Desperate times call for desperate measures and it appears as though the Miami Dolphins feel that time is upon them. Newly acquired offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie will start against the New England Patriots when the two square off today in Foxboro. The move, in all likelihood, will put McKinnie at left tackle, moving Jonathan Martin to the right side and the struggling Tyson Clabo beyond the sidelines watching the action with the rest of the backups. But enough about the offensive line, there are many other facets of the game that the discussion needs to focus on as well.
Injuries, for instance, have plagued the Dolphins this season as well. Cameron Wake returned to action after being out since leaving the game against the Atlanta Falcons. It happened to be the last game the Dolphins won, but he only registered a tackled in the loss to the Buffalo Bills. A healthy Cam Wake means more pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and if Miami hopes to win, they’re going to have to get to Brady quickly. The health of linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler are also a critical part of the game as being able to stop the Patriot’s passing attack also falls on their shoulders.
The most difficult task the defense will face aside from attempting to limit Brady’s ability to spread the ball is trying to contain Rob Gronkowski. The big question is whether or not Ellerbe and Wheeler will be able to match up in passing situations. Reshad Jones also needs to keep an eye on Gronkowski. The linebackers need to be able to play Gronk one-on-one but are also going to have to prevent the Patriots’ running game from going or it is going to be a long day for the Dolphins’ defense.