1. Develop the run game
The Dolphins will start the season with a new running attack consisting of a completely revamped offensive line and new veteran running back Knowshon Moreno. The Dolphins need to establish a steady run game against the Patriots early to have a chance of winning. Knowshon and 3rd year back Lamar Miller will be splitting time as of week one. Last season, Moreno had a career day against the Patriots as a member of the Broncos going for 224 yards on a whopping 37 carries. Moreno and Miller are an attractive combination of speed and power that should cause some problems for a Patriot defense that ranked 30th against the run last season. Running the ball will help the Dolphins spread their offense out against the Pats. It would help the Dolphins if the Patriots started loading the box to stop the run which would eventually make the Patriots cover the Dolphins one on one outside- which is a favorable matchup that the Dolphins need to capitalize on with our dynamic group of Wide Receivers.
The Patriot-Dolphin rivalry runs deep. Its no secret the teams don't like each other. They play twice in division match ups every season so you could say these teams are familiar. This is where the coaching staff comes into play. They have now had the whole offseason to prepare for a team they know inside and out. There were not many changes to The Patriots over the offseason. The Fins should know what they are getting into when facing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In the Dolphins advantage they have had several changes that could trip up the Pats. This is new Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor’s chance to make his splash. Hopefully he has been developing his exotic game plan for the Pats the minute he got hired. Now the pressure is on Kevin Coyle our defensive coordinator. His scheme should be in place by now. It is his job to confuse Tom Brady and be ready for the intricacies of The Patriots offense.
2. Confuse the Patriots
3. Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry
Both the number 3 and number 4 Wide Receivers in the Dolphins offense could play the X-factor role in this game. Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry are probably two of the best reserve wide outs in the league. They should see a steady amount of playing time in this game since most of the day Speedster Mike Wallace will be on the newly acquired Revis Island and Brian Hartline will be matched up with Alfonzo Dennard. This can cause matchup problems for the rest of the Patriots defense because after Revis and Dennard the Pats don't have a reliable secondary. Patriots Free agent acquisition Brandon Browner is suspended for this game, the Dolphins must take advantage of his absence. The Dolphins need to exploit any matchup they get where a linebacker is covering either Gibson or Landry. Gibson is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the 2013 season but he showed to be a favorite of quarterback Ryan Tannehill when on the field. Rookie Receiver out of Louisiana State Jarvis “Juice” Landry showed playmaking ability in the exhibition season. Landry is already becoming a fan favorite, lets see if he can show what the buzz is about in week one.
4. Linebackers Must Perform
There is an immense amount of pressure on the linebacking core in the kickoff game this weekend. An underperforming group from the past season needs to make a statement right away. To add pressure to the problem Starting strong side linebacker Phillip Wheeler is out with a thumb injury for week one. So one of the Dolphins reserve linebackers needs to step up. Veteran backup Jason Trusnik is probably the most reliable option for the Fins to roll with but they also have other players that are looking to step up and contribute. Undrafted Rookie from UC Berkley Chris McCain impressed everyone in camp and made the squad. McCain is quite the athlete at the linebacker position. During his days at Cal he consistently covered the Tight End position and even stepped out to cover the slot. Also 2nd year player Jelani Jenkins is available to come off the bench and can help fill Wheelers void. The Dolphins linebacking core is faced with one of the most daunting matchups they will see this season and that is managing feared Tight End Rob Gronkowski who is cleared to play in week one. Gronk has always been a thorn for the Dolphins and every other team in the NFL. The Dolphins can only hope to contain him and make Tom Brady move away from his favorite target. The Linebackers also have to worry about newly acquired Tight End Timothy Wright who will most likely be on the field at the same time as Gronk. Koa Misi who will be making his first start at middle linebacker needs to be able to get his defense in the right position to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots high powered offense. Hopefully Misi’s inexperience at the position wont cost the Dolphins. Lastly Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe needs to start playing like the player he is paid to be and show that last season was a fluke.