully understand that the Patriots are the Patriots and their season doesn’t start until the AFC Championship game. They deserve to be looked at like that and be revered. To try and talk down to the Pats is a move that comes straight from illogical jealousy as opposed to being logically jealous of them because it stinks how good they’ve been. They’ve squashed everyone in their way for nearly 20 years. There also have been times in the recent past where the Pats have gotten lit up and had everyone yelling from the mountain tops that the Patriot dynasty is over only for  Brady, Gronk, Belichick and the rest of the robots on that team to clench their fists, grit their teeth, dig in and come after everybody in the league and eventually take Lombardi for another stroll down Boylston St. Basically, when the fall of New England happens, then it will happen. Until then, it’s smart to assume that Patriots will be at full strength and ready to lay the wood to Miami come Sunday. Yeah, the hapless Lions put a hurtin on New England on Sunday night and the Pats have lost 2 in a row, something that happens as often as Nibiru colliding with the Earth. But, make no mistake, they will be ready. Fortunately, if the Dolphins continue to handle their business the way they have been, then they’ll be in good position to tighten their grip on the AFC East. Even better, is that I have laid out 5 goals that Miami should try and achieve that would greatly benefit all of the Miami faithful.

Establish some kind of a functioning running game that’s not Ryan Tannehill leading the way

Remember all the way back to last year’s Monday night contest where the Dolphins, who weren’t playing for much, put a whopping on the Patriots? A Dolphin’s team led by Jay Cutler? Member that game? You might if you think hard enough. Well, besides the fact that Miami took it to New England from the get go and that their throwback uniforms were straight Kilauea fire flames, a guy who had a big-time game was Kenyan Drake. You remember Kenyan Drake. Wears 32, has electric speed and athleticism, can catch the ball anywhere on the field, can score from anywhere on the field, picked to be Miami’s star back. He actually still plays on Miami in case you didn’t notice. Last year when he was featured against New England, he had 25 carries for 114 yards and added 5 catches for 79 yards. Basically, he had his way with the Patriots. So far this year, Kenyan has had his way with nobody. Even adding Frank Gore to the backfield hasn’t led Drake to be more rested thus leading him to be more explosive. He only had 5 carries for 3 yards. This guy is simply too good to be held down like that. He’s to good to be an afterthought. Yes, Miami won last week in large part to their passing game but counting on the passing game every week to lead the offense every week will bite us sooner than later. Miami’s offensive line has been very suspecting this year and the injury to Sitton seems to be one they can’t overcome. That unit needs to take some pride here and blow some people off the ball. Easier said than done I know, but it still needs to be done. Want to know the biggest reason the Patriots couldn’t get anything going against the Lions last week? Of course, you do. It’s because the Lions held the ball for nearly a Double Dare’s amount of time compared to the Patriots largely because the Lions, surprisingly, found a running game. No one’s saying that Miami can’t continue to be fast and let their athletes do their thing. But, what I am saying is the best way to stifle the Patriots offense is to not give them an opportunity to play offense.

Free Gesicki

I like to think of myself as one of the of the lieutenants on the Free Gesicki s̶h̶i̶p̶ destroyer. In taking on such a prominent role, I must say that I am a little bit taken aback with how he has been used thus far. Last week, Gesicki had his best outing as a pro with 3 catches for 31 yards. Now with AJ Kentucky Derby (Berman would have loved to say this name when he scored 2 weeks ago) out for the game, Gesicki will probably be asked to do more. And what if this was Gase’s plan from the get go. Maybe the plan was to hide Gesicki for the first few weeks because he knew the perfect week to release the hound that is Mike Gesicki is against the ultimate chess player Bill Belichick. Like how Sparano unveiled the Wildcat 10 years ago and put Belichick’s brain in a blender, Gase might be setting Bill up for the same thing this time using Gesicki as his surprise partner. This is the perfect week to show the world that Mike Gesicki in this offense is someone you absolutely need to game plan for. This is the perfect week to let Gronk know that there is a young man who resides from Jersey, where he really wants to hail from, that is the man that will replace him after this year as the big bad TE in the AFC. #FreeGesicki= freeing everyone else.

The defensive line needs to take out their frustration with the NFL’s ruling on roughing the passer and the loss of their comrade William Hayes and “legally” sack Brady into another plain of existence as many times as they can

I don’t think I’m exaggerating with the whole sending Brady into another plain of existence line. I really would like to see that happen as a Dolphin’s fan and as a guy who’s very curious about different realms, dimensions, realities and all that. If you think about it, Brady should want to further along humanities understanding of quantum physics. Shame on him for not signing up for that. But I digress, no secret here but the Dolphins line of Wake, Quinn, Phillips, Taylor and Godchaux have to major in getting home on Brady. After not recording a sack in week one the Dolphins have collected 7 the last two weeks. This week they need to get a couple to force the Patriots offense, which probably gets Josh Gordon on the field, some 3rd and longs. Obviously, stopping the running game of the Pats, which so far has been as nonexistent as Miami’s, is first and foremost. But, it’s pretty obvious that putting Brady on his back early and often has been a key in defeating them through the years so make Sunday no different than those times.

Don’t repeat last week’s opening defensive performance and let guys run completely wide open. It’s not good for business

Last week Jordy Nelson ran untouched through Miami’s second level and then to the secondary as wide open as humanly possible and gained what felt like 300 yards in the first half. I still don’t know exactly why that happened but having rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick starting for Reshad Jones probably had at least a little bit to do with it. Basically, know what you’re doing out there is what I’m asking for here. Miami did a good job last week of accomplishing one of my goals I set for them which was guard TE Jared Cook. This week that goal is amplified because it’s Gronk that needs guarding and not just him but a James White who is much better than any other Raider RBs when it comes to pass catching. Everyone in the galaxy knows that Brady and Belichick want to get the ball to Gronk and RBs as often as possible because they’re are such mismatches for line backers. They’ve been killing Miami for two decades with that approach. We know it’s coming so go right ahead and don’t let it happen. The d-line getting in Brady’s face will help with that but there’s going to be times where it’s on Kiko, Raekwon and Baker to keep up, wrap up and keep them from catching the ball or not allowing any YAK. Let New England have to rely on their underwhelming receivers’ core with the added Josh Gordon beat you. Let Xavien and the rest of the secondary continue to suffocate receivers and force turnovers. Also, let this be true…

Have an answer when the Patriots strike 

Not sure if you ever heard of a fighter from back in the 90s named Mike Tyson but he once said something that every once and while gets uttered today on sports shows and that was “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Don’t focus on the fact that after he said this, Tyson lost to Buster Douglas. Don’t do that at all. Focus on the message. The message is what is important. On Sunday, there will be a time that might come on New England’s first drive where they go right down the field and put up 7 within a few minutes. Miami can’t start shaking and think oh well here it goes. Stay the course and punch back. They went down 7 early last week against Oakland and kept things at bay so it is possible for this unit to counter punch. But, this isn’t Gruden’s Grinders who they’re facing. This is the polished, very well coached, throat stomping New England Patriots and getting whipped early in a game by them is a much different feeling than getting scored on by the not feared at all Raiders. Expect the Patriots to come out looking to end it early and be ready for it. Understand that they will get some yards and probably some points here and there. But, also understand that this is a different Miami team with a different attitude who has a swagger that people are slowly coming around too. That this is the vision that Gase had all along when he got rid of all the big name guys. Understand that this team, on both sides on the ball, in all phases of the game have the talent, personal and savvy to out-dual anyone regardless of who they are or what they do early in a football game. Trust your skills and play the way you’ve been playing for the past 3 weeks and that’s loose and with nothing to lose. Play fast because that’s what you are. Play physical because that’s what you are. Play like the game is so fun to you because that’s the way you’ve been playing.

The Patriots are the Mecca in terms of quality football teams. This is something as Miami fans we all know to be true. But it’s 2018 and past Patriot teams have nothing to do with this Patriots team. Like I said in in the beginning of this blog, this current Patriots team looks like this…

PS- I nearly shed a tear at the very end of this blog. Credit to me for being man enough to admit that. I got real into that final part. Felt like the squad were on one knee in front of me in the coffee shop that I’m currently sitting in. I feel like the Dolphins, if they heard that, would run through a wall for me build that wall back up and run through it again. I’d like that.

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