Behind Enemy Lines: Patriots - Dolphins I

To find out more about the Patriots' opponent this week, the Miami Dolphins, we checked in with Asst Editor Alain Poupart. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we take a look at the Dolphins' offense.

Alain Poupart of Dolphin Digest addresses questions posed to him about the Dolphins leading up to their Week 9 matchup against the Patriots


1. When Chad Pennington went down with an injury, how ready for the job was Chad Henne?

Alain Poupart: After spending all of last season learning behind Pennington, it really looked and felt as though Henne would be as ready as he'd ever be. Sure, we didn't know for sure because Henne hadn't gotten any meaningul playing time, but Pennington is as good a teacher as a young quarterback could ask for. In his first few starts, Henne has had his ups and down, but he doesn't look out of place.

2. What percentage of plays do the Dolphins use the Wildcat?

AP: Obviously, it varies from game to game, but a good working number would be around a dozen depending on how the game is playing out. The Dolphins have shown a willingness to use the Wildcat in just about every circumstance, so expect a big dose of it if the Pats don't show early they can stop consistently.

3. Why was the team so down on Ted Ginn before last week’s win over NY, and what role will he play on offense?

AP: It's pretty simple, Ginn has dropped too many passes this season, including the one that bounced into the hands of Saints safety Darren Sharper before he returned it for a touchdown that shouldn't have been (but that's a different story). Ginn also has always had a nasty penchant for stepping out of bounds short of the first-down marker instead of trying to get that extra yard or two. His role on offense clearly has been diminished, with Brian Hartline replacing him in the starting lineup. Ginn will see some action on offense, but he won't resume having a major role until he cleans up his areas of deficiencies.

4. How are the new faces on the O-Line fitting in?

AP: Actually, the only new face on the offensive line is center Jake Grove, and by all accounts he's doing a very good job. The only drawback in his play has been a tendency to twitch, causing him to get called for false starts. But he's been a major improvement at center over the departed Samson Satele, who ironically switched places with Grove and wound up in Oakland. Another boost for the offensive line has been the return of guard Donald Thomas, who sustained a season-ending Achilles injury in last year's season opener.

5. What’s the best way to disrupt Chad Henne, Blitzing or coverage

AP: The biggest problem we've seen with Henne so far has been a tendency to hold on to the ball when he can't face a receiver, and that has led to him getting sacked quite a bit. So I would say a defense almost is better off with coverage than blitzing, especially since the Dolphins receivers aren't exactly the best in the league at getting open.

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