Dolphins know problems Patriots present

Sports Xchange

December 07, 2017 at 7:34 pm.

DAVIE, Fla. — Injuries remain a big deal for the Miami Dolphins as quarterback Matt Moore, running back Damien Williams and right guard Jermon Bushrod are all sidelined and it’s conceivable none returns this season. That cuts into the starting quality and depth on the offense, a unit that, considering it averages 17.4 points per game, 26th in the NFL, can’t afford to lose any talent.

In the meantime, Miami is preparing for its rematch with high-scoring New England on Monday night and there doesn’t seem to be any indication the Dolphins can score enough to keep up with the Patriots.

Head coach Adam Gase explained why defending New England is so difficult.

“It’s always difficult because (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) will do a good job of using the guys that he has and putting them in different positions and really forcing your defense to try to figure out where everybody is,” he said.

Gase said McDaniels moves players to areas they haven’t been previously.

“You don’t necessarily see that exact formation and he makes you put stress on your defense that way where it’s just a constant adjustment on the sideline. A lot of times … he won’t go back to it. So, you see it one time and then you’ll never see it again.”

Gase said the same problem exists when trying to score on New England. He said they force you to get the ball out quickly.

“We’ve just got to do a better job of making sure that we handle that up front,” he said. “They make it difficult because those guys, they do a good job game-planning. They find your weakness and they try to maximize using the information they have.”

The challenge for Miami in this game against New England and head coach Bill Belichick will be both coaching and playing/executing. And it’s tough to say which one is the biggest factor.

–Head coach Adam Gase said he thought there were some areas to build on from the 35-17 loss to New England two weeks ago, despite the score.

“I think there were some stretches where we did a good job of executing things to where it either made it very difficult for them offensively or we moved the ball on a few series the way that we were looking to move the ball,” he said. “We just didn’t do it very consistently.”

Gase said the big thing has been making mistakes and then falling behind, adding “really for us it’s about not duplicating those and not putting ourselves in a bad position, which I thought we’ve done all three times over the last two years where we get behind and it’s the wrong team to get behind as much as we have.”

–Head coach Adam Gase said he has a good clue, aside from performance, why the Dolphins are 0-3 in prime-time games this season.

“It’s hard to really put a finger on exactly why (the Dolphins are winless),” Gase said. “Usually when you’re playing in those games you’re playing good teams. They’re not going to just have you play anybody.”

The combined record of Miami’s prime-time opponents right now — Baltimore (7-5), Oakland (6-6), Carolina (8-4) and New England (10-2) – is 31-17 (.646).

–Miami averages 25.2 points per game at Hard Rock Stadium, which is much better than their 17.4 points per game season average that ranks 26th in the NFL.

Head coach Adam Gase doesn’t think the surge necessarily has anything to do with being at home.

“I think our guys have done a good job when we’ve played at home, especially the back half of the season, where we’ve moved the ball a little better,” he said. “We need to eliminate the turnovers. That’s really the thing that’s holding us back. Some of the penalties really hurt us.

“But there is something when you don’t have to travel. I’m sure guys’ legs feel a little different. But the good teams always find a way to win, whether it’s at home or on the road.”