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Unfiltered Notebook 9/14: O-line gets things rolling

Patriots got their first win of the season on the back of an efficient and well-planned ground game.


The Patriots rushed for 217 yards on Sunday against the Dolphins and it is the 15th time under Bill Belichick that the team has rushed for 200 or more yards. With 75 of those rushing yards, Cam Newton put up the highest total of rushing yards by a quarterback under Belichick and the most by a Patriots quarterback since 1976.

Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn enjoyed the gameplan to pound the rock, as offensive linemen often do.

"It just shows that as a whole offensive unit we're just imposing our will," said Wynn on Monday. "It doesn't matter who's out there or if the defense knows what we're playing, what we're gonna do, as long as we do our job and execute it to the best of our ability we're all good."

The Patriots kept the Dolphins off balance all game long with an array of run looks that kept Miami guessing. And when it came time to get some critical, late-game yards, the offensive line was ready to deliver.

Running back James White credited the line with getting things going.

"I think it always starts off with the offensive line, they did a great job with blocking and establishing that we can run the ball this early in the season," said White after the game. "We wanted to play physical and I thought we did that. We obviously still have things to work on but it's a great start."

"Yeah, it's definitely enjoyable," said Wynn of the run-heavy approach. "As an offensive line we take pride in [running the ball] just like we take pride in protecting our quarterback. We definitely hang our hats on running the ball and imposing our will on the defense. It was a great feeling yesterday."

Phillips impressed by Dugger

Adrian Phillips called the Patriots defense "art" last week and now after getting to finally play a game, in which he led the team in tackles and grabbed a big interception, Phillps felt like things went well.

"When you're out there in an actual game and there's real bullets, if you mess up it could be a big play, or a touchdown," said Phillips. "The sense of urgency picks up even more so just being on the sideline with all the vets -- Devin [McCourty], [Jason McCourty], even guys who played before like Mayo. Just being able to communicate with them and see how they saw certain packages for certain players. It just calms everybody down and we were able to make the right adjustments and it wasn't no big fuss on the sideline."

Phillips also raved about rookie Kyle Dugger, who has been displaying the aptitude and the physicality to be an early contributor. Dugger played 11 snaps in the season debut.

"The first thing I noticed was he's smart," said Phillips of the rookie second-round pick. "Going through the meetings, this is a guy who can pick up on the scheme real quick and I would say this isn't the easiest scheme to pick up, there's a lot of things that go into it but once you get it, you got it. The way that he just picked it up and he's able to talk ball, seeing that in the rookie you really don't see that a lot of time. The only other time that I've really seen that was with Derwin James.

"When you see him in person just as physical stature, 6'2", 6'3", big guy and he's running, he's able to cover the tight ends, he can get down in the box, he can knock some heads up, he's solid. It's good to see how much in tune he is with watching film and stuff like that as a rookie. A lot of times rookies might still be in the college mentality,but he's coming like a pro already."

WebEx Quotes of Note

Bill Belichick on how the team evaluates ball security:

"I'd just say ball security in general, a lot of people would focus on the play or plays that happened where the ball is actually loose, and those are critical plays, but really we analyze every play, every time the ball is handled. Was the ball security good or wasn't it? And even if it didn't come out, if our ball security is not good, then it's only a matter of time until a defender is able to get his hand in there and if the situation's a little bit different, the traffic situation's a little bit different, the ball will come out. We analyze it on every play, practice and games. It doesn't matter whether it actually did or didn't come loose; what really matters is the technique and the handling of the ball so that it's always properly protected."

Chase Winovich on playing an expanded role in the opener:

"It was great, it's definitely something that I put my mind to this off-season to prepare for, a possibly expanded role. With that there's different things you have to be concerned about so obviously when you're just playing as a third down pass rusher your focus is more on a niche but when you have to be concerned with every down, every situation, that's where knowledge and experience as a football player come in to play. Every week I'm looking forward to whatever challenges come my way. I'm embracing the challenge, we got great coaches and great teammates to really help guide my learning."

Matthew Slater on what it meant to break down the locker room after an opening victory:

"I think it was special for us all. There of been points over the course of the last six months when we were not sure if football's going to be in the cards for the season. Many of us have been through a lot personally in our personal lives. I just think for a lot of reasons it was a time for us to be grateful as a team and express that gratitude, hopefully expressing appreciation for one another and our opportunity to play the game we love so much. I definitely felt like I was experiencing God's grace yesterday being on the football field with my brothers doing what we love and it's something I'll certainly never take for granted."

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