The Dolphins are two games up in the AFC East, with all three of the team’s opponents sitting at 1-2. This week, Miami is taking on an AFC East foe who has dominated the division for two decades in the New England Patriots. Perhaps the Dolphins can further separate themselves en route to pursuing that elusive division crown.
Each week of the 2018 season, I’m highlighting one player on the opposing team that Dolphins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is New England Patriots running back James White.
Experience: 5th season
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 205 lbs
As with most previous seasons, the New England Patriots have been deploying a committee backfield through the first three games of the year. White has been splitting pass catching duties with running mate Rex Burkhead for that unit, having corralled 14 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns through three contests. White has also recorded 13 rushing attempts for 66 yards (5.1 ypa).
White should see an uptick in opportunities moving forward though, as Burkhead has been placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. With the former Cincinnati Bengal out of the fold, White will take on the role of primary third down and two-minute-drill tailback while rookie Sony Michel gets most of the early down work.
As with last week’s Opposing Player Spotlight, Miami’s linebackers are at the center of Sunday’s key matchup. With White being primarily a pass catcher as opposed to a ball carrier, it will be up to Miami’s linebackers to cover him in space. Jerome Baker has played well as the team’s quickest linebacker on the outside, as has Kiko Alonso through three games. The two of them should burden the majority of the responsibility in keeping White in check, while MLB Raekwon McMillan and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick should also be involved.