From The Other Side, Part 1

To find out more about the Dolphins' opponent this week, the New England Patriots, we checked in with PatriotsInsider.com Publisher Jon Scott. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we take a look at the Patriots' offense.

Q: The Pats have scored 94 points in their last two games; should we be scared of their offense again or was that the result of playing two winless teams, Tennessee and Tampa Bay?

Jon Scott: The Titans started a bunch of backups in the secondary and that led to blown coverage after blown coverage. The way Tom Brady was able to pick Tennessee apart spoke more of the Titans' secondary issues than Brady returning to world-beating form again. However, Brady's dismantling of Tampa Bay shows that the stats aren't just the result of playing one bad team. New England's offense is indeed showing marked improvement.

Q: Has anybody emerged as a third receiving option after Moss and Welker after Joey Galloway flopped?

JS: Who fills the role of third wide receiver has yet to be determined. So far the Patriots have tried Greg Lewis (fail), Galloway (epic fail), Julian Edelman (injured), Brandon Tate (rookie mistakes) and Sam Aiken (prone to drops). What you're more likely to see is one of the running backs or tight ends splitting out to fill the role. Kevin Faulk is by far the most talented option at No. 3 right now, but Tate and Edelman have potential once they learn the system.

Q: Is the running game still pretty much an afterthought that's used mostly to keep opponents from teeing off on Brady?

JS: It certainly looks that way. The Patriots try to run the ball, but have been relatively unsuccessful with just Laurence Maroney in the backfield. Until Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor went down with injuries, New England actually managed to run the ball fairly effectively. It was part of their game plan. Now, it's more like a throw-in to give the illusion that Brady may hand the ball off instead of just going throw with the play-action fake.

Q: Speaking of Brady, how close is he at this point to the quarterback he was in 2007?

JS: Everyone wants to compare the 2009 version of Brady to the 2007 version. He's not the same player, and to expect him to get there may be asking too much of him. No longer do the Patriots have the same depth at wideout, and their running game is still a work in progress. With that said, it's Brady's knee which continues to be a concern. Though multiple experts have all said Brady is ahead of schedule with the knee, you can tell it has bothered him. It is more accurate to say Brady is more trusting in his knee now, and may have reached that level of confidence he had in the past. Did you see him scramble in the last game?

Is there anybody on the offensive line who can be exploited in pass protection?

JS: Certainly Sebastian Vollmer, the rookie who is playing left tackle, can be beaten by an experienced pass rusher. Vollmer did well against the Titans and the Buccaneers, but he wasn't tested the way a team like Miami will test him. The positive about losing Matt Light to a leg injury (for a while) is that Vollmer gets to learn against pro talent, but not the kind of talent that can kill his QB if he makes a mistake. Nick Kaczur, the right tackle, has also had trouble with speed rushers. Miami could have a big day putting Brady on his back if those two tackles don't perform.


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