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As the Patriots prepare to kickoff its season against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, we took a step across enemy lines and asked Armando Salguero what we might expect in this divisional bout.
Salguero is the Dolphins beat writer for the Miami Herald and host of Armando and the Amigo every weekday morning 6-10 a.m. on WMEN 640-Sports in South Florida.
For the latest on the Dolphins you can follow him on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero
SoB: What’s the feeling in Miami about the current QB situation?
AS: The feeling is wait-and-see. There’s no doubt some folks are convinced Chad Henne will never be a franchise quarterback. Others are hopeful a new offense, new speed on offense, another year of experience and a good preseason are reasons to believe Henne will turn the corner in 2011 and play well. The Dolphins are simply showing faith in Henne until further notice. The faith allows Henne to start again this year after two bad seasons in 2009 and 2010. But the faith is not so ardent that Miami has even attempted to talk to Henne about a contract for 2012. Henne is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.
SoB: Are the Dolphins comfortable with Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush manning the RB position? What do you think we can expect from Bush?
AS: I spoke to Coach Tony Sparano during the preseason and he told me the experience (or lack of) behind Reggie Bush, “makes me nervous.” Having said that, the club did nothing during the preseason to change that lineup, so one assumes they are prepared to deal with the results. Bush will be the team’s starter. He will get the ball on handoffs, pitches, screens, and he’ll play some out of the slot. The idea is to give him enough opportunities to make plays.
SoB: On national spotlight, at home, against the Patriots, what does Miami need to do to leave a lasting impression with the rest of the NFL.
AS: I don’t think the Dolphins are looking for moral victories. They are looking for victories. The Dolphins need to win.
SoB: Last season NE beat the Dolphins to the tune of a combined score of 79-21. Do the players have a chip on their shoulder?
AS: This is a different team. The Patriots are different as well. Having said that, players such as Karlos Dansby and others would like to return the favor of getting blown out by the Pats. There is a feeling, I must tell you, that the first game was close until Miami’s special teams imploded. The Dolphins think they’ve addressed those special teams problems.
SoB: Give us a key matchup to watch Monday.
AS: The proven way to beat the Patriots is to torment and rattle Tom Brady. If Volmer is out, the Dolphins believe they have an advantage versus rookie Nate Solder as Cameron Wake and Jason Taylor and Koa Misi chase Brady. Even if Volmer is available, the key for victory for Miami is winning up front to get Brady on the ground.
SoB: Lastly, who’s a sleeper for the Dolphins that could have a big game against the Pats?
AS: Tough question. I would say the Dolphins know they have to blanket New England’s tight ends. Those guys are excellent. Miami signed Kevin Burnett this season, in part, to get better coverage of tight ends. That’s as good a place as any to look for a sleeper.