Bill Belichick’s ‘positionless’ secondary built to slow down Dolphins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
FOXBORO — Funny, isn’t it? The one Patriots-Dolphins matchup that has been the focus in media circles, both in New England and Miami, is one where the two names involved won’t actually share the field.
That’s right, this is “‘Bama versus ‘Bama” at the quarterback position, as Tua Tagovailoa put it. He’ll square off against old backup Mac Jones at Gillette Stadium on “Sunday Night Football”, with each representing clashing philosophies in the process.
Will this game go to the quarterback whose franchise preaches ball-security and the idea that “you can’t win the game until you first stop from losing?”
Or will the light-up-the-scoreboard offense prevail, with its quarterback who has a laid-back attitude and often a devil-may-care style with the football in his hands?
Tagovailoa shredded the Chargers in Week 1, but there’s reason to believe his performance will play out much differently in Week 2. The last time he faced the Patriots, all the way back in Week 1 of last season, he and his offensive teammates posted just 13 offensive points. He was sacked three times. Meanwhile, star receiver Tyreek Hill got his but didn’t break the game open, finishing with eight catches for 94 yards.
Expect plenty of zone from Bill Belichick, Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo this time around. On 23 zone dropbacks in Week 1 of last season, Tagovailoa averaged just 6.4 yards per attempt and a quarterback rating of 81.8 — 5.3 yards per attempt and 64 rating points fewer than when the Patriots were in man-to-man coverage, per Sports Info Solutions.
The Patriots will mix their coverages as they always do, but whether it’s zone or man, expect them to get as physical as the officials will allow with Dolphins receivers.
Trying to beat Hill and Jaylen Waddle consistently in footraces up and down the field wouldn’t be a winning formula for any defense, and it’s not what they’ve done when…
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Author : NBC Sports Boston
Publish date : 2023-09-15 23:14:23
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