There has been a lot of talk leading up to the game on Monday Night against the Pats about Nolan dialing up exotic blitz packages to pressure Tom Brady, especially considering how little pressure the Phins generated against the Jets (1 recorded QB hit). In my opinion, this would be the worst possible scenario for the Dolphins defense. It would lead to man coverage in the secondary in which the Pats WR’s & TE’s have a definite advantage over the Phins DB’s.
The key to this game is to pressure with the Front 4 and play zone behind it, which is the strength of Jason Allen and Vontae Davis. I will even go a step further. I believe that the Phins should play the majority of the game in a nickel defense and dare the Pats to run the ball.
Here is what profootballfocus.com said in its review of the Pats vs Jets game from Week #2 in which the Jets won:
Arguably the biggest key to the Jets win was the fact that they were able to hold the Patriots to just 52 yards rushing on 20 carries, despite the fact they had at least five defensive backs in the game on all but five plays.
And here is another one:
The Jets overcame the loss (of Darrelle Revis) by putting Antonio Cromartie on Randy Moss in the second half and playing more zone coverages. They were also able to slow Wes Welker down, often by bracketing him at the line of scrimmage with a linebacker and a defensive back to disrupt his underneath routes.
The NFL is a copy cat league. The one team that has had success with the Pats offense this year has been the Jets. There is no reason that the Phins should not follow this blueprint. Especially considering how poorly the Pats OL is playing. Here is one more line out of the review:
The five starters combined to give up 11 pressures and only Stephen Neal (+0.7) posted a positive grade overall. Sebastian Vollmer (-3.9) in particular had a difficult game, but veteran Dan Koppen (-2.0) did not fare much better.
So the key to the Phins defense against the Pats are:
· Pressure with the Front 4
· Play zone behind that pressure
· Zone Blitzes are fine but don’t put the Phins DB’s in man coverage
· Play Nickel Defense the whole game and make the Pats run the ball
Cameron Wake, Koa Misi, Randy Starks and Kendall Langford are the keys to the game. If they can consistently pressure Tom Brady, the Phins will be in a great position to win the game. If the Phins have to resort to blitzing to apply pressure, it could be a very long evening because:
1) I have no faith in the Phins DB’s playing man coverage against Moss, Welker, and Hernandez.
2) Brady has seen every blitz imaginable and with his experienced WR’s he will take advantage.
Here is the link to the website: http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2010/09/22/re-focused-week-2-patriots-at-jets/