Shutting down the Patriot offense is a tall order and it begins by pressuring Tom Brady. Pressuring Brady does not come from the mad-dog blitzes most people relate to pressuring a QB. Rex Ryan may be a jackass, but he’s a hell-of-a defensive mind and there are lessons to learn from his Patriot’s game plan. Ryan, known for innovative blitzes, went against his tendencies.
Brady is a master at the pre-snap read; it’s what makes him a great QB. Brady can look at a defensive alignment, put a couple guys in motion and know exactly what match-ups are in his favor. If the play called in the huddle is bad, Brady will change it once he recognizes the defense. The trick to beating Brady is pre-snap confusion and Ryan figured it out.
We’ve heard the term “amoeba defense,” but what does it mean and how does it work? The amoeba defense is actually a gimmick. The defensive call is the same as it would be normally, but the defensive players start in different spots then where their assignments will be at the snap of the ball. A 2 deep is still a 2 deep, a 4 quarters is still a 4 quarters, a safety blitz is still a safety blitz.
What the amoeba does is mitigate the ability of the QB to get a pre-snap read. Think about Brady looking confused against the Jets in the playoffs. Brady is not a guy who is going to extend plays with his athletic ability. Brady’s game is based on reading defenses and getting the ball to the right guy. Take away the read and Brady is now, human. This is how to beat Tom Brady; once he hesitates, the pressure will get him.
The reason Bill Belichick signed Albert Haynesworth is to match-up with the power running game of the Jets and the Dolphins. He needed another big body in the middle with Vince Wilfork to clog the running lanes. Great plan for stopping the power running game but the Dolphins have other intentions and for once, they may be a step ahead of Belichick.
While the Patriots were planning for the Jets, the Dolphins set their sights on the Patriots. Dan Henning was perhaps the most predictable OC in the NFL. His attempt at being unpredictable was to run the wildcat. The wildcat was unusual in its debut, but once diagnosed; the inability to pass from the formation turned it into a joke.
Last year’s off-set “I” formation with 2 TEs telegraphing the run now is now a one back set with a single tight end. Last year’s static formations will now find Brandon Marshall in motion to the slot with Hartline on the same side. Did Hartline ever line up on the same side with Marshall last year?
If the Patriots double Marshall, they leave Hartline in single coverage. Bush will drop into the H-back slot behind the tackle, now we have match-up problems because a LB will have to cover Bush. These were situations the Patriots did not have to deal with when Henning was the OC, they will have to deal with them now. Consider, there is no mention of Davone Bess or Anthony Fasano...
Like anything in life, confidence is the difference between being average and being great. This is a team game and great teams have confidence in each other. The greatest coach in NFL history and two hall of fame QBs spoiled Miami. That legacy has placed an incredible burden on all the teams and players that have followed.
Tony Sparano has come to grips with this and Chad Henne has lived through the constant criticism. The feeling coming into this season is to believe in themselves, have the fire in their belly to put to rest the ghosts of the past. More than anything else, the Miami Dolphins have to believe they can win this game and it will propel them into a new legacy.
I believe the Dolphins will beat the Patriots!
Do you believe?