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Pats defense determined versus Dolphins; Thu notes

After hours and hours of film study, LB Mike Vrabeldeclared he had some good news.

"There are other formations they can use," he said Thursday when asked about the Miami Dolphins and their potent Wildcat offense.

"It tells you that they have other things they can do with their personnel. They have their plays that they run and they're comfortable with. They're going to have wrinkles every week."

However, he added a word of warning.

"You can look at it on film and go out and practice it. That's one thing … We have to be sound in what we're doing."

Because that's exactly what the Patriots defense was not in Week 3, the first meeting this season with Miami.

"They manhandled us, had big plays in the running game," said DL Jarvis Green. "We didn't look good at all in that game.

"When we played the [first Miami] game, we weren't prepared for it and didn't know what to expect. Now we know and hopefully we can go out there this Sunday and show that we've learned."

"It's important to look at what you did against them [the first time], but also look at see what they've run against other teams," Vrabel continued. "We can take from the first game is we got beat in every phase. You take that defeat personally, and everybody has to go out there and play better."

So, what do these Pats defenders expect the Dolphins to do this Sunday: run the Wildcat or try something else?

"I've never really coached," Vrabel concluded, "but I would imagine you'd run something until they can't stop it."

Green agreed.

"I think the way the Dolphins have been playing this year, they have a swagger about themselves. They're very confident, they're playing well, so, if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Cassel looking for a better return

The last time QB Matt Casselwent to Miami, he relieved Tom Brady in what was, at the time, a blowout. But Cassel immediately threw a pick-six (an interception for a touchdown) to the Dolphins then-star *Jason Taylor, who's now with the Redskins. He was summarily yanked and Brady went back in the game on the Pats' next offensive series.

Cassel was asked about that ignominious play during his Thursday press conference.

"You never want to go into a game with that situation when you are winning by a bunch and throw an interception, but that happens as a football player," he replied. "You have to recognize it and I told you guys last year, 'It won't be the first time I throw an interception and it won't be the last.'

"As a player, your confidence is shook a little bit but you have to tell yourself, 'Look, there is the next day.' Luckily for me I was able to come back out the next week against Washington and a have a good week, score a touchdown, and put together a scoring drive. That's football and that is sports. You are going to go through adversities on and off the field. You just have to continue to push through."

Thursday locker room/practice notebook

It's been sunny and wintry cold here in New England all week, so the Pats again practiced indoors to prepare for the warm weather expected in South Florida this weekend. The team continued to practice in helmets and shells (smaller, softer shoulder pads).

NT Vince Wilforkmissed the opening of practice. He was one of four players who were not seen. The others were RB LaMont Jordan and LBs *Eric Alexander and LB *Adalius Thomas.

On a positive note, rookie cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, who missed practice Wednesday with the flu, was back on the field.

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