The Patriots already got a look at Miami's dynamic receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in the season opener and will again be looking to hold them in check in this weekend's rematch. Though uncertainty surrounds quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's status after he sustained a concussion against the Packers, the Patriots still know that even with Teddy Bridgewater throwing the ball, Hill and Waddle have the ability to take any game over.
In Week 1, the Patriots dropped a 20-7 decision and allowed the twosome 12 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown, including a critical 42-yard touchdown run by Waddle that helped break the game open in the first half. Still, that was less damage than they've done throughout the season across the league as they've raced to the top of a number of different receiving statistical categories.
The Pats will be hoping for an even better effort this Sunday, but it's no easy task against head coach Mike McDaniels' ability to make the most out of his weaponry.
"The Dolphins do a good job staying balanced," said Jerod Mayo when asked on Tuesday to assess the Miami attack. "They make everything look the same. It's very tough to really get a bead on what they're trying to do, building the formation, whether presnap or postsnap, they do a good job of finding a way to get a plus one. And that's not even talking about the athletes on the field. All those guys bring a very different dynamic to the game. It'll be very challenging for us."
Mayo added the team wasn't worried who would be in at quarterback because either one is capable.
"They still have weapons all over the field. Whoever's playing quarterback will be ready to go out there and perform at a high level,' Mayo said.
"[Coach McDaniel]'s an artist when it comes to, you know, formationing, getting these guys involved, using the quarterback, playing to his strengths, playing to those guy's strengths," said cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino. "So, you know, he definitely gives you a lot of challenges. He puts those guys in a lot of positions to make plays and they do a really good job over there. So, we've got a great challenge again."
Pellegrino added that slot receiver Trent Sherfield, third on the team with 28 catches and already setting career highs in his fifth season while with his third team, is also a dangerous threat to be accounted for.
"Anytime you play a team that has that much speed on the field, you try to be physical with them," said Mayo. "We also have some fast guys on our team, it's just mixing things up, a combination of different coverages."
"They're having a phenomenal year on that side of the ball," said cornerback Jonathan Jones, likely to be tasked with covering Hill a fair amount in the game. "Try to be hands-on. Try not to get beat deep... Be prepared for all three levels of routes."
Fellow linebackers coach Steven Belichick agreed with Mayo's outlook, with Miami's big play ability at the top of his thoughts.
"They do a lot of different things," said Belichick. "Very explosive, a lot of big plays. So, we've got our hands full, just like we do most weeks. [We'll try and come up with a good game plan and get ready to go. This week